DEAR AMY: My friend "Michelle" and I have known each other since birth and we are very close. She has been in a relationship with "Ted" for the last three years, but they are unhappy.
Lately, Michelle has started meeting her ex-boyfriend for dinner or drinks, and she lies to Ted and tells him she is with me instead.
Michelle has done this several times. She always calls beforehand to tell me not to answer my phone if Ted calls.
I covered for her once, and felt extremely uncomfortable about it.
Ted and I aren't close friends, but lying to him made me feel awful. I tried telling this to Michelle, but she seems to have forgotten our conversation because she did it again last week.
What should I do?
— Frustrated Friend
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Evidently, your friend Michelle suffers from situational amnesia.
This is a serious condition that causes sufferers to use, abuse and lie to their friends and then, conveniently, forget any conversation having to do with their behavior.
The best treatment for this is for you to speak slowly and carefully to your friend, spelling out the consequences if she ever does this again.
Here's what you say: "I am not going to be involved in your deception, and if Ted happens to call me and asks me where you are, I am going to tell him the truth. If you want to lie to him, that's your business, but I'm not going to lie."
DEAR AMY: I have two children, a boy, 12, and a girl, 8, and we are constantly involved in sports. My son has friends over to the house frequently.
However, none of the girls my daughter knows seems to want to come over.
Neither of our kids is ever asked to their friends' homes.
Could you please let me know how I might find out why people prevail upon us when they need their kids to stay at our house? Could you help me figure out why my daughter does not have any friends?
This really bothers me. My daughter gets really upset after calling up to five friends and they don't answer or return her calls.
— Lost Mom
DEAR MOM: Your daughter and your son might have very different temperaments. What works best for him might not be suitable for her, but because he is older and serves as a model, this sort of social interaction is all she knows.
You might hold the key to changing the dynamic of your kids' friendships. If you know and enjoy some of the parents from their school or sports teams, these parents will prompt their children (certainly the younger set) toward spending time with your child.
Befriending other parents will also enable you to ask them to pick up your kids from practice now and then and entertain the kids in their home.
If your daughter has social challenges, her teacher might help you identify ways to assist her. She also needs to learn that it isn't necessary for her to have lots of friends, but one good friend.
Girl Scouts or a mother-daughter book group will give her chances to build relationships along with you.
DEAR AMY: "Caught in the Middle" wondered why she should let an out-of-state relative offer her a referral to a local real estate agent.
As a realtor, I have been on both sides of agency referral and it has been rewarding and successful for all parties.
When receiving a referral from an "out of area" agency for a buyer or seller, the real estate agent is honored by being chosen and works very diligently to make a successful transaction.
It does not cost more, you get great service and you have cemented relationships.
Truthfully, I would never feel the same about a close family member who did not accept my offer to do a referral when they sold their home in a distant state.
— Agent in Illinois
DEAR AGENT: "Caught" said she already knew several local agents, and though I still wonder why she would offer this business to her relative for a service she didn't need, I appreciate your explanation.