DEAR CAROLYN: One of my good friends is very upset that she has never been in a relationship. She is constantly negative about it. As each year goes on, she becomes even more upset about it.
We're only 21 and I don't think it is that bad; she just hasn't found the right person yet. However, when I try to comfort her or say that, she gets upset or angry and tells me that because I have had a serious relationship in the past, I can't talk and I don't understand what it feels like.
I don't know what she wants from me, or how I can best help her. What can I say when this inevitably comes up again? She mentions it weekly.
DEAR S. "You don't want me comforting you, and I don't want you bemoaning the same thing for the nth year running, so how should we handle this?"
A girl can dream.
Unless 15 years' worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, "You just haven't found the right person yet."
A decent number of recurring laments, however, have been stopped cold by, "What do you plan to do about it?" "What would you like me to say?" "Do you think talking about it so often has helped?"
Meaning, by a friend who lovingly turns the treadmill off.
DEAR CAROLYN: Two of our friends broke up several months ago. The woman is a closer friend to me, but my husband is closer with the man. We would like to have a party, but I am perplexed as to whom I should invite her or him?
We don't want any awkward situations at our house. My husband thinks the man has made more of an effort to host events at his place, so we should invite him.
It was my idea to host a party, so shouldn't I choose who gets to come? Who is right?
DEAR WITHHELD: Neither. Invite both friends and tell both the other is invited.
Who wants "awkward situations"? But when you're willing to hurt someone's feelings (by exclusion) just to avoid awkwardness, you're letting party perfectionism muscle its way to the top of your priority list.
Your friendships belong at the top of that list. Honor them and let the exes sort it out like the adults they presumably are. If they touch off a melee over the canapes, then your next guest list will write itself.
"It was my idea"? Really?