Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was recently invited to the wedding of two of my high school friends. They're very nice people and we've kept in touch over the past five years, but I moved far from home. They're way closer with all these people from my high school that will also be there. Seriously, it's the same group of people that hung out in this clique back in school. I'd like to go to the wedding, but my boyfriend can't afford to go, so I'd be going stag. I'm shy and I'm afraid I'll be the odd woman out. What should I do?
Weddings can be a hell of a lot of fun. You get to eat and drink, usually for free or for mostly free, and it's an excuse to dress up and dance or just gab with friends old and new. One of the best things about weddings is becoming temporary wedding buddies with other people. I think you're totally cool if you go stag. It shows confidence and sass. Don't worry about the fact that you've actually moved on and gotten your own life while everyone else is still stuck in high school. Roll in there, smile brightly, wave at the people you recognize and chat up the randoms at your table with the timeless question, "So how you do know the bride and groom?"
If you're really bummed about going solo, why not hit up another solo guest who you know or who you just sorta know from FB? It can be a girl or a guy, and you may have a delightful time. If they end up being lame, who cares? You're under no obligation to hang out. Go pull the bride's grandma out onto the dance floor.
I'm divorced and have a young daughter. I don't have a job, but I do take care of my father full-time – he has ALS, Parksinson's, and dementia. I have a longtime on-again, off-again beau who always mocks me for being a "single housewife" and a "lady who lunches." He dismisses my protests and tells me I'm lucky to be the daughter of a rich man (I am, but that doesn't mean I'm lazy.) He also says he could never "really" be with a woman who didn't work outside the home. I'm not kidding when I say my whole life revolves around childcare and eldercare, including school visits, doctors' visits, pharmacy visits, grocery shopping, and other errands, and these occasional dates are the only time I have to blow off steam. He's really begun to get on my nerves. Should I dump him?
Please kick this dude to the curb immediately. He sounds like an insensitive jackass. If he's been your friend for awhile, that means he has been around to see the progression of your father's illness (or at least to hear about it). Fuck him (or don't, ever again). Childcare and eldercare all at once? I can't even imagine how hard you work. This shame-and-blame motherfucker can choke on his fried banana split with Jack Daniel's sauce at TGI Friday's for all I care. I don't want him to die, but I do want him to be horribly embarrassed when a waiter gives him the Heimlich in front of everybody else.
Anyway, I'd also like to see you get into some counseling – even just once a month – to get some emotional support and respite. If your dad has the funds, perhaps you might explore the option of a part-time caregiver or visiting nurse. You can't be your best self with anyone if you're burned out. Self-care is vital and it's actually an investment in your ability to care for others, in my opinion.
As for other dates, well, I think you deserve them. Have you considered asking a friend to fix you up? How about getting on Match or a similar site to find some occasional companionship? It might add a bit of fun and variety to your routine here and there.
I'm 23, and I've lived with my best friend for the past three years. Every few months, she gets very angry at me and ignores me for a couple of weeks. Then she gets over it and starts talking to me again. I am not sure why this happens, and I'm afraid that asking her about it will just trigger another episode of the silent treatment. It's always really stressful in our house when she acts this way.
Well gosh, if she's your best friend, why don't you ask her what causes these periods of silence? What's the motivation behind them? You don't deserve to be silently ignored for two weeks at a time, certainly not by your housemate in your shared space. If she has a problem with something you do, she ought to tell you. Listen, I don't like confrontation one bit, but even I can see that this girl is really avoiding addressing something – or she's just being childish and pouty. Maybe she was raised in an environment where such matters were never discussed, so she actually doesn't know how to talk about feelings and problems.
During one of her good moods, sit her down and ask her honestly and kindly about this pattern. Provide examples of this troubling behavior. If she clams up or goes into freeze mode again, I'd say it's time to find a new roommate – and probably a new best friend, as well.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby