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Go Ask Aunt Becky


cats-with-laser-beamsHi Aunt Becky,

First of all, you rock.  I hate feeling like I’m being a whiner, since I know so many other people are going through hardships worse than mine.

But here’s my current crapola.  I have gone through a layoff, drained my savings, and been struggling to make ends meet since last summer.  I also battle depression, so when multiple areas of my life start crumbling, I have a really hard time coping.

I had a best friend that I’ve known for 14 years who has apparently decided to cut me out of her life.  I have attempted to contact her to no avail. I know I haven’t done anything wrong, and I do have a lot of other great friends, but this one stings.  I don’t have a great relationship with my family, and she was always like the sister I didn’t have.

I have no clue what’s going on with her, but I really hate feeling like I suck because she has decided to not be my friend.  I know deep down it’s her issue, but how do I just shut down that big part of me that cares, and say “Whatever!” and move on?  I am the kind of person that takes situations like this to heart.

Any advice about how to stop letting my self-worth be dictated by others?

It’s tough to handle the break-up of a friendship no matter what the circumstances, and when a good friend stops talking to you out of the clear blue, closure is nearly impossible. It’s a rejection without the courtesy “thanks but no thanks; fuck you very much” letter. A breakup with a friend can be just as hard (if not harder) a breakup with a lover.

(I have decided “lover” is much awesomer than saying “life partner,” “husband,” “wife,” “boyfriend,” or “hostage.”)

When I was planning my wedding, I had two maids-of-honor, both my good friends. All of the bridesmaids met at the seamstresses house to get measured for the dresses I was forcing them to wear. One of my maids-of-honor had been a bit…off but I hadn’t thought much of it. We were both extremely busy.

I tried to get in touch with her a couple of days later and she didn’t answer her cell. I called back a the next day: no answer. Like me (back when I had a cell phone able to make and receive calls) she had her phone glued to her ear, so I knew she’d been getting the calls.

Weeks went by and…nothing.

I haven’t seen her since.

It’s been six years and I still have no idea what happened. It also still sucks.

And I guess my rambly point is this: being dumped sucks. Being dumped by an old friend is worthy of feeling sad. Everyone feels like a loser when they’re dumped or rejected.

On the flip-side, maybe there’s something going on with her. Her own demons. The kinda stuff she needs to battle alone.

I wish you the best. When you’re feeling extra-sad, try to remember it really is her loss. Or buy a voodoo doll. Whatever.


Dear Aunt Becky,

The bushes in front of our house are pokey Barberry’s that were planted every-other-style in terms of color.  Obnoxious. How do I make them go away “on accident” so the spouse is none the wiser?

(in my best Clint Eastwood voice) I. HATE. BUSHES.

Shrubbery is my mortalest enemy. My house was way over-landscaped by the original owners because people in the 70’s loved full bushes (heh). The people we bought the house from did absolutely no maintenance on the yard, which meant that it looked like a serial killer lived here when I moved in.

I spent last summer digging out the 9474632 moldy, ancient, ugly bushes. Now, I’m guessing, I must find something to replace them with.


I’m going to make the assumption that you’re going to eventually have to dig out the roots, because, obviously, but here’s the best way to kill bushes that I know of.

Cut off some the branches waaaaaaaay at the bottom of the bush, closeish to the roots.

Then, spray that “open wound” of the bush with weed killer. I happen to use Weed-B-Gone. Mostly because I own some and am too busy adding cats shooting lasers out of their eyes to my pictures to go find anything else.

If you’re trying to stealthily remove (heh) shrubs, it may take you awhile to kill them if you don’t just whack (heh) the whole bush down (heh) and douse those fuckers with Weed-B-Gone. You may have to do it a couple of times to get it to work.

Or get a voodoo doll.


As always, Pranksters, pick up where I left off. Because I’m sure you have much sager advice than I do. (Obviously.)

Or get a voodoo doll.

posted under Go Ask Aunt Becky
29 Comments to

“Go Ask Aunt Becky”

  1. On March 27th, 2011 at 10:22 am Brahm (alfred lives here) Says:

    Good advice, as always. I too have been through the friend break-up, and it is as hard and awkward and clunky and yes explanation-free as any other break-up can be.

