DEAR HARRIETTE: Two of my good friends are in a fight. They used to be good friends, and it's unclear what happened. One of them verbally attacked the other one day, and now they refuse to talk to each other. I want to find out what happened. Is it wrong to try and fix things between them? -- Sad Friend, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR SAD FRIEND: It's thoughtful of you to want to mend the fence between your friends, but it's highly unlikely that you can do that -- certainly not unless you are invited to step in. This is their quarrel, not yours. It's not your business to find out what happened. It is up to them to decide where to head from here.
What you can do as a mutual friend is to express your concern. Tell both of them that you care and that you hope they can find a way to rekindle their relationship. You can also say you miss spending time with them as a group. Finally, you can put it out there that if they ever want to talk to you about what happened, you promise to be a compassionate listener. But resist the temptation to pry.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend constantly gets mad at me for not "always being there for her." I'm there for her pretty often, just not every second of the day. We've had several fights about it lately. She isn't always there for me when I need her, either, but I don't get mad at her for not having her phone or being asleep when I want to talk.
How can I get her to understand that I'm there for her when I can be? -- Whipped, Chicago
DEAR WHIPPED: Ask your girlfriend to tell you exactly how she thinks you are failing her. What does "being there" look like for her? When does she think you are successful at it, and when are you not? As uncomfortable as this discussion may be for you, push her for examples of how she thinks you fall short so that you can understand her thinking.
After gathering this information, think about whether you are able to do more of what she wants or whether her demands are unrealistic or unreasonable for you. Then carefully and honestly respond to the different scenarios. Tell her if you agree with her assessment.
Sometimes people want from their partners what friends or family members can provide. Sometimes people want things they actually can provide for themselves. Other times, the two people in a couple truly do not share values, meaning they may not be a good fit if they are unable to serve each other's needs for whatever reason.
Figure out where you two stand, and then have the courage to tell your girlfriend.