Dear Amy: Two years ago, I moved from a city to a rural area because I knew I would never be able to afford to buy a house in that city.
I can telecommute for work, giving me the ability to make a good salary and live almost anywhere I want.
Since moving, I have made many local friends, many who can only dream of earning my salary. That hasn't stopped me from making friends; I don't care about a person's wealth.
This hasn't been a problem until recently. I have decided to buy a house — the house I plan to spend my retirement in.
My friends are divided. Many are happy for me, but others now consider me "the problem": when a nonlocal moves in and is able to afford the ever-increasing cost of rent or real estate.
I understand this issue. I am near a national park, and the visitor rates have skyrocketed. Many people come to the area to buy weekend homes or rentals, which drive up the prices for locals who generally work low-paying jobs.
I want to be part of the community. I am not someone swooping in just to make money. I don't know how I can fix this with my friends who are starting to see my presence as part of the problem.
Amy says: Yes, this phenomenon is definitely affecting rural communities.
The rise of telecommuting is likely one factor; this means that you can continue to draw a high salary in a beautiful place that unfortunately has lower wages and fewer professional opportunities.
But your question is really about relationships. You should continue to dive into local friendships. Some people will not be able to overcome their own prejudices in order to accept and befriend you. There is nothing you can do about that. Understand their concerns, use your wealth for good, love where you are, and appreciate your privilege — but don't apologize for it.
Funerals aren't for the dead
Dear Amy: I'm responding to the letter from a grieving reader and have to point out something from my 14 years in the deathcare profession.
Funerals and memorial services are about the deceased but they're for the people left behind.
When you love someone and they die, there's a need to honor their life and the connections built during life. This is a really important part of grieving.
I'm not saying the event has to be a traditional gloomy religious experience. As a certified celebrant I focus on the person's life, their legacy, and pointing their loved ones on a healthy path toward healing their broken hearts.
I can't tell you the number of times families have felt conflicted because they want to honor their loved one's request, but they need the opportunity to acknowledge their love for the person they've lost.
Amy says: Thank you so much for lending your expertise to this very tough question. Grieving people have legitimate needs, and after a loss, their own emotional needs should be met. You are performing an important service, as a steward and a guide.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickinson.com.