Originally Published: March 5, 2017 6:01 a.m.
Dear Annie: I’ve got some trouble on the friend front. My friend “Alex” and I have been best friends since high school. She’s the sweetest, and I love her dearly. We’ve been through so much together. Over the years, I’ve met some of her friends from other circles. After numerous birthday parties, nights on the town and weekend brunches with them, I’ve safely deduced that “Chantal” and “Kate” and I will just never get along. We’d probably never even be acquaintances if not for Alex.
Chantal is obnoxious and has this air about her that everyone else around her is lesser. And Kate just seems shallow and ungenuine. A perfect example: We recently met up for dinner, and Kate mentioned we had been invited to a party. Alex asked, “So how well do you know these guys? I’ve never really heard you talk about them.” Kate said, “Well, I don’t. They’re kind of boring, actually. But they usually have good beer and hot guys at their parties, so why not go?” Are you kidding? Really mature. We’re 25 years old. But the worst part? Alex said, “Oh, gotcha. We could check it out.”
I would never surround myself around these kinds of people; in fact, I’ve let distance grow between other childhood friends who act like this. But what do I do with regard to Alex? It bums me out to see this other side of her. She’s not like this at all when we’re alone or with other friends or our families. Do I tell her I don’t want to be involved in social situations if Chantal and Kate will be there? Do I just keep to myself and find excuses? – Murky Waters
Dear Murky: Perhaps Alex has a few different sides to her personality. Sometimes she may enjoy being a little frivolous and going out to parties with these new girlfriends. Other times she may love nothing more than sitting down with you for a cup of coffee and a discussion on life. That doesn’t make her duplicitous; it just makes her human.
Alex needs to be free to explore these different parts of her identity. If you criticized her new friends, it would only stifle this process of self-discovery (and drive a wedge between you two). So you can either avoid Chantal and Kate and just spend time with Alex one-on-one or, better yet, loosen up, be less judgmental and try to see the good that Alex sees in these women.
Dear Annie: It’s so nice to read your thoughtful, compassionate and wise responses to troubled writers. I’ve been reading your column on and off for the past six months, and I have agreed with you on almost every response. I just wanted to say that I’m sure your words have been uplifting to the people writing to you for help, as well as to millions of readers li ke me. In today’s world – filled with bigoted hate and biased misinformation – it’s reassuring to find a continual source of humanity’s goodness. You and your responses make this world a better place. – Tom in Peoria
Dear Tom: I really appreciate your taking the time to write in with those kind words. I’m honored to have you as a reader. I’ll keep doing my best to deliver encouragement to those who need it and wake-up calls to those who may not want to be admonished. Whatever I write, I promise it will be from the heart.
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