DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends just came on to me, and I’m not sure how to handle it. I love her, for sure. We have been close friends for more than 10 years. I feel so stupid because I didn’t even know she was gay. We have talked about my boyfriends over the years. I just broke up with a guy I dated for three years. She mostly skirts the issue when I ask her about dating. She talks about being busy with work and other things. I never pressed her. I was shocked when we hung out at my house and she tried to kiss me. I flinched, and the moment got way awkward.
We haven’t talked about it since, but I think we need to. I value her friendship. Even though I don’t want to have a romantic relationship with her, I still love her. And I don’t care if she’s gay. I just am not interested in her in that way. What can I say to her that won’t hurt her feelings? -- Fractured Friendship, Atlanta
DEAR FRACTURE FRIENDSHIP: Start by telling her exactly what you told me. Remind her how much you love her and how important your friendship is. Tell her you were startled when she tried to kiss you because you didn’t know she was gay or that she was interested in you. Apologize for hurting her feelings because you didn’t want to kiss her.
Reiterate that you want your friendship with her to remain strong and that you felt it was important to talk about this directly because you don’t want anything to stand in the way of your bond. Ask her to tell you how she’s feeling. Encourage her to talk about her life. She may need to expand the conversation you have been having to include her romantic life as well.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 11-year-old son fancies himself an artist. In his school they have made all kinds of projects, and over the summer we sent him to an art camp to support his interests. The thing is that the camp counselors gave us, his parents, a report similar to what we already thought: He has limited talent. He is eager to work on whatever he is told to do, but so far his work is uninspired, even pedestrian.
Should my husband and I continue to act as if our son has talent, or should we be honest? I fear that in this world of the internet and gazillions of talent shows, we aren’t doing him any favors pretending he’s the next Picasso when it’s doubtful that he could even sell his work on the street. -- Not an Artist, Philadelphia
DEAR NOT AN ARTIST: I would not discourage him. Let him see his teacher’s reports so he knows how he is being evaluated, but also let him explore his creativity. Today it’s art. Tomorrow it could easily be something else. If he shows interest in other areas, offer to send him to a class so he can learn more about whatever that might be.