“This is the single best Ask Amy response I’ve ever read.”

Via elephant journal
on May 10, 2014
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Bonus: see True Christianity, below.


“We’re all very active churchgoers, while she only sporadically attends services.”

A reader comment: “Jesus hung out with lepers, but God forbid she hang out with her sister who ‘doesn’t fit in.

sad sister

“She’s Amy Dickinson and in addition to her post she is also a regular panel member on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Nicely available on podcasts if you’re like me and enjoy listening to humorous banter on the train.”


This is true Christianity:

Relephant reads:

Why Jesus was…Liberal?
> Poet Slams Religion but Preaches Jesus.
In Seach of a New Church Home: Unitarian Universalism.
Waylon Lewis interviews Sister Helen Prejean, woman behind Dead Man Walking, at Naropa.
Real Christians.


Another classic: Source.

DEAR AMY: I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual. We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years — I have a busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you. — Feeling Betrayed

DEAR BETRAYED: You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality to show him how easy it is. Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice — to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are. The same is true for your son. He has a right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you “forget” a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person. It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world. How very sad for him.

Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong. If you cannot learn to accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is Pflag.org. This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge. Please research and connect with a local chapter.

Relephant reading:

>Judeo-Christianity & Islam on how to handle Aggression.
The New Reformation!
Misrepresented Jesus.
What Crucifixion Means.
Bible forbids Homosexuality?
Do you believe the Bible is literally true?


Three Bible passages that may blow your mind (in a good way).

18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear.

A Christianity about love and compassion:

Walk the Talk Show: Sister Helen Prejean from Alex King on Vimeo.


About elephant journal

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149 Responses to ““This is the single best Ask Amy response I’ve ever read.””

  1. Mitchiko says:

    Are you serious? I recently went through a very difficult financial and emotional time. My sister is very outgoing and has tons of friends. And I have no issues with that. But if my family were getting together and they did while I was going through this financial difficulty – they didn't shun me because I couldn't afford to go out. They didn't say well the hell with you because you don't do the same things we do or live the same lifestyles we do. Even if she couldn't afford the same things they did, she still should have been given the opportunity to decline. Her sister could have made a special sister's day out for just the two of them. I get that you may feel like Wendy is getting off scott free but the fact of the matter is, that Wendy is the victim. And yes, sometimes victims do have to stand up for themselves to get over the stupidity of others. But if you and Michelle are so like minded then God help the families you were born into. Sometimes life choices are not always made by us. We didn't chose for my husband to get cancer twice or to develop a bone disease or lose his job. But life does happen. It is family and hopefully close friends that help us through it. I didn't ask for a dime from my family but they understood my situation and STILL asked me to go out. I appreciated the gesture even when I had to decline. So next time you see the homeless person lying on the sidewalk – stop kicking them and just cross to the otherside. I hope you never have to be in that kind of situation, and if you are ever, I hope someone treats you both with more kindness then you are giving Wendy.

  2. MLC says:

    There is no indication that Wendy is toxic in any way. Her life is more difficult as a working single parent and she doesn't have as much money as they do. Do we need to keep toxic people in our lives? No. My money is on the "sad sister" as the toxic sib.

  3. Cute Quotes says:

    I know 3 friends who treat people the same way, you Just need to ignore them.

  4. Believer says:

    Those sad sisters and sad cousins should be fearful. One day they too, will be judged! Maybe they won't be judged about how often they sat in the pew, but if they lived by Christ's example. Did you forget that one of Jesus's best friends was Mary Magdalene was a sinner, a former prostitute? And yet you feel like you can't have mercy and forgiveness for your own flesh and blood for her (perceived) failures? What if God holds you accountable for ALL your sins, including those unseen by others, and equally weights them with those that are seen? Did you covet your friend's new kitchen countertops, or her childrens' grades or her ability to run a marathon? What about gossip? What about the judgements you heap on those "Wendys" aka others you deem unworthy behind their backs? What if God holds you accountable for ALL your sins, even only in your mind or that no one calls you on but God knows about? What if God judges your sins as harshly as how you have judged Wendy? You, too, might face exclusion one day, and it won't be as trivial as a weekend shopping trip but forever in heaven. Open your Bible. Read the section on the pharisess and the tax collector. Remember it was the tax collector who went home, forgiven.

  5. sister of 5 says:

    I have four sisters and we are all 3 years apart so there is a huge age gap between the eldest and the youngiest. We all don’t share the same beliefs and outlooks in life; sometimes we don’t agree on a lot of things too. But we never exclude one or the other in any bonding time even when there are foreseen tensions ahead of time. We were raised by good Christian parents and understand the bond of family. Let me apologize for your sister on the behalf of you for having such family members who would exclude her simply because she didn’t fit in.

