Dear Amy: I have a friend I love dearly, but she's crossed over a couple of lines with me lately, and I have gently cut her off.

She is a drama queen and is constantly having relationship problems. The other day she texted me at 3 a.m., telling me she was leaving her boyfriend. She showed up at my house at 5 a.m. with her 16-year-old daughter "Cynthia" in tow. After telling me how horrible her boyfriend is and saying inappropriate things in front of her daughter, the next day she was back with her boyfriend.

When I heard this news, I told her to please talk to her other friends because I was stepping back. She also is a recreational drug user, and I absolutely cannot be around that.

Now she is upset at me, telling me that she would never turn her back on me. Am I wrong? We are in our 50s and are both grandparents. I don't have time for her high school drama.

Amy says: Backing away from this friend sounds like the best thing for you, but there is a teenager in this equation, and I hope you will extend a hand toward her.

Because you are exiting from this friendship anyway, you might as well be completely honest about your reasons: "I am terrified that you and your daughter are in this dangerous situation, but it seems I can't help you any longer because nothing I do or say seems to make a difference. Your choices and your drug use are harmful to you and your beautiful teenage girl. You both deserve so much better."

Credit dad for the cash gift

Dear Amy: My father has a habit of giving cash to my brother and me if we are going on a vacation. He has done this since we were children, so we could treat ourselves while away. This continues, even now that we are adults. On a trip this year, he gave us each $350 in cash.

Dad is not a man of many words or outward emotions, and I know this is a way of showing affection. But my husband thinks this is weird. He gets upset when I accept money from my father, so I have stopped telling him about it.

It hurts my father's feelings if I decline the gift. This puts me in a terrible spot, choosing between my father's generosity and my husband's good graces.

I don't think what my father is doing is weird or unreasonable. Am I wrong?

Amy says: I agree with you that this is one tangible way your dad shows you how he feels about you. If your dad grew up with few resources, this sort of obvious generosity makes him feel good.

Your husband disapproves. His own father might show his affection differently — or perhaps not at all. You should tell him: "Honey, you can either enjoy this gift along with me, or go and sulk. It's your choice."

Happy celebrations

Dear Amy: A recent letter writer expressed frustration that their birthday falls on or near Thanksgiving every year. I too, have a holiday birthday. Mine is Christmas Day.

My parents always insisted that we celebrate Christmas and my birthday as two separate events. Our family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and my birthday on Christmas Day. My birthdays are some of my most cherished memories.

Amy says: A Christmas birthday truly offers up challenges, as well as abundant decorating ideas. I assume that at least once during your childhood you were photographed lying in a manger, attended by three Wise Men bearing gifts?

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