DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is super picky. My mother is Thai, and she makes many Thai delicacies whenever I have friends over. My other friends eat -- and enjoy -- my mother’s food. However, this one friend refuses to eat it or says it’s disgusting.
I have tried numerous times to find certain foods that my friend may like, to no avail. At this point, whenever I have her over, I have to order food instead of eating my mother’s home-cooked meals. I know my friend is picky, but her reactions to my mom’s food are a bit rude. I love my friend, but she can be such a handful when it comes to food. What should I do? -- Picky Friend
DEAR PICKY FRIEND: Your friend is rude, and her behavior is unacceptable. If she cannot find a way to be more gracious about eating your mother’s food at your home, stop inviting her over. It would be one thing if she were allergic to the food your mother prepares, but that’s not it. She just doesn’t like it.
Think about your mother. I’m sure it hurts her feelings to know that you order food especially for this person when she visits your house. Don’t insult your mother by giving in to your friend’s eating peculiarities. Instead, spend time with her elsewhere. You can let her know that you will not be inviting her over to eat anymore because the cuisine is not to her liking and you refuse to allow your mother to be insulted anymore.
DEAR HARRIETTE: This is the start of a new semester in college without one of my good friends. I met him my freshman year, and we have been almost inseparable ever since. He recently transferred to another school to complete his major, and it has been different ever since. We used to talk every day when we were in school together. Now my friend is working long hours at his job, so it has been hard for us to properly hang out. I miss spending time with him. He always listened to me whenever I was in trouble, but now it feels different. I want him to live his life, and I support him all the way. I just feel like I am missing my second half. I still have many friends at my school, but I feel lonely without him. Is there any way to describe how I feel? Is it OK to feel this way? -- Lonely Half
DEAR LONELY HALF: Just as your dear friend is pursuing his degree at this other institution, you need to refocus your lens on your future. Of course you miss him, but you cannot allow your emotions to derail your dreams. Remind yourself of what you want to do with your life. Outline the steps that it will take to manifest your desires. Write them down so that you can check them off each day.
Beyond that, look around. Notice people who share common interests with you. Step out of your comfort zone and try to make new friends. Nobody will replace your friend who has left your school, but you may be able to cultivate a new friendship that helps to ease the loneliness that you feel.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)