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End of friendship causes pain

Dear Abby: How do I cope with the ending of a very long friendship? I saw warning signs for a couple of years, and tried many times to talk to my best friend about what seemed to be happening. Her values and priorities are moving in other directions now. I no longer feel appreciated as her friend.

My heart is breaking. We have been friends for half our lives. This is more devastating than any divorce, death or hurricane I have ever experienced. She is how I have gotten through my life this far.

There are support groups out there for everything under the sun, except for losing a best friend due to indifference and lack of caring. Please advise me.

-- Thrown Away in Pasadena, Texas

Dear Thrown Away: I know you are hurting, and I am sorry. But friendships are not just made up of helping each other through the hard times; there is also a component of celebrating the good ones. While she may have been your leaning post, you need to examine what you were to her. If the load became too much to carry, it's understandable that she would need to back off.

While there are no support groups for people in your situation, there are counselors who can help you sort through your feelings -- and because this experience has been devastating, you should talk with one.

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Smile and be polite

Dear Abby: When women are being married, they usually start showing off their engagement/wedding ring(s). I have very selective taste, and I find many of them to be gaudy or downright ugly. What am I supposed to say when these women are expecting me to tell them, "How lovely"?

-- Unenthused in Erie, Pa.

Dear Unenthused: Try this: "Oh! Look at how it sparkles! You must be thrilled!" Then look the B-2-B in the eye and give her a warm smile.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

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