Published On: Sat, Nov 25th, 2023

Ask Amy: How do I get people to stop asking me to make them quilts?

Ask Amy: How do I get people to stop asking me to make them quilts?
Ask Amy: How do I get people to stop asking me to make them quilts?

Dear Amy: A few years ago, I offered to make a T-shirt quilt as a graduation gift for a co-worker’s oldest son. She purchased the materials, and I provided the skill and labor. She and her son were thrilled with the quilt, and she mentioned that I would have two more to go down the road for her other two sons as they graduated. I was taken aback with this expectation but didn’t say anything.

I retired soon after and had minimal contact with her. A year later, however, when her middle child was graduating, she contacted me to ask if I would make the same type of T-shirt quilt for this son, which I did. I haven’t had any contact with her since that son’s graduation.

Now two years later, her last child will be graduating this spring and I am anticipating that she will contact me and expect me to make him a quilt. Even if I was an guest to his graduation (unlikely), I would gladly give him a reasonable monetary gift instead of providing hours of labor on a quilt, which equates into a generous gift for someone I don’t have a relationship with.

I want your advice on how to kindly tell her that I don’t intend to offer my handiwork, if asked.

Tired: Mastering the power of saying “no” can be life-altering. A polite “no” is brief, neutral and does not offer a list of reasons, which might come off as excuses, or, worse — invite further inquiry and conversation.

Should this issue surface again, my suggestion for you is to respond: “I’m no longer able to do this, but congratulations on your son’s graduation. Hello empty nest!” If you’d care to, you could suggest the name of another person in the quilting community who might be interested in taking on this task.

Once your former co-worker sees how much she would be charged for this custom quilt, she might value even more the time and talent you invested in creating these treasures.

Dear Amy: I’m a man in my mid-30s. I have a younger female friend, “Emma,” who is an introvert. There’s no romantic interest between us — just a great friendship.

The problem is that I’m more of an extrovert than she is. Recently, we’ve hit a rough patch. She believes that I text her too much. I’m not trying to annoy her. I just want to talk to her. I want to keep her in my life because she is a great friend. I don’t want to overwhelm her, but I don’t want to feel like I’m forgotten.

My question for you is how do you think I can compromise? I’d appreciate your advice about what to do.

Good Friend: You state that you don’t want to feel like you’re forgotten, but if your friendship is solid, secure and balanced, you wouldn’t have this fear. You should ask “Emma” what she believes a good compromise would be, and then you should respect her boundary.

You two might do best by scheduling a regular call, FaceTime or text exchange. If both of you could anticipate this regular contact, she might not feel crowded, and you would be reassured that your friendship is valued and viable.

Dear Amy: Angry and Hurt” wrote to you about her devastation because her 12-year-old daughter was not invited to a family wedding. This brought back a childhood memory of my own.

When my aunt got married in the ’60s, she only invited children over the age of nine. I had two cousins who made the cut, while seven of us did not. In fact, we believed the age was deliberately set to allow the two favorite niblings to attend. I was the next oldest child (8 years old). My younger cousins and siblings were disappointed and even wrote to Ann Landers for advice (she didn’t reply). We youngsters attended the church ceremony and spent the rest of the day with babysitters, while our parents went to the grown-up reception.

We all survived. As a child, there are many things you can’t do. Now, when I am not invited to a wedding, I usually feel relief!

Cathi: Your response makes me smile. I picture your group of seven excluded children, grouchily drinking Tang out of paper cups, saying, “Curse you, Aunt Denise!” and composing an angry letter to Ann Landers.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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