  6. Icy says:

    it's not photoshopped. this column appears in multiple newspapers. it's real. very possible the letter is made up, but the picture is not a fake

  7. Jenna says:

    Christians are tolerant of all? Hahahahaha, oh that's a good one.

  8. jenna says:

    Your life must be so sad. I couldn't imagine changing from straight to gay, because it would require that I refuse to accept myself and also that I would either be alone for the rest of my life (due to not being attracted to the same gender) or I and my spouse-of-the-correct-gender would lead a sad, passionless life (due to not being being attracted to the same gender). Sad that you just can't accept yourself and would rather live a miserable life to honor an imaginary sky fairy.

  9. tina says:

    I do not think anyone should have to include someone just because they are related. I have family members that I would only spend time with at family gatherings and family members that I enjoy seeing more often on our own. We get along well. Whether its a sister or a cousin, if we have nothing in common other than our being born in the same family, I do not feel obligated to invite that person. You can’t force a relationship. Its just uncomfortable. Why should I have to spend time with someone that if we weren’t related I would not choose to be around? That person has their own friends and interests. It’s silly to say that sisters and cousins must do everything together. Everyone’s circumstances are different.

  10. paulalovescats says:

    The only lack of connection is that the other women would have to pay her way and maybe give her a few dollars for shopping. They have their little clique. Did you read it? She's divorced and she doesn't go to church every week. They should pretend to care about her if they go to church.

  11. Guest L. says:

    In no way should sad sister feel obligated to hang out with anyone. Wendy needs to get her own life & friends & quit trying to horn in on others. Sad sister could also make time with Wendy for an outing. I would not want either of my sisters to tag along with my friends & I. Plus we don't have the entire story now do we?

  12. Guest M says:

    Maybe Wendy had friends. She might have just wanted to be with her sisters and cousins. I'm not sure why, however. They're not good people. Here's to hoping that Wendy finds good friends who take the sting out of her horrible relatives.

  13. Faith says:

    Maybe they pretend to have faith, too!

    Regardless of her circumstances, they should not have to pay Wendy's way. They should tell her how much it costs and see if she can afford it and let her decide. Maybe she didn't have money to shop but would have enjoyed even an afternoon out seeing the girls in her family she grew up with. Window shopping is free. I think its one thing to have your own friend group that is different from the friends of your sisters. I had a crew of high school friends, other friends I had in college, a set of friends from a church I used to attend. I keep up with some, some I have lost touch with, but none of those friends would have the capacity to break my heart. Having a group of cousins and sisters – girls I had grown up with – reject me would hit me to the core. I'd have to see them everywhere–family reunions, weddings, funerals. I think it would devastate anyone, even the Sad Sisters and the Sad Cousins if they were ever in Wendy's shoes. May they never have to find out. There are no guarantees in life. They might end up being young widows on a suddenly reduced income whose married friends don't include them anymore. Then maybe Wendy would be good enough? May they never find out.

  14. ick says:

    Bad behavior. Maybe because she was upsetting the kids to the point the husband was about to call the police.

  15. ha ha says:

    Emergency, emergency. Hey, is this the police department? This is Dick. I've got a sobbing woman here at my door. Please come and take her away. She says that she feels sad that her sister left her out of a shopping trip with their relatives. Drugs? No, she's not on drugs. Drinking? No, don't think so. Her eyes look puffy but I think it's from crying her eyes out. Yelling? No, she says she just wants to talk things through wth my wife. We don't do that kind of thing in our family, we just ignore it and then talk behind eachother's backs. Please come and take her away…!

    Cruel people.

    Wendy, there's a reason why some people create a "family of choice".

  16. Faith says:

    This is the BEST comment on this whole thread.

    There's nothing like the defensive outrage of the exposed.

    Sometimes I just prefer a**holes who know they are a**holes and don't even bother to pretend to be good people. More honest than sanctimonious who pretend to be "good people" but who show their true colors when their game is exposed. That's the lot I'd cast Mr. and Mrs. Sad.

  17. Tushar says:

    nice post………. thnx for sharing.

  18. Guest says:

    You are literally the worst kind of person

  19. Cole Johnson says:

    You guys remind me of the teacher on Donnie Darko. I read your comment with a rich southern accent, simmering with the unwavering conviction to the ludicrous.

  20. Erica Bee says:

    This put a much needed smile on my face. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. harish says:

    great post…

  22. joe says:

    Really a true passive-aggressive reaction to someone with whom she does not agree.

  23. Sean says:

    i bought into the first one, second is total fiction.

  24. @AlienClit says:

    Wow in this horribly written comment, you're recommending the 700 club? Are you Pat Robertson himself? This is all very shameful and you've brought dishonor to yourself and your family, bro.

