DEAR ABBY: I have a much younger friend in another state, and we like to keep in touch. I prefer email, as I'm elderly, hard of hearing and look after my husband, who is having cognitive problems. I have no household help. My husband and I are both on restricted medical diets that require cooking most meals from scratch and we both have many medical appointments. Therefore, my free time is limited.
My friend prefers talking on the phone. She lives alone and has tons of free time. I have asked for her cellphone number so I can call her during my morning walk, which is the only free time I have, but she says she gives the number only to her grown children and doctors, and prefers to call me.
Each time I email, she says she "longs to hear my voice" and asks if she can call me. I have explained my reasons to her. How do I answer her repetitive pleas politely? I simply don't have time to chat on the phone. I've wavered from this stance with only one other elderly friend, who doesn't do email. It inconveniences me, but in her case, there is no other choice. -- COMMUNICATION WOES
DEAR WOES: Does this woman not understand your situation? When she tells you she "longs to hear your voice," keep repeating that taking care of your husband has to be your first priority. Explain, again, that the only time you have to talk with her is during your morning walk, so if she really longs to hear your voice, the only way it's going to happen is if she gives you her cellphone number so you can reach out to her when you are available.