DEAR HARRIETTE: My 17-year-old daughter goes to a private school, and she gets invited to parties in the suburbs all the time. My daughter has a friend who attends a public high school. They have known each other since kindergarten, and they spend a lot of time together at our house. My daughter would like her friend to attend the parties as her guest; however, she does not want her friend to feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment. How can we ensure she will have a good time outside of her comfort zone? -- Trying to be a Good Friend, Memphis, Tenn.
DEAR TRYING TO BE A GOOD FRIEND: Your daughter's intentions are great, in that she wants to include her longtime friend in her current activities. There may be times that her friend will enjoy these get-togethers. But you have to know that it isn't guaranteed.
Because your daughter goes to school with these children, she has an automatic bridge to comfort with them that her friend does not. This would be true regardless of any socioeconomic or neighborhood differences. Add those elements, and there certainly could be some awkwardness at first. To make your daughter's friend feel as comfortable as possible, your daughter should stay by her side if she does get her to attend a party. She should introduce her friend to people who are likely to be good listeners and who would welcome her. If she feels welcomed, it will be easier for her to relax. But it is also important to accept that this friend may not become part of your daughter's school friend group. That could be OK, too. Over time, your daughter will likely grow to have many different groups of friends.