DEAR AMY: I'm a 15-year-old girl with a predicament. One of my closest friends, "Laura," is sexually active.
I think she has been practicing safe sex, but I'm not sure. She hasn't made her mother aware of this part of her life.
Normally I would just step back and keep in mind that it's Laura's life. I can't make decisions for her, and it's certainly not my place to inform her mom, but Laura's mom, "Betsy," is also a friend (not to be confused with a mother figure).
Betsy is very open with me and more than once she has said things like, "I'm so glad that Laura hasn't had sex." As Betsy's friend, I feel as if I should say something, but as Laura's friend I feel that I should keep my mouth shut.
I really don't want to ruin my friendship with Laura, but her mom needs to know about this. How should I handle this?
— Conflicted Friend
DEAR CONFLICTED: You strike me as a preternaturally grown-up 15-year-old, so my first suggestion is that after tackling this issue you should join the field hockey team at school.
You really should have the opportunity to be a kid.
Tell the mother that "Laura" is sexually active.
I can only hope that this mother chooses to be a mom rather than a best friend and cares enough to get involved in her daughter's life to make sure she is making safe and healthy choices.
Laura will feel as if she has been "busted," and she might be angry with you, but this will last for about 4-1/2 days, or until she needs you for something, whichever comes first. You are being the best kind of friend there is.
I give you credit for seeing this behavior as risky and for wanting to do something about it. Good for you.
DEAR AMY: My best friend loves sushi and has hosted several sushi parties at her home. Because of the cost, she has asked her guests to contribute money on each occasion.
These events are always "all you can eat," but each time she hosts a party the cost goes up.
The first time it was $10 a guest, but then the sushi was purchased at a more upscale restaurant, so it cost $20.
At the last party, she had a professional chef come to her house and make the sushi, and the cost was $40.
At each party, I declined to take part in the sushi eating and simply ate whatever free snacks were available.
As the parties progressed, there was less and less other food available, and at the last party there was one plate of chips and dip.
I have always been taught that it is rude to charge people for food at parties and that if you cannot afford a certain food, you should serve something cheaper.
What are your thoughts?
DEAR OFFENDED: I agree that it seems strange to charge people to be guests at your home, but rather than attend these parties, decline to pay the fee other guests pay and hang out by the chips bowl, perhaps you shouldn't attend.
Alternatively, you could bring a dish that you and other guests could eat at a heavily discounted rate — or, yes, for free.
It sounds as if your friend could be running these parties as a business, charging people for sushi and pocketing the profit.
If you are offended by or can't afford these gatherings, then you shouldn't go.
DEAR AMY: I am responding to the letter from "Concerned Mother," who didn't want strangers to touch her baby.
As a child-development specialist, I am also drawn to babies and toddlers.
When people want to touch her baby, I'd advise the mom to say, "Thank you for noticing, we think she's wonderful too. But please look, don't touch."
If the person is persistent, walk or push the cart the other way or say, "Babies are fragile; please don't touch. We prefer folks to wash their hands and ask permission before handling our baby."
The young mom is not rude. She is empowered to protect and advocate for her child.
DEAR DEB: I agree that the mother's job is to be the primary gatekeeper for her baby.
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