DEAR ABBY: "Eileen" and I have been friends for 21 years. She's been supportive through my life's ups and downs, even though I've twice moved several states away. She has always made me laugh.
Abby, over the years, she has increasingly flaunted her spending habits, bragging about how much she spent on her son's birthday or Christmas gifts or home renovations, and sending me pictures of her brand-new cars.
I'm not jealous. I grew up in an upscale neighborhood with career-driven, successful parents who loved and provided for us. I was also very close to my sisters and am to this day. Eileen grew up in less fortunate circumstances. She never saw her mother much, and she found her father only recently through social media.
I am finding Eileen's behavior increasingly annoying. Would it be wrong to say something to her about this? I'm afraid if I open my mouth, it could potentially destroy our friendship. What do you advise?
— ANNOYED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR ANNOYED: When people behave the way Eileen does, it usually reveals more about their insecurity than their success. Eileen did not grow up with the advantages that you enjoyed, and she may do this because she thinks it's the only way to measure up.
Let your friend know you're happy things are going well for her. Then, ask her why she does this. After she responds, tell her that you have always loved her for who she is, not for what she has — and in the future you wish she would not take up space in your precious conversations with insignificant topics like material things.