DEAR HARRIETTE: I was hanging out with a group of friends last weekend when I heard a kind of disturbing thing. As we were going around the room telling things about ourselves, it became apparent that one of our friends is in trouble. She is so bitter. Each of us was saying how long we had been married, and when it got to her, she said the number -- which was above 15 years -- but with disdain. She then uttered under her breath that it probably wasn't going to last. That one comment blossomed into a long list of things that are wrong with her husband and her marriage. It was awkward since he was definitely within earshot. I tried to calm her down, in part by suggesting that we talk about it privately later. But now, I really don't know what to do. I'm not a therapist, and I have no idea what to say to her about her marriage. I know couples go through all kinds of stuff over the years, but I can't advise her. Should I back out of our get-together? If not, what should I say to her? -- No Advice Here, Saratoga Springs, New York
DEAR NO ADVICE HERE: If your friend follows up to get together -- which is a big "if," given that a lot of people spout off in the moment but don't want to get into the weeds when a sounder mind prevails -- you can agree to meet with her. Before the conversation gets cooking, say upfront that you are no expert. Be a good listener, but if she wants advice, suggest she go directly to a professional. Do not get caught up in her drama to the point where you attempt to turn your story into hers. It's OK if you don't have parallels. Just listen. Tell her you care about her and her husband and family, and you pray that they can find peace. If she asks you to take sides, tell her that you will not do that. You have learned that it is very important not to get in the middle of people's marriages. It is up to them to figure that out.