In Which We Hand The Bite That Fed Us

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

I have an old friend named Carina who I have stuck with through thick and thin. Carina’s been through some tough times in her life and I’m really proud of the person she has become.

With that said, I feel like recently Carina has been making some decisions I find concerning. She has met a guy and within a few months she feel like they are going to be together for the rest of their lives. I haven’t even met him yet but I know that if I don’t support her she is going to be crushed. They are already living together.

How should I handle this?

Jamie I.

Dear Jamie,

Some people don’t mind when those they care about make mistakes, because they recognize that every one of us is capable of making one. It’s not like I have never heard of two people who knew they wanted to be together really quickly working out; it is just that this kind of arrangement has an absolutely terrible success rate.

At some point, it is key to determine which you value more — Carina’s continued friendship, which will presumably exist regardless of how deep down the rabbit hole she goes, or doing what you feel is right. We can’t protect those we love completely, so say what you feel and drop it after that. This gives you the best chance of preserving your feelings for this woman.

Hi,

The amount of time my girlfriend Harper spends with her friends is truly astonishing. It is like she is in a cult — they plan constant outings, talk on the phone every night, and their world revolves around each other. I have never quite seen anything like this. On some level I am probably jealous of Harper paying attention to other people besides me. It isn’t really the time it takes away from our relationship that is the issue, but maybe I’m just sick of these other relationships? What can I do about this, if anything? I love Harper and the feeling is mutual.

Brent D.

hard-to-say-mia-nguyen

Dear Brent,

Wanting to change the people we love is the only valid use of the slippery slope argument. If you want to spend more time with your girlfriend, do it. She likely will not say no. If it conflicts with the attention that she pays to her friends, complain. But a general band-aid on this situation is not impossible without destroying your relationship. The only thing you can do is slowly arc her towards you over time by offering superior experiences. People do not have just one life.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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