Dear reader: As I noted in an earlier column, my daughter, Lisi, will be handling the writing duties a few times a week. Enjoy her take on today’s questions. – Ellie
Dear Lisi: My friend is playing with two guys and I don’t like it. I know it’s not my business, but one of the guys is my friend and he’s a good person. I introduced them at a get-together in early spring. They hit it off and then evolved into like-liking each other. I was all for it, because why not?
Then she told me that she met a guy at a concert out of town, got together with him there and then discovered he also lives where we live. She seems to really like him, too.
Now she’s basically in two relationships with two different guys, and neither know about the other. She lives at home with her parents and grandfather, so it’s not strange that she never invites either back to her place.
She’s out every night –with one or the other, or me. She hasn’t mixed the two friend groups, so the guys haven’t met.
It’s like watching a volcano about to erupt! I can’t stop it but can’t walk away either. What do I do?
— Frenzied Friend
The only thing you can do is tell her what you told me. Show her that this isn’t sustainable and will either implode and she’ll get hurt, or someone else will.
In my opinion, she either has to tell them both and see where they stand – they may not mind if they’re just having fun — or choose one. You all sound young and not even close to serious settling down. I know if you were older, Ellie would tell her to break it off with both guys, and figure out what and who she really wants for her future. Share that with your friend and then walk away.
Dear Lisi: I’m a 40-year-old single woman with three friends whom I’ve outgrown. We don’t have many similar social interests, but try to meet weekly for coffee. I’m closer to one, but recently she’s found another friend group. I’ve always struggled to connect with people and make friends even as a child (I believe it stems from trauma). I feel left out, lost and lonely. And summer is hard because I’m a teacher and have a lot to think about.
— Summer Blues
You’ve taken the first best step by reaching out and acknowledging your situation. We can outgrow our friends…. sad, but true. However, if they’ve been friends for years, meeting for coffee once a week can be a nice connection/grounding for all of you. If it feels too much, go every other week or even once a month. Stopping completely might send the wrong message, and you don’t want that.
The friend that you’re closer to – could she bring you along once to introduce you to the new friend group? You don’t want to infringe, but maybe mixing things up will be fun for everyone.
Aside from those three, what are some of your hobbies/interests? With your summer free, now would be a great time to pursue something that interests you that you don’t have time for during the year. For example, hiking, biking, knitting, bird-watching – all of these and more have groups on meetup.com. You can search your locale for anything that interests you. Once you’ve found a group, try it. There’s no downside and the upside is that you may make new friends with shared interests.
Whatever you choose, find something to keep your mind occupied so you don’t get lost in your thoughts.
Dear Lisi: I can’t take it! My best friend is in a roller-coaster relationship with her boyfriend for almost three years. I’m always supportive and really like her guy. We’re all good friends and spend lots of time together.
But when they fight, which is often, I’m expected to be mad at him, too. Sometimes I am because he can do really hurtful, stupid things. But usually, I’m not involved in the problem.
Sometimes I go to bed thinking everything’s fine, only to wake up to her crying that he’s horrible. I can’t keep it straight whether they’re happy or fighting!
— Confused Friend
You have to untangle yourself from this situation. Unfortunately, you need to walk away from one or both of your friendships. And let them figure their ups and downs out without involving you.
If, after a while, they seem solid, you can rejoin the party, but until then, save yourself the headache and hang out with other people.
Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: email@example.com.