DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a close guy friend whom I am not interested in at all. He and I have a past together, but we have moved on and are good friends. His mom, however, thinks we are going to get married. He is close with his mom, and I think she has influenced his thoughts about us. He has a girlfriend. He and I have started to talk more because the pressure is off. He wants me to come visit him and has talked about visiting me since we live in different states. We have never visited each other before, and I find it inappropriate of him to make that suggestion even though we are friends and he has a girlfriend. What should I say to him? -- Uncomfortable, Jacksonville, Fla.
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: There must be more to this situation than you have written. What comes across is that you believe this young man is conflicted over his feelings for you, perhaps as egged on by his mother. And you question his motive for wanting you two to visit each other, especially since this never occurred in the past.
Ask him to tell you why he has made the request. Tell him it makes you uncomfortable and you do not think it is a good idea.
I'm not sure that the request is inappropriate, though. If you believe he wants to be romantically involved with you again, it would be. Find out what his motive is. And be clear where you draw the line. You want to remain his friend, but no visits allowed, at least not solo.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is about to get evicted from her apartment. She told me the other day that she got an eviction notice. I feel so bad for her. Though she didn't ask me, I could help her out financially. I don't want to embarrass her or strain our friendship. My thought is to just give her a lump sum and tell her no strings attached so that she doesn't have to worry about paying me back, which could set up an embarrassing strain on our friendship. I am not rich, by the way, but I have saved up some money and would be happy to help out my friend. She has struggled a lot this year, and isn't that what friends are for? How can I bring this up to her so that it isn't awkward? -- Friend in Deed, Washington, D.C.
DEAR FRIEND IN DEED: Good for you for having this outlook. Your generous spirit is noteworthy. Contact your friend immediately and ask if you two can meet. When you're face to face, tell her how much you love her and how sorry you are for the hardship she has endured of late. Tell her that you want to help. Give her an envelope with the check or cash in it, and explain that it is your gift to her to help her through this tough time. Be clear that she does not have to pay you back. It is a gift.