DEAR AMY: A couple of years ago, my best friend confessed she had "those" kinds of feelings for me.
Though I cherished her more than anyone, I wasn't ready for a romantic relationship with her.
About six months later she wound up with a partner, and the two of them are contentedly together.
Meanwhile, I have realized that I had feelings for my BF all along and that I made a mistake in shrugging her off.
In case my BF doesn't stay with her partner forever, I want her to know that if she were still interested in me, I'd like to be with her.
I don't want my BF to think I'm not an option.
Is it bad form to let her know how I feel while she's still with her partner?
DEAR CONFUSED: Read Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (or watch the wonderful film version), and you will be reminded of the "rules" regarding confessing your feelings and encroaching on someone else's relationship.
In polite society, people with integrity don't interfere with other people's romantic relationships.
However, even in Austen's time, this sort of personal integrity presented challenges — while at the same time unleashing simmering romantic tension.
Split the difference between declaring yourself outright and doing nothing.
Ask your friend how she feels about her current relationship. If she expresses a version of "I'm still waiting for you to come around," then tell her you regret rejecting her previously.
Let her figure out what to do about it.
DEAR AMY: Recently I met a very nice woman, and we became friends. She is terrific, and we get along great.
We both have families with toddlers.
I am very proud of my family. My two kids, one toddler and one teen, are both very well-mannered and well-behaved.
My husband has a great job, and we have worked hard to maintain a beautiful home.
My friend's toddler is extremely badly behaved, and when he comes to my home, he breaks things and damages my property, and the parents do nothing to control him. They let him run wild, and I am the one running after him to make sure he does not destroy my home.
The father is rude, ignorant, has no idea of the world outside his living room and is the most obnoxious person we have ever met.
My husband made an effort to be friends with him to help our families get along because I liked her a lot, but he has no patience to do this any longer.
We have tried to embrace this friendship, but we are at our limit as to what we can take, and we cannot bear the thought of having them come over to our home again.
Should I ditch them altogether, or shall I limit the friendship to meeting her outside our home for coffee?
— An Avid Reader
DEAR READER: Perfect friendship fits are very rare. One great thing about having kids is the fact that children bring all sorts of people together. This doesn't mean you have to get along, however.
You don't need to throw out the babies with the friendship bathwater.
Just confine this relationship to you, the other mom and your kids at the park or at Gymboree.
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to the mother who was concerned because her daughter's coach was sending multiple text messages to the daughter each day.
I'm a coach of a track team.
I have a pretty good idea of the obvious concerns parents have, so while I often wind up driving kids to or from events, it's always with parental permission and with other kids in the car.
And after particularly good races, when they come running back across the field in celebration they get a hug ... but always in public.
The coach who sends multiple texts each day to a girl simply isn't fit to work with kids. If he doesn't recognize that his actions are not appropriate, the mother needs to let him know.
— Concerned Coach
DEAR COACH: Anyone who works with kids should respect the very important boundaries adults must maintain. And if a coach or teacher does not maintain those boundaries, parents should intervene.