Point made; now let boyfriend decide whether to keep friend
Q: My boyfriend and I both have one or two friends whom the other doesn't really like, and it's okay with us. However, recently, my boyfriend became friends with someone I find very offensive. This person will say things that I find racist or sexist. In addition, he drinks heavily. (I mean, he calls himself the Manimal.)
I have told my boyfriend how I feel, and he said he doesn't spend much time with him — and that I have to get to know him before judging him, because he can be nice, too. Now that we're back at school, I really do not want my boyfriend hanging out with him. When he's with him, my boyfriend tends to drink more than usual. What to do?
A: Nothing. You've made your point. The more you try to control your boyfriend, the less you witness his free will in action. There's no more productive way to discover someone than to let him be himself. So wait, and watch.
If you don't like what you see, though, then here's an important thing not to do: blame the Manimal. Your boyfriend is fully responsible for his taste in friends and his behavior in their presence.
You, likewise, are responsible for your companionship choices — not to be confused with a responsibility for changing your companions in order to justify your choice. Something to keep in mind if you find yourself with a Boyfriendimal on your hands.
The issue appears to be trust, not a wedding invitation
Q: My girlfriend of two years was invited to the wedding of a classmate of hers. I asked if I could attend as her date. Well, she said since the invitation didn't include me, I shouldn't go. I asked if she wouldn't mind asking the bride. She refused.
I assumed she would stay only a very short time. By midnight I finally hear from her. She proclaims that I am completely wrong and should not have made this into a big deal. My problem is that she didn't even try. And, she also was going to see two people with whom she has history. I believe I wasn't included because of them, which she denies.
A: Your girlfriend was right: An invitation addressed only to her means you weren't invited, and it's not acceptable to pressure brides to add guests without a legitimate reason.
If you have legitimate grounds to believe your girlfriend can't be trusted without a chaperone, then please direct your efforts to asking yourself why you're still with her — not angling for invitations to weddings you wouldn't otherwise want to attend.
Mom is seeking counsel, not firm instructions
Q: My mom increasingly calls me for advice, especially about how to handle younger (but adult) siblings — which is odd in that we're "good kids," so clearly my parents have some idea what they're doing. Some days I find it flattering, but others I find it very stressful.
A: Advising can make you feel responsible for someone's choices, which explains the stress. But just as your mom chooses to seek your counsel, she can also choose not to heed it. All you can do is offer an informed opinion when you have one and, even more important, recognize when you don't. And recognize that oracles can have questions, too.