Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life whom you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a guy friend who is 26 and just started dating a 17-year-old. In our state, that's illegal. It really creeps me out. Should I say anything?
Yes, you ought to say something to him! I mean, when my future boyfriend Gordon Ramsay posted on Twitter the other day that he'd broken his toe, I totally "said" something to him ("You finally kicked somebody, didn't you?") In our society, it's perfectly commonplace to remark on random bullshit things to strangers on the Internet. Why wouldn't you say something to a real-life friend who is actually doing a real big something that could seriously hurt him or someone else? (Just don't say it on Twitter.)
I say you take friend-o out to a bar (you know, where his child-bride can't go) and have a chat with him. Tell him you're concerned about this relationship and its legal implications. Ask him if this young woman's parents know about the situation. And ask him what he sees in her (besides the obvious youthful hotness).
Ideal situation: he tells you her parents know about it and are cool with it, they're very happy together, he respects her intellect and kind spirit, and oh, by the way, she's turning 18 tomorrow.
It's really up to you to decide how you want to proceed after that. At the very least, make sure you're not around this kid when she's consuming alcohol and/or whatever other adult things you and your friends do.
Also, she was probably born in 1996. Just putting that out there so the commentariat can feel the grossness I currently feel answering this question.
And yes, dear Prudence, I know that Gordon and I have a far greater age difference than do your friend and his baby girl. But Gordon and I are both legal adults, and also we are destined to be together, so.
My boyfriend and I are both in our early 30s and live together. I cannot stand the majority of his friends nor relate to them, as they're pretty much all losers. Some still live at home with their parents, are unemployed, or are starving artists who are constantly trying to make it but don't have legitimate day jobs. How can my guy NOT see that these old high school friends aren't positive influences in his life? All of my friends and I have a college education, have traveled, and have decent jobs and pay our taxes. If we were in an expensive city like New York, San Francisco, or Honolulu, I completely understand why a single person would still be living at home. But we don't live in a city that unaffordable. Do I continue to not say anything and just grin and bear it, hoping he'll let go of them on his own? Or do I need to reexamine my relationship with my boyfriend entirely, and question why he continues to hang out with such ghetto people?
Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. Where do I start? I understand where you're coming from, yet I also want to put you through a wall. People are full of contradictions! For example, my future groom, Gordon Ramsay, is a loud-mouthed jerk but he is also a kind and compassionate mensch who makes shitty small-town hotels and restaurants better. (Incidentally, I bet Gordon only has really cool friends who are all really good at cooking.)
Look, you don't have to like your boyfriend's pals. But you do need to recognize that you sound like a snob. I am sure at least one of these guys is a genuine lazybones jones (EVERY guy has at least one authentically lame pal), but I bet the rest of them are trying to get jobs, or educations, or happier lives. You need to look at these dudes individually and try and see the good in them. Your boyfriend has stayed in touch with them for multiple reasons – nostalgia, genuine affection, and probably some actual feelings of love and brotherhood. It's nice that you and your friends had college educations (money), vacations (money), and other opportunities (money money money). But not everyone gets that privilege. And don't you know assholes who have all the trappings of privilege and still suck? Money doesn't make you a good person. You know this. Quit acting like an elitist priss and look for the positive attributes in some of these guys.
Also, "ghetto people"? Really? Is it 1996 and are you a rich suburban white girl in ninth grade? Let's all calm down.
I'm not good with social cues, and I never have been. I usually only have one or two friends at a time, and it's been that way my whole life. Well, my BFF just got a BF for the first time. I occasionally stay the night at her house when we hang out (especially if we've been drinking.). The last time, I felt uncomfortable because her BF was clearly going to stay the night, and I'm not good at figuring out when it's time for me to disappear into her spare room. Do you have advice on social cues and politeness in these situations? I don't want to be the third wheel and ruin anybody's fun.
First, I think you're a great friend. You obviously care about other people's comfort and happiness, and I think your letter comes from a very sweet place in your heart.
Also, politeness and social niceties aren't always a necessity. My future ex-husband, Gordon Ramsay, has made an entire career out of yelling in people's faces and saying things that might be better left unsaid. And there is something genuinely charming about people who are real straight shooters with no social pretensions.
But you don't want to be a cock block or a third wheel, so let's talk about some ways you can discern if your presence is welcome or if you need to GTFO.
If people start yawning and stretching, that's often a cue that they're ready to go to bed. Are they actually tired? Maybe! But it's also a polite way to indicate that they wish to retire to Bedfordshire to touch each other's butts or just talk in privacy.
Similarly, if people say things like, "Wow, Michelle, you must be exhausted," they may be hinting that you ought to go to bed. Then again, they may simply think you're tired! It's hard to know for sure, but it helps to take a look at the clock. If it's getting late, you may as well get your tuchus to bed anyway. Sleep is good!
Also, never underestimate the power of having a private, one-on-one chat with your BFF. If you voice your concerns, she may appreciate your effort and be touched by how much you care.
Now go forth and have fun with your buddy and her new gentleman caller, kind lady.