    As a logical black-and-white kind of person, I thrive on answers, and desperately need them. Sometimes they just arent there to be had.

    I coped by making my own list, pro’s and con’s of the friendship, to apply logic to the situation, then acknowledged the world changes and moved on. It is other people’s issues, everyone is having a hard time in some way. Despite the coldness of it, I try — try — to extend some empathy, and then protect myself and move on.

  2. On March 27th, 2011 at 10:26 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    I’m with you. There’s a part of me that will ALWAYS wonder what the hell happened.

    I may have to attempt your pros/cons idea.

  3. On March 27th, 2011 at 10:25 am statia Says:

    #1. Being dumped DOES suck. Being dumped by one of your oldest best friends, I think, sucks worse than a divorce or being dumped by your boyfriend. Sure, you weren’t having sex (or maybe you were, I don’t judge), but they are like a spouse (I call my bff my other spouse, because we share everything), and since you share some of your most raw moments with them, it’s soul crushing when something like this happens for no seemingly good reason. Pretty much what Aunt Becky said.

    Try writing her a non-confrontational one sided letter. Even if it’s just to get things off your chest. Tell her that you wish you knew what happened, and that you’ll still be there if she changes her mind (if that’s what you want to do, obviously). It may make you feel better, that you got your feelings out, and at best, may make her come back around and want to talk to you. I hope it works out.

    #2. Shrubs are a pain in the ass. One thing you can do, is weed killer. Most weed killers will kill everything, so you generally don’t put it too close to your shrubs. Since you can’t see it, you can feign innocence when it dies. Caseron is a good weed killer, as it’s supposed to control weeds for up to a year (mostly works well), but it will kill EVERYTHING if you’re not careful. The only drawback is that it’s small pellets, so if your mulch is dark, you’ll be able to see it. My advice, is douse the root area of the mofo ugly bushes and just wait. The only drawback to this is that you’ll have to wait a little while to replant something in its place. If you don’t want to go that route, hire some thugly neighborhood teenagers to “vandalize” the bushes. And again, feign innocence.

  4. On March 27th, 2011 at 10:52 am Andie Says:

    My best friend recently broke up with me, and it DOES suck.. I don’t just miss her but I miss her family too. I was godmother to her children and her mine, and I thought her husband was an awesome guy. It is a LOT like a divorce, especially if mutual friends get involved. I’d love to offer advice on how to cope, but I really haven’t come up with much myself other than ‘don’t think about it’ and ‘try to stay mad and righteously indignant (this has been working well-ish).

    I dont’ have much to offer for the shrub problem, unless you want to trade them for the mutant lily-of-the-vally that’s trying to overtake my yard. Landscaping/gardening is bullshit.

  5. On March 27th, 2011 at 10:58 am Yvonne! Says:

    Anger staves off hurt feelers. Usually adressing WHY your feeling are hurt is more direct but when you don’t know why, just that you hurt, anger is a good replacement.
    Also, for me, alcohol and video games but that’s a whole ‘nother ask AB.
    As for the shrubs, did the guy ASK you before he installed the monstrosities?? If so, well tough titties, you agreed to it. If not, hack away. If you’re leaning towards that natural use straight vinegar on a sunny day after you hack away at the bottom as AB auggested. You’ll have to do it more often but you’ll see results. Also, spray it on the leaves. The vinegar smell goes away after it dries.

  6. On March 27th, 2011 at 11:25 am David Kay Says:

    Wow, #1 hits so close to home that I could have written it. Here’s the deal: lose your job, lose many (most, or in my case, all) of your friends. The axe missed them, but it scared them. Dumping you is their version of whistling in the graveyard. No matter what you might have thought of them before, they’re assholes. Anybody who dumps you when you’re down and out is a shitty friend. Fuck ’em. Move on. You’ll find better people for friends.

    #2: The herbicide of choice is Round-Up*. It kills everything (including those goddamned cats the crazy woman next door… uhh, I, uh, digress.) And it’s liquid, so there’s no evidence that anyone other than a CSI douche will discover. (If I didn’t live in California, I’d recommend napalm. It’s [redacted]. So if you mix up a batch, you didn’t get the recipe from me.)

