By Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I recently met a girl I really like. She just moved to the city for a job, which ended the relationship with her longtime boyfriend. We get along great, but she has told me she is not ready to date. Since she doesn't know many people, I want to be her friend as she acclimates to a new town. However, I don't want to be seen only as a friend and not as a potential boyfriend (we've had a conversation about this). Any advice on walking this tightrope?

Boy Friend, Not Boyfriend

Yes. Don't worry about it, because you're not walking a tightrope. The idea that you can engineer romance is a myth. Sure, you can manipulate this situation or that conversation -- but then all you get is someone who had to be manipulated into liking you. Lucky you.

Please, just be yourself; follow the good precedent you set by being transparent about your motives. It'll either happen with her or it won't.


My daughter is getting married. She and her fiance have everything they need for their home. Is it okay to ask for money instead of a gift? If it is okay, how do we word this?

Stumped in Texas

"This is a shakedown. We don't want stuff, we want cash, and lots of it, so we can enjoy the spoils of life to which we feel entitled but otherwise couldn't afford."

No, it is not okay to ask for money. They are fortunate to have what they need. If they'd like to celebrate that good fortune, they (through their families and wedding party) can inform guests who specifically inquire about them that the couple has requested no gifts -- or they can provide information for a favorite charity.

Dear Carolyn:

I had a baby three weeks ago and two friends whom I have always been there for (breakups, bad jobs, moves) haven't called or e-mailed once to say, "Hi! How are you?"

One just broke up with her boyfriend and has been "reclusive" (her words).

Is it selfish to care that I haven't even gotten a quick e-mail?


Obviously not. You've undergone one of the biggest life changes there is, and so a quick hello isn't much to ask.

It's such a glaring oversight that there must be a reason for it. I'll try to hit all the possibilities: They're not as close as you thought; they're bad friends (who've probably never reciprocated much, now that you think about it); they don't like you; they're angry at you; they don't get what a big deal it is to have a newborn at home; they get that it's a big deal but don't know what they're supposed to do so they're hiding from you; they see your good news as underscoring the badness of their news and they aren't mature enough to stand up and rally for you anyway.

If you still care to be friends with these people, at least long enough to hear them out, then tell them that you're feeling hurt and that it might be because you had a baby three weeks ago and you could really use some friends.

Their responses to that frankness will give you all the answers you need.

Oh -- and congratulations!

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