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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Frets That Woman Living at Home Is Missing Out on Life

DEAR ABBY: I'm having trouble with a friend, "Julie." We have been close friends for about five years. Julie is 29, still a virgin and lives at home. I never thought much about her living at home but, as the years go by, her living arrangements have become more front and center.

I'm in a meaningful relationship and recently bought my first home (on my own). Julie shows no interest in dating or moving out of her parents' home. She says living at home is a "cultural" thing, and most people within her culture move out when they get married. At the rate she is "dating," she will never move out.

Her constant complaints about her job, money and wanting a place of her own are getting annoying. She says moving out would be "tedious" because she would then have to budget her money and wouldn't be able to spend freely. She doesn't cook, clean or do anything to help out around the house. Her stay-at-home mother does everything.

I like Julie. She's a sweet, fun and attractive girl. I know she can live her life as she pleases (and for as long as her parents allow her to live there), but I'm getting tired of seeing her miss out on fun and challenging life chapters. I don't know how to respond when she makes pathetic excuses about why she doesn't travel more, move out, date, etc. I find myself wanting to avoid her lately.

How should I respond when she complains about things she has the power to change? I know I could tell it to her "like it is," but I also know it would end our friendship. Is there a better mindset I could have about someone like her? -- ANNOYED IN TEXAS

DEAR ANNOYED: You cannot change another person. When Julie complains about things she has the power to change, your response should be that she can change them if she puts her mind to it. Understand that you can't live Julie's life for her, so appreciate her for the good qualities in her that you admire.

As to your mindset, recognize that your life is changing. As yours progresses because of circumstances -- marriage, children, etc. -- you and Julie may have less in common and grow apart. That's life.

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