DEAR AMY: I have two friends who recently broke up. Let's call them "Chandler" and "Monica."
My wife and I are having a housewarming/birthday party, and I invited both of them. They both would have been invited under any other circumstance, and though I certainly have my favorite (Chandler) of the two, we don't think it would be fair to exclude Monica.
Our group of friends is not the type to have frequent get-togethers, and this will probably be the only time this summer when everyone is at one place together. I warned them both that the other was invited so they wouldn't be surprised. Now, both Chandler and Monica have said that they would love to come, but only if the other one isn't there.
My temptation is to tell each of them that the other said yes, and let them work it out. But they're not speaking.
The only thing I can think of is to leave the situation as is and hope that neither one of them shows up out of hatred for the other.
— Won't Play Favorites
DEAR FAVORITES: You are learning the hard way that when friends break up, both they and their mutual friends will have to go through a transition in which the question "Who gets the friends?" will be decided.
Your method of handling this has these two potential guests basically canceling each other out.
The best thing might be to play favorites — a little bit — by inviting "Chandler" first. If he says he will come, then call "Monica" and say, "I want you to know that we've invited Chandler and he will be there, but we'd also like to invite you." If she feels uncomfortable, let her know you'll include her in another event.
DEAR AMY: Three days ago I broke up with my boyfriend of almost two years.
I'm obviously still very sad and upset, but I know I made the best decision for both of us, and I certainly will get over it at some point.
My question is about his mother. I'm going to miss her!
I feel that sometimes people forget that a hard thing about a breakup is the secondary people you lose.
I want to send her a note or e-mail expressing how much I valued her friendship and that although it has ended with her son, I want her to know that there are no hard feelings and that perhaps we can still keep in touch.
Is this appropriate, or should I accept that everything about that relationship is "broken" and move on?
— Missing His Mom
DEAR MISSING: Send a note. On paper. And keep it simple.
It should cover very basic ground; you could say how much you enjoyed getting to know her and how sorry you are that the relationship with her son didn't work out. Then you can say, "I'd love to keep in touch if you're interested."
Remember — please — that mothers love and are loyal to their sons like nobody's business. They don't always react well to the girl who dumped their boy.
But if this mother is someone with a mature, adult perspective, she'll look for a way to keep a cordial friendship with you.
DEAR AMY: When responding to the letter from "Just Friendship," from a woman who wasn't romantically interested in her morbidly obese friend, what led you to use the "elephant in the room" analogy in your answer?
It seems insensitive and really adds to this nation's already unbelievable bias toward overweight people. I'm disappointed that you could not have come up with something better than that to make your point.
Did you realize that the headline over your column would read, "He's the 'elephant in the room,' but she's not interested"?
Shame on you.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I don't know what I was thinking.
Well, I do know what I was thinking, but that's still no excuse. I apologize for an unfortunate pun. Individual newspapers decide on the headline over the column. I agree that it was also in poor taste.