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Ask Lisi: Sis feels dissed by failure to share

Don’t attack her because that won’t get you anywhere
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Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: Up until yesterday, I thought my sister and I were best friends. We’re only 18 months apart, shared a room our whole lives, we both played competitive soccer, and mostly liked the same things. We made it through COVID because we had each other to keep us from going stir-crazy. And we went to the same university because it was easier during the pandemic to do everything together.

She’s now in her last year of uni and I have one more to go. I thought I knew what she was thinking about doing come graduation, where she was hoping to live, etc. However, I just found out that she is moving across the country, to live with her boyfriend, and do a co-op year in her chosen field.

What’s the big deal? I didn’t hear it from her! Not only that, but she never mentioned any of it to me! I feel totally dissed and betrayed. What do I do?

Secret Sister

You talk to her! Don’t attack her because that won’t get you anywhere other than putting her on the defensive. Just calmly (as calmly as you can) ask her why she didn’t share any of this information with you. Hear her out. She may have had good reasons. Tell her how hurtful and upsetting it was for you to find out from someone else. She may not have thought that far ahead.

Once you’ve cleared the air as to the why, and the fallout, tell her how proud you are of her, and obviously, how much you will miss her.

Without more information, my guess is she wasn’t ready to face you with the news of moving so far away.

Dear Lisi: My friend and I are both late 40s. We’re both married with kids. We both work hard in fields where we must wear a uniform of sorts. Standing side-by-side, I would have to say she looks much older than I do. She has let her grey hairs grow wild and free, whereas I don’t have any yet. She has gone through menopause; I haven’t started. And she has gained a bunch of weight in the past five years.

I am not skinny, but I work out several times a week, watch what I eat, take care of my hair and skin, and avoid the sun. She NEVER works out because she says she doesn’t have time. But I know she could make time because we have very similar schedules.

She’s a good-looking woman who has just gone from pretty to frumpy. I’d love to help her get less frumpy, but I don’t know where to start. Thoughts?

Frumpy Friend

She may not care about her outward appearance as much as you do, but no one chooses to look frumpy. However, unless she’s unhappy, it’s not your place to say anything. If you think your friendship can handle it, you could go shopping with her and suggest styles that are more contemporary and hipper. Fresh, modern shoes can make all the difference to an outfit.

Another easy option is a fresh, modern hairstyle that suits her face (and her lifestyle). Grey hair doesn’t have to be a bad thing; the style can make all the difference.

Don’t mention anything about her diet or her weight unless she discusses it with you first. But you can help her with her fitness by inviting her to go on daily walks with you. Most people won’t just jump into a Spin class, CrossFit, or even Pickleball. But everyone will agree to go for a walk.

FEEDBACK Regarding the informant (Feb. 15):

Reader – “I really want to respond to the husband who informed his friend’s wife that her husband was having an affair. Although the person doing the informing has his heart in the right place, someone who is being cheated on by their spouse usually knows what’s going on, so being told by a well-meaning friend is hurtful and embarrassing. Believe me — I’ve been there.

“One reason it’s embarrassing is that you feel that maybe you were too gullible to do anything; and even though you know about the ongoing affair, you need time to assess your options, i.e., a separation, divorce, maybe reconciliation, at the very least, to seek counselling.

“I think the person did right by telling his friend that what he was doing was wrong, and that he wasn’t being a nice person. But to inform his wife was very wrong in my opinion.”

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Send your questions to lisi@thestar.ca