Left out when new girl’s around

Dear Annie: I am taking a foreign language class at school. The first week, there was a new girl, “Molly.” No one talked to her except me. I made her laugh, and we had fun at lunch. She became my only friend in that class.

Two weeks later, “Scarlett” arrived. At lunch the next day, Molly asked Scarlett to sit with us. They started talking about stuff I didn’t know anything about. Within days, they were cracking jokes and discussing a sleepover at Molly’s. I felt totally left out. I was Molly’s friend first, and then she just tossed me aside to make way for Scarlett.

When Scarlett isn’t there, Molly and I talk just like before. What should I do? – Forgotten Friend

Dear Friend: We know this hurts, but the truth is, you do not have a monopoly on Molly’s affections simply because you “discovered” her first. It is, however, rude for her to have discussions with Scarlett in your presence when you are excluded from participating, and you should tell her so. You sound like a friendly, welcoming person. Please use your social skills to make connections with others in your classes.

Dear Annie: Each month, we have a family dinner at a different restaurant. I am gluten and lactose intolerant and also a vegetarian.

At our last dinner (a steakhouse), I ordered a $10 salad. My brothers and sisters and their spouses and kids ordered appetizers, meals, drinks and desserts. When the bill came, they wanted to divide it by the number of persons, which meant roughly $100 per person. I objected, and paid separately.

Now some of them are angry, and I have not been invited out since. Is there anything I can do to be included again? – M.

Dear M.: It sounds as if your siblings are the cheap ones, trying to get you to pay for their drinks and desserts. Talk to one of the siblings who isn’t angry with you. Ask how to make things more equitable. (We recommend you ask for a separate check, or put drinks and dessert on a separate tab.)

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