DEAR ABBY: My daughter is in her early 20s. When she was younger, she was happy. She socialized, had friends and had fun. She has had several boyfriends, but unfortunately, nothing that panned out.
She feels the only way to be comfortable or worth anything is to have a guy by her side. I think she goes about it in the wrong way. She has few friends now and rarely goes anywhere other than work. She experiences periods of depression and says she is afraid of being rejected, which holds her back from socializing. I try to encourage her to step out of her comfort zone and experience life, but she gets defensive and thinks I am saying it to be mean, when I am offering her something of value.
Abby, I do it out of care and love. I don't know how else to help her. I'm very worried about her. I'm afraid if she doesn't change her lifestyle, the situation will become worse, and she will regret it. These should be some of the best years of her life. Can you offer any suggestions to help her through these dark times? -- MOM WHO'S WORRIED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR MOM: I do have one. The most important step a person can take to solve a problem is to admit there is one. Pointing out that someone seems depressed and isolated isn't mean; it's what caring parents (or friends) do when they see someone they care about is in trouble. When advising your daughter, make sure your tone is perceived as loving and not judgmental. Then point out that the quickest way for her to get her life back on track would be to talk to a licensed mental health professional.