Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Teen Dance Drama

DEAR NATALIE: My daughter, Liza, is in high school and we need an objective third-party opinion about what to do. Liza and Rachel are best friends. They have a mutual friend, Jeff. Rachel asked Jeff to be her date at an upcoming dance, and he agreed. A couple of weeks later he and Liza started dating. Liza is attending the same dance but didn't ask a date as quickly as Rachel did. She thought Rachel would offer to ask someone else instead of Jeff, but she didn't. Jeff feels bad because he already said yes to Rachel. Liza really doesn't care if Jeff goes to the dance with her best friend, but she feels strange asking someone else. Short of asking a family member, what's a girl to do? -- MOM

DEAR MOM: Can you say awkward? If my boyfriend was going to the dance with my best friend and she didn't think that was weird, I would start to wonder what is going on. Sounds to me like Rachel may be a little jealous of Liza. What kills me about this is that these relationships with boys will come and go at this age, but a good friendship can last a lifetime. 

So, if Jeff won't go with Liza -- even though he obviously should tell Rachel that it is weird if they go together -- Liza should just ask someone else and then see what happens. Rachel and Jeff are both acting silly in this situation, but it sounds as though Liza is levelheaded enough to know that all things are temporary -- especially high school dances and boyfriends. 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: When introducing a friend or colleague to a new group in a networking situation, make them memorable by adding a flair to your introduction. For example: "This is Tim. I love bringing him to events with me because he has the best laugh and is so easy to talk to." Immediately you made your friend, who may be feeling shy, at ease, and now your group sees that you interact with friendly, fun people. It's a win-win! 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)