DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an extremely argumentative friend, Alex. It is embarrassing to me, and I never find his bravado courageous or his cursing intimidating. For example, Alex found out one of his friends was talking about another friend behind his back. Alex walked out into the hallway, a more public setting, and began calling the wronged friend. The conversation went something like, "I don't give a f---, he is a piece of s---. I'm going to f---ing hit him so hard, he'll know to never mess with us!" No one was impressed with this method of dealing with the issue. Nobody believes he will follow through, and Alex is simply too dramatic. Should I casually call him out or let him continue in his macho facade? -- Call Your Bluff, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CALL YOUR BLUFF: On one hand, with the example you gave, you can see that Alex was attempting to stand up for the wronged friend. And yet, he did so in an out-of-control way. Perhaps you can speak to him through the voice of compassion. Tell him that you believe that he has good intentions when he goes off about things, but it disturbs you greatly. Give him a couple of specific examples along with your interpretation of what was embarrassing or disturbing about his behavior. Do not assume that he will understand. If he did, he wouldn't be behaving that way in the first place. In the end, know that people are the way they are. If he offends you all the time, it may be wise for you to spend less time with him.