DEAR HARRIETTE: My hometown friends and I have recently parted ways to go off to our respective colleges. A few of us made a semi-serious promise to each other that we would tell the others if they gained the dreaded "freshman 15" by Thanksgiving. I am committed to health and fitness, but not all in the group are this way. I noticed through photos and video chats that one of my friends is gaining weight. She will even send me text messages proclaiming, "You better be ready to tell me I got fat!" I would never tell someone they got "fat," but I would be lying if I told her all of the cookies and candy hadn't caught up to her. I am hoping to avoid this conversation when I go home, since I never expected this promise to be taken seriously. As long as my friend is happy, I will support her, but I don't know what to do or say if she brings up her weight gain. Should I redirect the topic or tell her the truth when I see her? -- Freshman Fifteen, Denver
DEAR FRESHMEN FIFTEEN: Given that your friend has brought up your pledge since being at college and since gaining weight, take her at her word that she wants to hear the truth -- gently revealed. When she comes home and if she brings it up, tell her -- in private -- that you have noticed that she seems to have put on a few pounds. Ask her if she is happy. If so, leave it at that. If she says she is concerned about her weight, suggest that she go to the gym at school. You could even agree to be buddies long-distance and schedule workouts a few days a week and hold each other accountable. That is only if you would like to do such a thing.