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Tell Me About It: Boyfriend must put flirty friend in check

By Carolyn Hax, Washington Post

Boyfriend must put flirty friend in check

Q: My girlfriend recently mentioned, in a very respectful way, that my relationship with my female friend "K" makes her uncomfortable, using reasonable examples of physical contact and things K has said.

We both acknowledge that K, who is single, crosses lines with the married and coupled men in her social circle (oddly, not the single ones), but I had been somewhat naive and hadnít noticed I was one of them.

What to do now? My girlfriend asked me to talk to K, which seems like a recipe for creating drama where there isnít any. I am capable of just sort of boxing her out of my life, but that seems cruel, and making a statement the next time it happens would probably embarrass her ó or both of them, if I bring my girlfriend into it.

Maryland

A: The possibilities you list are all, to my eye, about treating the symptom of K crossing the line.

But what about the underlying ailment? Thereís no "oddly" to the part about Kís cozying up to coupled men. Itís quite common and usually means K fears intimacy and sees paired off men as "safe," or she gets a power jolt by making inroads with other womenís men.

The next time K crosses a line, speak up. A gentle but decisive, "Hey ó stop," or even, "What are you doing?" wonít embarrass her. Then, enforce that limit by walking away if she persists. If she pushes you to a kind of line-drawing that embarrasses her, then thatís on her, not you.

And donít bring your girlfriend into it for any reason, no no no. The reason for boundaries is that K doesnít have them, not that your girlfriend is the one who noticed.

You may ultimately need to distance yourself, even if her actions elicit more sympathy than anger or annoyance. Thatís because the specifics of someoneís neediness eventually become secondary to a lack of interest in being part of it anymore.