    As for replacement foliage, stay away from bougainvillea. It’s a motherfucker to spell, and even worse to maintain. And did I mention that it attracts vermin? JUST. SAY. NO. (… napalm…)

    *At this time, this prankster owns no stock in Monsanto or Dupont.

  7. On March 27th, 2011 at 11:57 am Kim Says:

    That commercial ‘depression hurts’ is so true, isn’t it? And, you’ve got a lot going on, which makes it difficult to pull out. Although I’m not in recovery (but praise people who are) I love their serenity prayer and I think it applies to us all:

    “God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed, Courage
    to change the things which should be changed,
    And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

    What this says to me, especially with depression, is look at your life. Identify something you can control right now and make a goal. Small is better. Allow yourself to experience some success. And once you’ve accomplished that goal, make another. And, it takes work, but let go of things you have no power over.

    Easier said than done I know, but getting a litte exercise is shown to lift mood – I know when depressed, it’s really hard to motivate. But, it’s really important to be good to yourself. Nourish yourself. Body, mind and spirit. In baby steps.

    Also, journal if you don’t already. I can’t say enough about it. Get the thoughts, the pain, the worry, the overwhelm out of your head. They just spiral if left to their own devices.

    About your friend – I’m sorry. I don’t get people like that. 14 yrs is a long time. And, Aunt Becky’s right, it’s probably always going to hurt a little when you think about it – unless she comes around and if she does, you also have choices. Her behavior is information. You need to decide how to use it and decide what it is you want out of relatinships and how you want to be treated.

    Many years ago I heard Oprah say, ‘We teach others how to treat us.’ I loved it and found it empowering – although again easier said than done. But life is work. Sucks, but it is.

    Good luck. I hope life looks up for you soon.

  8. On March 27th, 2011 at 12:29 pm Kadye Says:

    I’ve been through #1… but as the “dumper”. My friend had taken to using work as an excuse to never hang out. It’s amazing that they allow someone to work 24/7. I wonder when she eats? I always had to be the one to make the sacrifices. I had to ask off of work (where my hours are not as steady as hers… meaning every time I had to ask off, it made a significant cut in my paycheck that week) to hang out with her. She took everything I said as a personal attack – even when it wasn’t directed at her. We once planned a trip and she decided after the final date to get a full refund she wasn’t going to go anymore. Instead of trying to work it out with me, she called the company to try to cancel the entire trip. We had booked with a pretty amazing discount and had she canceled the trip it would have cost each person involved (except her) at least $200 for the deposit PLUS the difference it would have been to rebook the trip. Then told me she did it this way because she didn’t trust me. She was very negative all the time, and it made me tired. I eventually slowly stopped talking to her. Every time she contacted me, I would respond, though. I would just not initiate any conversations.

    She finally sent me a text asking what was wrong. I told her all of these things and how it made me feel. In the end, she didn’t take any responsibility. She said I never responded to her texts or Facebook messages (I triple checked… not true). She denied any of the above and tried to claim she works 70 hour weeks (she doesn’t) and never gets a day off (she does). Yes, I should have confronted her earlier. But the day she told me she didn’t trust me to fix the problem, I couldn’t trust her either. It hurt me beyond words that someone I considered my best friend would say that. It killed me to need to break up with her, but honestly our friendship was never the same after those events. (FYI, I ultimately did by finding someone to buy her out of the trip. Also, I paid $300 of her trip, as well, and I lost that $300 so I could find someone who would buy the trip at an extremely low price of $500 for a week at Disney including tickets, hotel, and all of the meals plus snacks… and she never once thanked me. What she did do was hold on to those checks I got for her for several months before cashing them throwing off the other persons bank balance).

    So, as someone who had to be the dumper to keep her sanity, keep in mind it hurts us, too. I had the courage to say what I felt and was met with rejection, denial, and was told it was my fault. It’s quite possible that the dumper is afraid that may happen to him/her. I have been on both sides of that process and it sucks both ways. Maybe my incident was special… but I just want to throw that out there.

