Game Night takes a turn; it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt | News, Sports, Jobs

Dear Annie: I have been part of a group of friends who have been playing board games almost every month for the past 25 years. We all know each other from working at a Colorado startup almost 30 years ago. We don’t work together anymore, but we still play games together a lot. It’s been tough during COVID-19, but we’ve played a few online games here and there.

Cautiously, we begin to get back together in person. The catch is, I’m sick of one of our friends. He was the boss all those years ago, and he still feels smug and in control. He doesn’t seem to know how to behave in social situations. We put up with him when he was a boss, and then, 20 years ago, he found out he had bipolar disorder and depression. My own son has these same conditions, and I took the National Alliance on Mental Illness training and I have a special place in my heart for people with mental illness.

Since this discovery and this diagnosis, we have supported his behavior. Over the years, it has become easy to tell when he is in real pain and when he is simply using it as an excuse to behave badly. He started this group of games, and we still play at his house. It’s not much of a problem, but it just uses that and everything as a control behavior.

Online it just gets worse and worse. I have now endured 18 months of insults, contempt and name-calling. I admit it’s sweet. He’s not super violent, but it’s boring, and it’s not how friends treat each other. I’m not doing this to him. He knows I don’t want to exclude him from my life, and he uses that to manipulate me and the rest of the band.

During his last explosion, just two weeks ago, I stopped talking to him for a while. It’s all online, and I’ve ghosted it for just 24 hours. He said in the group chat that he apologized profusely (he apologized once) and then started blaming me by saying that I was punishing him now.

I’ve had it up to here. We have openly discussed his bad behavior, and he is aware of it. He never changed his behavior for more than a week or two. For 30 years I have been a good friend, and for 10-20 years I have actively tried to forgive and forget. – I can no longer forget

Dear can not forget: I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

You’ve tried a subtle confrontation and admit that his behavior hasn’t changed in over a week or two. It’s time to try something new.

The next time he explodes, even if it’s light, tell him you’re going to have the next game night and he’s not invited. If others are also fed up with his attitude, they will surely be on board.

The concept is really quite simple: if he can play nice with others, he gets an invitation. Otherwise, the games will continue without it.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is now available! Annie Lane’s first book – with her favorite columns on love, friendship, family, and etiquette – is available in paperback and eBook. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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