Dear Short Answers >> I recently discovered that several people who I thought were good friends turned out not to be. They have gossiped and lied about me behind my back and have made some pretty hateful comments. Do I confront them and try to "clear the air" or do I chalk this up to experience and keep my distance from them in the future?

— Hurt and Angry

DEAR H&A >> Sounds like these folks are a waste of time. You made a mistake in choosing them — don't make it worse by investing more.

Three is crowded

Dear Short Answers >> I have a female friend who is in her early 70s, very attractive and in excellent health. We try to have lunch together at least once a week. She recently decided, however, that she wants to find a "boyfriend."

I think this is great (for her), but she has started to bring her "dates" with her when we have lunch. She says she feels more relaxed than if she had to go on a date by herself. I am happy for her, but I have to tell you, some of these dates are total losers and they completely spoil what used to be a very nice weekly lunch with a friend. Should I flatly refuse to let some loser ruin our lunch together or should I let this whim of hers burn out on its own?

— Out of Patience

DEAR PATIENCE >> Tell her that if she is old enough to date, she is old enough to do it un-chaperoned.

Worries in the 30s


Dear Short Answers >> I'm 31 years old and I have a good job. I don't hate it, but I don't love it. Should I quit and try to find something that really is exciting? I feel like I'm moving through life in second gear.

— Half Empty

DEAR HALF EMPTY >> We get it — everything is okay, nothing is great. Rarely does a job change alone add the acceleration you are looking for (unless you have a yearning, burning passion for something you haven't yet mentioned). Look at all the pieces — your relationships, where you live, your hobbies, etc. — and see where you need improvement. Building a technicolor life can be about small changes in many areas.

Full disclosure

Dear Short Answers >> I moved in with my boyfriend so we could both save money, but this hasn't happened. What should I do? I kinda hate to mention it, but I don't know where the money is going.

— Dollars and Sense

DEAR D&S >> Hopefully, you moved in together to progress your relationship, not just to save money. But the fact that you feel you can't discuss it speaks volumes. The first step is a budget and some agreements about who pays what and how much you want to save. If you can't do that — move out.

The longing in long distance

Dear Short Answers >> I have been in many long-distance relationships lately and don't know if it is healthy not to have someone physically close to talk to. Do you think I am making a good decision?

— BJ

DEAR BJ >> Long-distance relations have some advantages, but day-to-day comforts are not one of them. If you find you feel lonely and isolated most of the time, then perhaps you should find someone closer to home.

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