Friend or Foe: My ex-sorority sister acts like a drunken toddler.

Advice on sticky friendship dilemmas.
Aug. 9 2011 12:54 PM

My Ex-Sorority Sister Acts Like a Drunken Toddler

She drinks too much and freaks out if she doesn't get her way. Should I cancel our upcoming vacation?

1_123125_2218698_2241481_2243183_090507_xx_friendorfoetn
(Continued from Page 1)

Dear TSID,
You have my permission to skip out on what is sure to be the Holiday From Hell—unless, of course, waking up in a gutter is your way of "getting away from it all." You and Anna will always have Greek letters in common, but you needn't have a drinking problem as well. Before you dump her in perpetuity, however, I think you owe it to her as a friend (and "sister") to explain yourself. If I were you, I'd contact the third buddy you were supposed to travel with and, together with this other person, confront alcohol-challenged Annie.

Instead of going nuclear, couch your critique in terms of getting Annie the help she needs. Begin by telling her that you're worried about her—and that  having a good time doesn't have to mean getting so drunk that you do and say things you can't remember the next day. Next, tell her that if she doesn't address her problem, she could wind up hurting herself as well as losing the people she cares most about. Finally, break the news that you're cancelling out of the trip—not because you don't care about her but because you do. You don't want to spend your whole vacation stressing about her doing something dangerous. That's not your idea of relaxing. For you, down time means reading juicy novels on the beach.

I take issue with your letter on only one count. From where I sit (hello, 41), the difference between 22 and 27 is pocket change. Though if you mean to imply that things that seemed quasi-acceptable in a frat house don't fly so well in regular houses—which is say, houses that do not have two-day-old vomit on the floor—I'm happy to agree with you there.

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

Dear Friend or Foe,
My best friend, "Reece," whom I've known since our stroller days, is relationship dependent.  She hasn't been single since she was 15. But this latest guy, "Donald," has somehow turned into a real pain in everyone's ass.  He seems to enjoy breaking up with Reece approximately once every two weeks, just to see what happens. Every time, we all try to remind her that this has happened before and that he'll probably want to get back together in a couple days, but she fully believes it's real, every single time. And understandably so: He is really cutting and mean and seems as if he's purposely burning bridges. Why they do get back together is totally beyond all the rest of us. How can we comfort her during those breakup times and still be true to ourselves? Obviously we can't bash him (they'll be back together in a week), and it seems both condescending and risky to say he'll get over whatever it is in a couple days.  It's gotten to the point where we feel stupid for saying, "You'll move on and find someone amazing" when we all fully know she's going right back to him in 48 hours.

Sincerely,
Stuck in a Break-Up Groundhog Day

Advertisement

Dear SIABUGD,
We've all been there— that is, we've unthinkingly parroted our friends' fury at their skittish or runaway boyfriends and partners, believing it would help our friends "move on," only to watch the two of them reunite for eternity—and wish we'd swallowed our tongues rather than utter the lines, "Honestly, he's not the brightest bulb out there," "All I know is that you can do way better," or "He has a weird shaped head, anyway."

In your friend's case, however, something makes me think that, one of these times, it's going to end for real—and badly. And so, while I don't usually advocate nosing into others' affairs of the heart, I think you'd be within your rights to say something critical about the guy. Wait until the two are back together again. Then try something along the lines of "Reece, all your friends want is to see you happy. But your relationship with Donald has put us all in a difficult position. It seems as if he breaks up with you for sport, every couple of weeks—and is mean for no reason. And we hate seeing him hurt you. So when you get back together a week later, as you always do, it's hard to be excited for you, because we know he'll just do it again." See what she said. No doubt she'll defend his behavior. But maybe she'll think about it later.

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How Moscow’s Anti-War March Revealed One of Russia’s Deepest Divides

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 7:46 PM Azealia Banks’ New Single Is Her Best in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.