Wedding drama, tardy friends, desperate for a boyfriend—Friend or Foe advises readers at Slate.com.

Advice on sticky friendship dilemmas.
April 19 2011 10:03 AM

Wedding Guest Gone Wild

My manipulative friend almost ruined two weddings. Should I forget her?

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Dear LC,
Wow, your buddy runs a tight ship. A lunch date? Really? That's hardly a Caribbean holiday with nonrefundable airfare and hotel deposit. What I'm wondering about here is whether there has been a history of this kind of behavior on your part. Is this the first time in a long time you've pulled a late cancel on her? If so, I don't see why you deserve to be ex-communicated—especially after all those apologies. If, on the other hand, there's been a pattern, well, then, I can see where Bev is coming from.

It's also possible that Bev is just cooling down from her initial snit. Maybe you'll hear from her in a few weeks, and everything will be fine. In the meantime, what about sending her an invitation to lunch or dinner in your town—and even at your apartment? If you're feeling tight, cooking is always the cheaper option. And if you don't cook, I still presume you know how to make sandwiches!

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

Dear Friend or Foe,
A year ago, I moved to a small foreign country, where I landed in an awesome group of (local) girlfriends who are slightly older than me. When I arrived, most of the girls in the group were still single. All of us are now in relationships except for one girl, "Christina."  She was the person who was most welcoming to me when I arrived. She is also the one who is most "desperate" to find a man and get married—and unfortunately it shows. Men with whom she goes on dates invariably get put off. Meanwhile, the other girls and I always invite Christina to anything we're doing. But, lately, Christina has started hitting on other people's boyfriends or acting passive-aggressively. What's more, there are many nights now where we don't go out, as we're staying in with our significant others. Christina then feels left out and makes comments such as, "Well, now that you have a boyfriend, you blow me off all the time."

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All of us wish we could help, but at this point we can't really see any solutions. Society here is very small, and nobody knows any more eligible bachelors; there are no singles events; and talking to Christina about it has backfired. (She stopped speaking to one friend who, when pressed, admitted that Christina gave off needy vibes.) The only two ideas we have are to a) somehow convince her to stop caring about finding a man, or b) suggest she go for a year abroad to another country where everyone's not paired off by 30.  Do you have any ideas?  All of us love Christina, who is smart, pretty, and caring, and has a great career. And it pains us to see her alone.

Sincerely,
Wish We Could Help Desperate Friend

Dear WWCHDF,
Ah, the plight of the desperate friend! She might as well wear a giant D on her forehead … Honestly, your letter is making me miss the Sex and the Cityera (when it was still acceptable to be solo). First, the pity needs to stop on both ends. There are actually things worse than being single at 30 (or however old she is)—much worse things. So do Christina a favor and stop talking to her in a sad voice with a gently cocked head. Meanwhile, Christina herself needs to get a grip and find some other single women with whom to hit the bars. I'm sure your gang girls are the bestest friends ever, but in truth you may not be that fun right now. I also refuse to believe that Christina is the only single woman in the entire country—even if that country is the size of Luxembourg.

That said, my guess is that Christina's "desperation" vibes have only a little to do with the fact of her being single—and everything to do with her personality and some fundamental lack of self-esteem. Until she deals with that issue, nothing is going to change on the romance front. It's not that men are afraid of women who want to get married; they're afraid of women who look at them as if they're the answer to all their problems. Nobody wants that kind of responsibility. If you want to be a good friend to Christina, tell her how fab she is and how it worries you that she doesn't seem to know this. Then urge her to seek counseling. Telling someone to move away is not a nice thing to do. (Though she'd probably dig it here in NYC, where, in some circles, getting married and pregnant before 35 is still considered gauche.)

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

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