  25. Fran says:

    Great response…I am still smiling…I would love to know what Sad Sister’s answer to that is or was…

  26. larry dague says:

    I wonder if Sad Sister is the same ***** who wrote the letter about the one year old’s birthday party….a list of four things they wanted and then a demand that anyone not buying those for things include a receipt because they were losing an average of $80 dollars on returns without receipts. There are some real shitty, self centered people in this world….Sad Sister is one of them….sociopath

  27. Amy Gazin says:

    My name is Amy (ironically) and something very similar happened to me which involved my half sister and even my identical twin sister. Yes, you read that coorectly. The two grown women planned a girl’s trip to Paris and never asked me to join them. When they first planned the trip I was bed bound recovering from a broken leg. The trip was supposed to take place 7 months from the time I had broken my leg which meant not only could I go on the trip it would have been a great motivator for me in terms of keeping up with physical therapy, etc. When I did confront these two grown women they gave me a lame excuse that ‘I would not be able to keep up on the trip.’ They were defensive and kept deflecting their accountability. It was so hurtful. Several of my close girlfriends caught on to what was happening and they were just dismayed at the insensitivity and selfishness of these two sisters of mine. Eventually, my half sister went on the trip and my twin didn’t go because she could not afford it. I think she only accepted so she could ‘trump’ me in the sister department. However, I have learned the art of forgiveness with these two because it is better for me in the long run. But, I now have a better understanding of their ‘true colors’ and have really lowered my expectations when it comes to them, that way I am not hurt as easily as before. Honestly, some people in this world have kind and giving hearts while others simply do not and probably never will. You can’t change family but you do not have to be continually hurt by them either. What has worked for me is keeping my distance and keeping my expectations low when it comes to them. Wow, thank you for letting me vent. I didn’t nit know this kind of behavior happened with others sisters…

  28. Charlotte says:

    Yes, People are very judgemental, specially people in the church which all of them are not Christians either. I am transgendered,and crossdress as a woman a lot. If, I had my choice I would dress as a woman all the time. My neighbors have turned against me,and my wife has threaten divorce. I am all woman since age 5.

  29. Anthony says:

    You can choose your friends, but not your family. Your family is your family, period! Your only choice is in how you treat them.

  30. Michele says:

    You are totally unaware of what the word 'family' means or how painful it is when your family decides you aren't 'worthy' for whatever reason to be a full member. If you can't handle a little drama with love and mutual respect you are not much of a sister. Hopefully, since your life is perfect now, you will never need a shoulder to cry on or a supportive hand, good luck when life throws you a curve.

  31. the excluded one says:

    Not real? Trust me, this goes on all the time and I have lived the exclusion. Interesting that they would include cousins and even a sister-in-law, but not a sister?! And to mention that their religious beliefs make them similar? Pew warming doesn't full anyone other than the ones warming. Intolerance is alive and well with this crew. The one intentionally excluded was actually given a gift with that exclusion. Doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt, because it does.

  32. No pat answers says:

    I have 4 sisters and I have different relationships with each of them. I am especially close to the one farthest in age from me as I doted on her since she was born. Her children are like my grandchildren. Am I required to invite all my sisters whenever we do something? I don't expect my sisters to invite me to everything- and I know they haven't. One sister in particular is very difficult- has always had trouble with bosses, coworkers, and people in general, with very little insight into her behaviors that cause this. I invite her to things I know she would enjoy, and sometimes she says she'll come, then doesn't show up and my kids wonder why. She gets hurt if she's not invited to everything but many times her behavior spoils other's enjoyment. It's a tough situation, certainly not one that has a pat answer of "she's your sister so you must put up with her bad behavior because you claim to be a Christian".

  33. no sugar coating says:

    Amy's response is spot on. All she is saying is SAD sister does not have to invite Wendy, that is her choice BUT that Wendy has a right to be upset which she does. She's family after all, it sucks to be the black sheep..period. And why SAD sister brings in the church thing just makes her look bad which is why Amy throws that back at her. You can make your butt as flat as you want to sitting in that pew, but it doesn't make you any more of a Christian.

  34. patricia says:

    Plain and simple, let me explain to you WHY she is crying. It is choice……HER choice is automatically made FOR her.

    I have 3 sisters and my mom. They can afford to go out and eat and go on shopping sprees and they live within 15 minutes of each other.
    I live 45 minutes away….and due to a work accident, my husband got very sick and lost his job….we lost everything. I can't afford to go eat all of the time, but on occasion, I can.

    My family doesn't tell me or ask me….and it hurts my feelings. They don't ask or tell BECAUSE they don't want me to feel bad if I can't go.

