DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend has been fighting with her parents more than usual. This friend likes to keep her life very private, but we can tell she has a lot of thoughts bottled up. She doesn’t like to talk to us -- her friends -- about it because she wants us to think that she has the perfect family. She doesn’t understand that every family has their fights and every child fights with her parents. We can relate. She needs someone to talk to who can keep it confidential -- maybe even a therapist. My friends want to tell her, but we know she will get upset and offended. What should we do? -- Stargirl, Providence, Rhode Island
Dear STARGIRL: Sometimes the greatest gift in friendship is risking the longevity of the relationship for the greater good -- in this case, your friend’s mental health. If you firmly believe that your friend needs psychological support in order to be healthy, make the recommendation. Frame it as you did here by pointing out that everyone has family challenges. Give an example of yourself or a mutual friend to make it real for her. Preface your next statement by saying that even though you know she will be upset by what you need to say to her, you have something that must be said. Tell your friend that you are worried about her and that you feel strongly that she should see a therapist. Explain that a neutral professional may be able to help her sort through her feelings and issues and support her in figuring out how to handle what’s on her plate.