Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Both sides should grow up when it comes to lunch dates
Ann Arbor, Mich.: This feels like an absurdly specific question, but it's a kind of question about courtesy that I have sometimes. I'm in college; sometimes, after class, a friend and I have lunch together. Her boyfriend lives near the cafeteria, so my friend tells me to go ahead while she uses the boyfriend's bathroom and fetches him to have lunch with us. The problem is that, often, I've been completely done with my meal by the time they show up. She always apologizes for keeping me waiting, but then it happens again. (I gather that the delays are caused either by spontaneous make-outs or by her coaxing him out of a bad mood to come to lunch.) I find this more annoying than I feel I should.
My friend is normally the most considerate, courteous person I know; she would be mortified if I told her how cranky I get waiting for her. The thing is, even if I were to bring it up, I have no idea how I'd even phrase it. I don't want to embarrass her by bringing it up spontaneously when the boyfriend is there, but it seems weird to be all planning and calculating to tell her later: "You know how sometimes it takes you a while to get X from his room? I find that irritating." Part of me thinks I should forgive her this one thing, but the other part is repeatedly sitting alone at lunch, wondering when my friend will join me. I cannot believe how much brain real estate this is taking up, but I just don't know how to handle it.
Carolyn: Next time she tells you to go ahead without her, say, "Why don't you just call him? Otherwise I end up eating alone while I wait." You can also just leave when you finish your lunch.
As for your friend, if she happens to read this:
(1) Stop "coaxing" your boyfriend out of a "bad mood." When you take it upon yourself to manage someone's emotions like that, you might as well be diapering a baby. (Alas, babies eventually grow out of diapers, where big babies often don't outgrow their enablers.)
(2) Stop ditching your friend to go make out! Cheez. Either excuse yourself from the lunch date, or skip the boyfriend out of respect for your friend — who needs to grow a spine, but who also, in the meantime, isn't going to tell you how rude and annoying she finds your little he-tours.
You can show support for sister even if the tattoo is too tacky
Wowville: Please help me figure out what to say to my sister who got a tattoo yesterday. I have two myself, so I have no problem with tattoos. However, hers is HUGE. Big-black-lettering-on-her-back huge. I think it's awful, but she loves it and keeps asking, "Isn't it great? Dontcha love it?" My only response thus far is "Wow, it's bigger than I imagined."
Carolyn: “You love it, right?" (She presumably says yes.) "Then that's awesome." Or, "It's a real statement." Or, "I love how happy you are."
Find a happy truth, then repeat as needed.