August 8, 2007 in Features

All three have growing up to do

Carolyn Hax The Spokesman-Review
 

Hi, Carolyn: I hate my girlfriend’s two best friends. They are all five years out of high school, but you’d never know it. If my girlfriend can’t go exactly where they want, when they want, or listen to them moan about the same problems over and over (usually their bad choice in men), then they grow curt and hang up on her, or roll their eyes, or whatever. She’ll usually be stressed to the point of tears about them, swear that she needs to remove them from her life – and then a week later, all’s forgotten and she’s heading out to meet them for drinks. She’s a big girl and can obviously make the choice to hang out with these people, but it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to head to social occasions with those two and hold my tongue about their selfishness, childishness and abuse. She has made it clear she doesn’t want me to give them any piece of my mind, but I feel an explosion coming. Help! – Texas

Your girlfriend will have to figure out where she is before she can tell these friends where to go. And while people five years out of high school are adults for sure, it can take awhile for the foundation to cure. It might be a month, a year, a decade before she feels solid enough to write off these friends as not worth it. (She may never.) They could write her off. They could surprise you – and probably, from the sounds of it, everyone else – by growing up.

You, too, have a choice ahead of you between the mature and childish paths. Which is it your job to champion – your girlfriend, or your mouth? You said yourself that your girlfriend is a big girl, and yet losing your temper at her friends would implicitly cast her in the role of victim, and you as her temper-challenged knight. If you have such a serious problem with these friends, then trace it back to your own decisions – first, to continue to date a girl who has such nasty friends, and second, to join her when she sees them – and take your best recourse from there.

Dear Carolyn: Is there a nice way to tell my boyfriend I won’t consider marrying anyone who thinks it’s OK not to get a job as long as mine earns enough to pay the rent? – Engagement, Psht

I’m trying to find a nice way to tell you that you just slammed, I’m sure unintentionally, people who make honorable, productive, non-parasitic lives of supporting their spouses. Traditionally women filled that role, and women indeed have fought tenaciously against being assigned that role by default – but I’ve always thought the battle was against the default, not the role.

Now, if what you’re saying is what we all think you mean, that your boyfriend sees your job as license for him to do naught, then why do you need my support, why is engagement in play, and why are you still seeing him?

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