  9. On March 27th, 2011 at 6:47 pm Jessica Says:

    At least you had the decency of telling her how you were feeling. I think that in the end you did the right thing by cutting her out of your life. But the friend that dropped me has given me no reason and it hurts. Your friend did multiple things that warranted you feeling pissed. I don’t think I did anything and not knowing sucks. Thanks for giving the dumpers perspective.

  10. On March 28th, 2011 at 1:20 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Yeah, that’s how I felt, too. If I did something, it wasn’t something that I could ever acknowledge and/or fix. I just have to wonder what it was.

  11. On March 29th, 2011 at 5:49 pm Luna Says:

    Indeed. That happened to me too. I found out from a mutual friend about 15 years later that I had said something mean about her douchebag boyfriend. I couldn’t remember ever saying something like that, but the particular sting sure did sound like something I might have said. I mean seriously, the guy was an epic douchecanoe. I figured she should have called me after they broke up. 🙂

  12. On March 27th, 2011 at 12:41 pm andygirl Says:

    I am going through something similar as the first prankster. I was a bridesmaid in one of my very best friends’ wedding and she, out of the blue, decided I was a horrible friend and dumped me. it stung, but I gave it time, chalking it up to bridezilla madness. I finally sent an email olive branch as it were, hoping to mend things, but she wrote back and attacked me. SO, I did what I could. I tried. I was civil I did the right thing. and now I have to move on. I’d say your prankster try the same. make your own closure, but don’t expect miracles. and the pain of being dumped by a friend, well, that takes a LONG time to go away. sucks.

  13. On March 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm Laura Says:

    I think sometimes in break ups, one person has to make the other person the “bad guy”. So, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, they blame you, turn you into the asshole and thereby justify their behavior. It doesn’t make it any easier to see it that way, but you can take comfort in knowing you aren’t actually a bad guy.

  14. On March 27th, 2011 at 12:56 pm Kate Says:

    Did you know that when you Google “How to kill a bush” about half of the links on the first page have to do with the former president?

  15. On March 27th, 2011 at 1:13 pm BigP's Heather Says:

    #2 – if you live in Arkansas, I will come in the night and take care of it for you…

    Also, bleach.

  16. On March 27th, 2011 at 1:28 pm Sam Says:

    Dear First Prankster;

    I’m so sorry for your layoff, that shit SUCKS. I’m the same way – I can handle one or two things going to hell, but when it feels like the whole earth crumbling around me, fuggheddaboutit. 🙁 And my wonderful gay best friend once did that to me – totally broke up with me, said he was trying to change who he was, etc etc. I cried and felt like total shit for a long time, drove my (then)boyfriend nuts with it. My friend did come back around. He was an addict who went through a lot and all of the negative is ancient history. He ended up being in my wedding. I guess what I’m saying is: you never know, it may have NOTHING to do with you. Your friend may be dealing with something you have no clue about. Bottom line: take care of yourself. Allow yourself to grieve this friendship and draw strength wherever you can = current friends, antidepressants (if you need them), or my favorite, therapy! Hang in there. You’ll be okay.

  17. On March 27th, 2011 at 1:30 pm Laura Says:

    I broke up with a long time friend a few years ago…though, not being a complete asshole, I did send her a note saying why I had to end contact with her. She refused to acknowledge boundaries I had to put in place for the well-being of my family after I became sick with a few chronic illnesses. I needed her to understand that my priority was going to be my daughter, and that meant no unplanned visits, no dropping by unannounced, in part because I needed to make sure I had the energy, but also because I was dealing with severe anxiety that was only exacerbated by unannounced visits. When she refused to recognize my boundaries, I ended all contact. It was the only thing that worked for me.

    I know it’s hard to understand why sometimes friends need to distance themselves, but she may be dealing with things you don’t understand, things that are important to her that you might not see because you are seeing her as your friend, but not as a mother, sister, daughter or lover. Someone close to her may be in crisis.

    If the friendship is important to you, keep the channels open, she may come back when she’s ready. If she doesn’t come back to the friendship, you still have the memories of a long friendship, something some people never have the chance to experience.

