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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

4/7/2021 7:44:00 AM
Housesitter doesn't take care of friend's plants

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend was housesitting for me while I went out of town for a few weeks to visit family. One of the most important tasks I gave her while watching my house was to take care of my houseplants. My plants are very large and require proper care and sunlight, or they will quickly start to wither and die.

When I got back, my plants were extremely wilted and looked as if they had not been watered at all. My tallest plant, which my great-aunt gave me before she passed away -- was pretty much dead. This plant was the most important thing to me because I promised my aunt that I would take care of it when she started to get sick.

I'm furious with my friend. She knows how much these plants meant to me, and I have no idea if she even tried to take care of them. I know it may seem like I'm overreacting, but I am very upset with her carelessness, and now I can't help but feel differently toward her. I know that this is not worth losing a friendship over. How do I address this with her? -- Plant Mom

DEAR PLANT MOM: Talk to your friend. Tell her how disappointed you are that her plants were not watered and are almost dead. Ask her what happened. Be specific. Ask her why she did not do the most important task that you gave her. While there is no legitimate excuse not to honor the agreement, listen to what she says.

You also need to look at yourself and your decisions. You asked this friend to housesit with the most pressing job being to water your plants. Did you have any indication that she has a green thumb or any consciousness about plants? Some people do not pay attention to plants. This may be hard for you to believe, but it's true. It seems that you did not choose well when it came to having this task fulfilled. You are actually equally if not more to blame for this mishap because you asked the wrong person to do the job. You can forgive your friend -- and yourself -- for what happened. Next time, choose more wisely.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been in love with a man for the past 30 years -- from a distance. The timing was always wrong for us to be together, mainly because he is a bit of a player. I never totally waited for him. I got married and had a family, but he has stayed in my heart as "the one." I know it's horrible, but it's true. Anyhow, recently he called us "spiritual husband and wife" and told me that he loves me more than any other woman in his life. What am I supposed to do with that? Saying these words doesn't give us the kind of relationship that I have always wanted. It kind of makes me mad. He declares these things without accepting any responsibility or role in demonstrating this love. I don't know what to do. I'm still married, though not particularly happily. But I don't think this guy would be there for me like I need, even if I did leave. -- Not Enough

DEAR NOT ENOUGH: You need to let go of this man. Stop letting him pull your strings. It's not fair for him to have your heart from a distance. Stop giving it to him. Focus on the life you have chosen. Right now, you are not being fair to your husband or yourself. It is not possible to find happiness in this way. Life is not a game, even if he seems to be playing one.

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