Dear Annie: I am still in high school, meaning that having an interconnected friend group is very important.
In my friend group, we generally invite everyone to gatherings if possible, and if not everyone can attend, we keep social media posts to a minimum so people don’t feel as if they are missing out.
However, one friend, “Ashley,” has been hosting frequent gatherings with a select few friends, making the rest of us feel as if we are on the outside looking in.
For homecoming, we were planning to go together as a large group, but Ashley went behind our backs and invited two select friends over to her house beforehand. Later, on social media, she shared only the photos of the three of them, even though there were countless more taken at the dance (including everyone).
If it were just this one time, I would not be so worried, but Ashley has a pattern of hosting events with only these two friends. She will always publicize it on social media, as well, making the rest of us feel excluded and jealous.
Yesterday in school, I was discussing a trip to a haunted house (about an hour away) with some of my other friends. My car can fit only four other people, which was perfect because only four other people wanted to go. However, after we decided this, Ashley came over and announced that she will go with us.
I’m not sure what to say. If she had simply asked permission, I would have told her that we already have a full car but she could meet us there. However, she made a declarative statement. I feel that was presumptuous, especially considering her exclusion of us in the past. What should I tell her? — Dealing With a Troublesome Friend
Dear Dealing With a Troublesome Friend: Sometimes people leave others out just so they themselves can feel “in” — part of a special club. Maybe Ashley is going through something at home that is causing her to act this way. Or maybe she’s just being rude. Regardless, don’t sink to her level; let her rise up to yours. Continue to be inclusive of the whole crew. Tell Ashley that your car is full but that she’s welcome to come to the haunted house if she has a way to get there.
If she keeps up the cliquey behavior and is hurtful toward you, you’re under no obligation to spend more time with her. Though, if you two are close, you might first try asking her whether there’s any reason for her change in behavior and let her know how it’s made you feel.
Dear Annie: After losing two close family members in less than 10 months, I went to a grief support group as you suggested to “Holding the Chair Down.” Something I heard in the group that might also help him, especially if he was a caregiver for his mother, was to make an appointment with his own doctor. He probably neglected his own care while caring for her. — JoAnn, Prescott, Ariz.
Dear JoAnn: I am so sorry for your losses. I am glad you have sought some support. That advice — for caregivers to make medical appointments for themselves — is very wise. Thank you for sharing it.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.