    That being said, I sat them all down and explained it to them. It makes me feel like you don't want me. Don't make the choice FOR me…..I am a grown woman and can think for myself. Let ME decide if I can or cannot go….let me make the choice if I want to make the drive somewhere. Its much better now.
    I did this after my eldest niece was getting married. (She and I are closer in age) My sisters surprised my mother and paid for her ticket to join them, to fly back home for my neice's bridal shower. They had a discussion and decided to keep it quiet from me……instead of asking me if I had the money or time to go. (I was working and making great money at the time). And so, my feelings were hurt when it DID come out. I drove 1200 miles and stayed with my brother. I took his daughter and mine (who still lived up there) and "followed" them by phone. When they all got to the bridal shop to see my niece's gown, I strolled in…..THEY WERE SHOCKED! But I was not included in anything even after that….I had to call constantly and meet them at places, and if they changed their minds….I had to hunt them down. It wasn't fun.

    So yeah….it IS horrible. The choice should be hers if she wants to go or can go or not.

  35. Jan Meyrick says:

    I can only imagine the pain that the excluded sister is feeling. However, in the long run, she is far better off without them. I have experienced people like that, unfortunately, mostly in Christian prayer groups and women’s societies etc. I firmly believe that you reap what you sow and at some point in their mean narrow minded lives they will experience the same pain. I also believe that there are lessons that God wants us to learn and whether we learn them the easy way or the hard way is up to us. I hope and pray that Wendy finds friends that will fill the void that her bitchy sisters and cousins have carved out for her.

  36. alicia hirschhorn says:

    The Mighty Queen of Freeville lives up the street from me and I am inordinately grateful for her wisdom

  37. Dustin says:

    Interesting that this same article was written to Dear Abby with the same response earlier this year.

  38. Jessica_J says:

    I have three sisters and I am the "Wendy" of the bunch and I have been since we were very young. We are all 1-2 years apart in age. I used to think it was all my fault, and I cried and cried. I really thought it was my fault because I too, always ended up treated badly by others the way my sisters treated me. My mom always sided with them against me, too. I could see if my sisters were forced to give an explanation, they would have cited my "bad behaviour" as I was not supposed to show any reaction to their abuse and exclusion at all.

    I married the most wonderful man in the world but when were not as financially successful as the rest of them and the exclusion got even worse. Then my husband got an offer of promotion but we had to move to another town two provinces away and we moved. They were all so upset that we were moving and I thought – why? They never seemed to like me and left me out a lot. When we had a new start, things changed. I went to therapy because I was so homesick but at the same time, I was so relieved to be away from them. My therapist straight away focused on my very poor self esteem and worked hard to build me up. She said there was a root to the family issues and the way our family was structured was likely due to my father's alcoholism-it was covert-and my mother was a factor too as a co-dependent in denial. After working on my self-esteem, my whole life got better. I made true friends, I was more successful at my jobs, I no longer gravitated to the role I had been assigned in youth, the role of a scapegoat. I walked taller and straighter and no longer had the appearance of a victim or a target. Whether or not Wendy can see it at this juncture, she has been given a marvelous gift, the gift of freedom. Now it has been ten years. I go home once a year. They're all nicer to me, but I don't trust any of them. I noticed the sister who is nicest to me is now the one they complain about to me behind her back, but I refuse to discuss her "problems" with them. I know the dynamic now. I also know if I were to move back this sister would scramble behind the scenes to move me back to the low woman on the totem pole role. None of this is because any of them are evil. It is because the family system is sick. After a visit, I look forward to going back to my real home, where I have my own family and good friends who love me.

  39. a4dd4a says:

    Yes that would be my experience with 'Christians' too

  40. a4dd4a says:

    except it's a family outing

  41. logoof88 says:

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  42. @PrinceMohan says:

    Wendy did the right thing by distancing herself from her sisters and cousins. In order to avoid going into depression she must tell some people she trusts. She must ventilate her feelings or else she would become sadder. No body is right and no body is wrong . It is an individual's own judgement. If she thinks they are horrible, it's fine.
    Wendy should take a break from this negative thinking process. Start doing some meditation and give peace to her senses. In the meditation she should forgive the sad sister. Her own body language will change. Your outer world is the reflection of your inner self. Become strong from within and have a re-look at your relationship after few weeks and surely you will find the answers and the way . It is not that the church going people are better than those don't go. God is Divine light energy and it is within you every moment. Accept this and you will never ever find yourself alone. Wendy get into meditation just now. All past, present and future is simultaneously in this present moment now. Go to my articles on this site it self,create wealth and celebrate life now. You have limitless powers within you. Life is a book with many chapters. Many great chapters are waiting for you to read and experience a much greater life.
    With Best wishes, Prince Mohan

  43. imo for pc says:

    The answer should not have been so shocking to anyone

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