Direct Answers – Boy Crazy, Respect

Boy Crazy

We are two girls in high school. We need advice about our best friend. She tends to be a little too friendly with our crushes, who she knows we have feelings for. She talks to them and always tries to one-up us.

We've confronted her multiple times, and she's told us she understands and is only friends with them, but the next day it starts all over again. She video chats and jokes with them, spending more time with them than we do. She's messing with their feelings and confusing them.

Both guys say they don't have feelings for her, but they go along with her mixed signals. We don't want to lose her as a friend, but how do we go about this? It hurts to see her with the guys we like.

~ Robin and Leah

Robin and Leah, some girls are like your friend.

It's all about filling up their own well and feeling superior. Your girlfriend, in the moments she is around your crushes, wants to win them over. It builds her up. It tells her she is top female. In the moment, she is Miss Universe. I'm the best, see.

Young men can be clueless about flirting and courtship signals, and her preening is hard for them to ignore. But other females have no problem seeing what she is up to.

There are three lessons here. One for you, one for her, and one for all three of you.

For you the lesson is, the second time you talked to her, you left something out. Consequences. Words have power. Words have meaning. "Either this stops or we won't be friends anymore."

She knows what she is doing. She's put you in an awkward position. Now put teeth into what you say.

You can do it nicely. "We can't be your friend because you are disrespecting us." Learn the lesson about standing up to nervy people, and life will become much easier. Nice has its limits.

The lesson for her is, trying to be the center of attention to all males, even males who are spoken for, can be hazardous. She may even learn a deeper lesson: she doesn't have the right kind of self-esteem. She has only the kind which is borrowed from others.

We mentioned a third lesson. It's this. If she is a friend, then who isn't?

~ Wayne & Tamara

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I've been married 26 years. This year my mother-in-law didn't give a birthday card or gift to my daughter or me. My husband's birthday was two weeks later, and he got a visit at work, a card and a check.

I expected my husband to address this politely, and let his mother know it's fine if she doesn't want to give gifts anymore, but remembering only him causes hard feelings. My husband insists that would be rude.

I am so hurt my mother-in-law would snub my daughter and me. Am I wrong in thinking it should be all or nothing?

~ Norma

Norma, much of human behavior is built on reciprocity. You give to me, I give to you and we have strengthened our bond. That's the rule. But, I give to you, you give nothing to me, breaks the rule. It signals you think I don't matter.

It signals disrespect. Your mother-in-law was rude, and in a family rudeness can spread like a virus. It infected you, it infected your marriage and it may have infected your daughter.

While antibiotics don't conquer viruses, they relieve the symptoms. The antibiotic here is the one you suggested. Your husband should have politely addressed the issue with his mother. A one-for-all and all-for-one policy is the answer.

Explain this to your husband. Ask him if he wants to limit the virus, or be as rude as his mother.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of September 14, 2015

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