… with “Pam” and “David” for many years. About a year ago, we moved to a new house just a few blocks from theirs. They decided they liked some of the features of our new home and immediately started remodeling theirs to resemble ours.

Pam and David both work and I am retired, so Dave asked if I would go to their home throughout the day, while several workmen did the remodel. I refused, saying I wasn’t comfortable alone in someone else’s house with a bunch of strangers milling about, not to mention the responsibility if something was broken or stolen. (The company wasn’t bonded. They are just random guys doing side jobs.) Long story short, David was offended that I declined and no longer speaks to us. He has shunned other friends for lesser things since then. I’m still friendly with Pam, but I can’t help feeling that deep down she resents me, too, and thinks I should have done it because we are good friends.

Was I wrong to refuse? Should I have done it to keep the friendship, even if I wasn’t comfortable?

– Resentful In The Midwest

DEAR RESENTFUL:

I not only don’t think you were wrong, I think you made a wise decision, and for the right reason. If anything had gone wrong with the remodel or one of the laborers was less than honest, the blame would have fallen squarely on you. Add to that the fact that Dave drops people he feels let him down for any reason, and you have a recipe for disaster.

If Pam resents you for protecting yourself, she may not be as good a friend as you thought. True friends should be able to say no when it’s warranted, and true friends accept a refusal with good grace.

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