DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: At a Christmas party last year, I reconnected with an old friend from middle and high school. We used to be so tight back then, but we lost touch a year or two into college. She and her new husband moved back to town last fall, and she is trying to reestablish herself here.
It’s not that she is a bad person, but she still does some things I now consider pretty juvenile, even though I went along with them when I was a teenager. She was never a queen bee, or anything like that, but she used to make fun of people and comment about them behind their backs. I now understand she was expressing her own insecurities, which was OK at the time, but now when she still does it, it seems strange, sad, and mean-spirited.
I don’t mind spending a little time with my old friend, but I don’t see us getting close like we used to be. Since that seems to be her goal, wouldn’t it just be kinder in the long run if I broke off the friendship now? Otherwise it feels to me like I’d just be stringing her along. --- CONFUSED OLD FRIEND
DEAR CONFUSED OLD FRIEND: Growing apart is often a big part of growing up. Perhaps your old friend’s reliance on you will lighten once she gets more resettled into the community. For now, it’s probably easier for her to reach out to previously established connections until she meets new people and makes friends through work or other interests.
In the meantime, so long as you’re willing to spend a little time with her now and then, I don’t see anything wrong with your lending her your support. Pick and choose your get-togethers so that you have a strong say in how often and under what circumstances you meet. She may take your cues and keep the relationship on the more casual side.