  18. On March 27th, 2011 at 2:02 pm Pam Says:

    I hate it when a friend does that without providing a reason–mostly that’s because they assume we know exactly what we did or said that offended them to the point of never wanting to be friends with us ever again. And we all know what happens when we assume now, don’t we? Life is way too short, I’d go with the voodoo doll for sure!

  19. On March 27th, 2011 at 4:21 pm Wombat Central Says:

    #1. Great advice all around on this one. I love Alfred’s pros/cons idea, and I agree with @Statia’s idea to write a letter telling her how you feel. It might help to share your perception of what happened. Sounds like she must have some stuff going on in her life.

    #2. If you’re trying to make the bushes disappear without being obvious, head on out there to give them a little trim and hack the shiz out of them. Make sure they look so awful that hubby’s only option will be to cut them down. Win-win–they’re gone and you didn’t have to do the work!

  20. On March 27th, 2011 at 6:53 pm Jess Says:

    Pay someone with a backhoe to get those bushes out. Otherwise they’ll haunt you like a bad yeast infection.

  21. On March 28th, 2011 at 1:20 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Shrubs are bullshit.

  22. On March 28th, 2011 at 8:59 am shelly Says:

    Ive been dumped by a few people since starting my job in 04. Even the ones that hadnt ever been in trouble suddenly decided that being my friend was “strange” it smarts.
    It still does years later to run into someone I used to be very close to and have them act like im the enemy or that they dont know me. But on the flip side I have found a whole other new nest of friends.
    Sometimes you outgrow friends, sometimes they grow with you. Sometimes they have their own demons and they just dissapear.

    For the plant,s make a spray bottle with bleach and water, and go out and water them regularly. Husband will just think you have a brown thumb with shrubbery lol.

  23. On March 28th, 2011 at 9:43 am Jaci Says:

    I dumped a friend while going through my own issues. And when I say “issues” I mean crazy FML! *ISSUES*

    Our friendship revolved around me giving her support and talking about her life. (She ALWAYS had an issue.) When our roles reversed, she didn’t have anything to say to me, and I felt like I was left hanging. After 10 years of being the voice of wisdom/cheerleader/self-esteem booster for her, I was hurt. It was My Turn!!! So I pulled a Friendship Fade Out.

    It was immature, but at that point I didn’t have the energy to maintain our friendship. If I hadn’t been in the middle of such a crazy, life changing shit storm, we would still be friends (with me as The Good Listener, she as The Queen of Dramaz!). Really, SHE didn’t change. It was ME.

    #1: Send her an e-mail (or a good old fashioned letter). Tell her you love her and you miss her and are stuck wondering what you did wrong. My friend sent that kind of note to me (just a couple months ago) and I told her the truth. I don’t hate her–we just grew apart.

  24. On March 28th, 2011 at 1:18 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    That’s kinda what I did with my maid-of-honor. I wrote her an email, told her I loved her and that I was sorry for whatever happened. That’s that.

  25. On March 28th, 2011 at 12:17 pm Tipsy Lucy Says:

    9 million bushes?!
    Love your reference to the bushes of the 70s. LOL!
    Voodoo dolls – seriously, put down the voodoo dolls. I touched one in New Orleans gift shop and it zapped my hand. I looked around for Ashton Kutcher, but there were no cameras in sight.

  26. On March 28th, 2011 at 1:17 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    I seem to bring bad luck upon myself just fine.

  27. On March 28th, 2011 at 1:48 pm michele Says:

    i’ve heard a copper nail into a trunk-type spot will poison bushes and/or trees…

  28. On March 29th, 2011 at 1:05 am Allie Says:

    Wow, you guys are awesome. I figured I’d throw it out here online since I’ve been struggling, but really didn’t expect all this input! I did end up sending a last email attempt, and I will move on. I feel good knowing I was always a great supportive friend, and she can deal with whatever she is going through. Thanks again all!

  29. On March 29th, 2011 at 8:25 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Yeah, sometimes you have to give yourself closure. Which sucks ASS.

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