Carolyn Hax is gone. The following first appeared on January 2, 5, and 27, 2005.
DEAR CAROLYN: I'm friends with someone I've known all my life. Our parents have been friends for years. Only recently have we come much closer.
I know a deep secret about the person's father and about what he did during the holidays, when the marriage almost ended. My friend has no idea, but I know, and I should not even do it. My parents told me not to tell anyone, but I am sorry that I should withhold this person because we are close.
Should I keep this for myself or be honest, break the trust of my parents and tell
Torn between friend and family
Dear Torn: You want to relieve yourself, I can sympathize. However, you will not achieve this by burdening your friend. Instead, remember that you were not there on that holiday, so you do not really know what you think you know ̵
In other words, make your charge easier by blowing holes in the mystery itself. And if your friend beat you up, because you know, offer: "I've never understood the whole story."
DEAR CAROLYN: At last, I've met a man I really like. See you for a few months now. Should I ask where this relationship leads or just see where it leads us? I have been raised to believe that the guy should put forward such things. I'm worried when I say that I want to be exclusive, I could scare him off.
DEAR C.: I've been raised that way, but then outdated to believe that if honesty kills your relationship, then she died for natural reasons.
"Where is this going?" She still lays on him. Demanding exclusivity is honest and also a compliment, that it would be a shame to hold it out of fear that he does not agree.
DEAR CAROLYN: I love my friend with all my heart; He is smart, funny and takes great care of me. Like any couple, we have our pet ass, but his non-listening burdens our relationship more than anything else.
For example, I told him this morning that he has to feed the dog because I have to go early. On the way out, I told him again that he needed to feed the dog, and he replied that he understood. Four hours later he asked me if I had fed the dog this morning.
It would be one thing if it were every now and then, but, Carolyn, it's every day. He admits he's having trouble remembering things, but I feel he's making it my problem, not his.
My mother usually left small to-do lists in the house, and I was really annoyed about it – as if she had said it indirectly. I'm too stupid to remember things. I do not want my friend to upset me about the same thing. I already feel like a torturing girlfriend, and I hate it.
Do I ask my perfectly gifted adult friend for too much personal responsibility?
Dear Huh! of adjectives?
No, of course, it's not too much to ask for a fully capable adult to be personally responsible for the dog. However, it is too much to ask that his responsible behavior looks exactly like your responsible behavior.
Just as it was a bit persistent of your mother to stick to her path (written instructions), if another way (verbally) suited you better, it's a bit stubborn of you to cling to your path ( verbal instructions) if another way (written) suits your friend better.
This is also bigger than the dog and posted vs. oral instructions. You live with your friend and not with a copy of you. Each time you can base your expectations on who he really is – and who he really is, who does not drive you out of their minds – you will make the cause of your relationship immeasurable. Although the dog will be grateful too.
DEAR CAROLYN: I have enrolled myself and my mother in a drawing. I mentioned this to my mother earlier and said, "If you win, you have to share it with me," I joked, not expecting any of us to win. Well, she did it and … it's a decent bit of change.
Now that she has won, she wants to divide the money in three ways – between her, me, and my brother (we're both adult children, if that's important). Am I wrong to want half?
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax, or chat with her every Friday at 12:00 pm online at www.washingtonpost.com.