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.
DEAR ABBY: For months I have been trying to convince my family (I am under 18) to allow me to go onto the pill. No matter how I explain it to them, they always find a way to refuse or put it off. Doctors and therapists have also talked to them, but they refuse to budge. I have started becoming sexually active, and the pill would decrease the stress of becoming pregnant. What should I do? -- STRESSED TEEN
DEAR TEEN: Because you didn't mention in your letter your age or whether you have a steady boyfriend, your parents may be worried that giving their permission will signal approval of your sexual activity. However, in most states teens are allowed to get birth control at their nearest Planned Parenthood Health Center or from their doctor without parental permission. Because you are concerned about being safe, go online, do some research and find out for yourself. But keep in mind that the pill will not protect you from getting an STD.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)