DEAR AMY: I have been friends with "Debbie" for more than 15 years — we are both in our late 40s. We recently started hanging out more after I got out of a long relationship. Debbie and I have fun and lots of laughs together.
We went out one night with a few friends. She invited a guy to join us. She hooks up with him about once a year for a "booty call."
He and I hit it off! He asked her for my number. I asked her, "Are you cool with this?" She said she was.
Now he and I have been together for about three months, and my friend is angry with me. She said I broke the "girl code" by going out with this guy. I think she is upset because he was not more interested in her — she always initiated their booty calls.
She is the type of girl who will use a guy to get him to pay for her dinners or buy her nice things, and this guy makes quite a bit of money.
I try to make time to hang out with Debbie, but she either blows me off or, the couple of times we have hung out, she drinks too much and gets on the same subject about how I broke the girl code and stabbed her in the back.
Should I continue to try to be her friend? He and I have talked about a future together. It's a really great relationship.
DEAR CONFUSED: Your friend's annual "booty call" does not activate the "girl code." She simply does not get to hold a guy on reserve — just in case.
But if you want to hold onto this friendship (and I wonder why you would), you might as well cop to violating the girl code and ask her to forgive you. You say, "I'm sorry about this and I know you're unhappy, but will you accept my apology and can we stay friends?"
After that, she does not get to bring this up again.
DEAR AMY: I wrote to you last spring about my daughter, a college freshman who seemed to be at a standstill as far as where her life was headed.
I explained that we tried to give her every opportunity — tutors, private school, etc. — to no avail and that she was taking a semester off to contemplate what she was going to do with her life.
You encouraged me to back off — you published several letters from others who suggested many solutions.
I wanted to let you and all of those other caring people know that she took a prep class, got an acceptable score on her entrance exams and began college as a freshman at a small nearby college.
She lives on campus, which is great for both of us, and she made the dean's list her first semester! This has given her immeasurable confidence in many other aspects of her life. I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your advice.
I did back off, and look what happened! Thank you so much!
DEAR PAM: I remember your original letter. You were working much harder on your daughter's future success than she was.
It is challenging to watch a young person struggle — even a little bit. But struggling is underrated; it often leads to change. Most important, your daughter owns her success. I congratulate her and thank you for the update. It's always nice to hear a success story.
DEAR AMY: "Lost Grandpa" was upset because his daughter-in-law didn't want to have children. He could look into a mentoring program.
For the past four years I have been a mentor in a privately funded program modeled after Big Brothers. There are no grandchildren in my future, and my "little brother" is a grandchild substitute. I cannot tell you how much joy I get from him.
— Proud of My Little Guy
DEAR PROUD: What a wonderful (and wise) way to channel your grandfatherly instincts!
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.