Dear Carolyn:

I have a group of friends--all in their late twenties. Only problem is: One of the girls constantly uses bad language in inappropriate situations. The other day she complained that so-and-so had "[expletive-d] up" something. I think it sounds really offensive and crass, and, quite honestly, it is embarrassing to me. Can I tactfully encourage her not to do that? I'm moving up in my career and in my friends, etc., and this type of behavior would NOT be looked upon nicely.

Is it possible we're just moving apart anyway? As I mentioned, I am moving up in career, education, new friends . . . she is stuck in a dead-end administrative job. I surround myself with fellow college/graduate school-educated folks . . . she fishes for friends in local bars and nightclubs, and ends up in dead-end relationships with high school grads and blue-collar workers. I suppose if one surrounds oneself with these types, one would start speaking like they do. But I still feel like a heel.

--Atlanta

Can't imagine why. Could it be that you're a total [expletive-ing] snob?

You're certainly welcome to request that she please not curse like a sailor. If she's crossing a taste line, she should know.

But, fiddle-dee-dee, she'll still have that nasty old job, won't she?

As no one seems to have mentioned, an excessive regard for moving up in one's career, education and friends is called "social climbing." If there's any salt in her earth, I promise you, your dead-end friend is just as appalled by you.

Dear Carolyn:

My friends and I have decided we are at the worst possible age ever: 20. Turning 21 is basically the last step in the whole "becoming an adult" crap. Now, I thought I was excited when I was legally allowed to buy cigarettes and have body parts pierced and/or tattooed, but the excitement has long since worn off. We're in the same bracket as people who are done with school and have those real jobs--but the one year standing in the way is a KILLER. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some crazy lush whose only goal is to be able to get in a bar. But I do feel like those bars are my only salvation because outside of them, all I have is the life I've been leading since I was 16. Somehow having a party when your parents are out of town doesn't feel as good. The whole ID thing is a bad scene; the terror gives me away whenever the bouncer looks at me. So please, give everyone my age hope. Tell us there's something for us at the precipice of "adulthood."

--Nine Months Left

I had a different precipice in mind.

The current drinking age is bogus, if you ask me, and the way our culture drags out adolescence does produce these freakish, too-old-to-be-too-young men-children at 18. But do you really think this letter advances the cause?

The last step in the whole "becoming an adult" crap is the ability to figure out that if your biggest problem is going to go away on its own in a few months, you're in pretty excellent shape. But if your "only salvation" is a bar, you've got quite a few more steps. Like 12.

Dear Carolyn:

Help! I'm 29, and started losing weight a couple of months ago. As the pounds continue to drop, so does the number of my female friends. I don't understand. They all have started being really nasty to me or giving me the silent treatment. Here's an example: I put on a skirt that I had not been able to wear in a year and a half, and this girl who I thought was my friend said, "I should dress like a slut like you so the guys will give me as much attention." Before I could respond, another girl asked, "Are you even wearing underwear?" Both of these girls wear miniskirts, short shorts and short tops all the time. I was so humiliated that I just ran out bawling my head off. I thought if I made improvements in my life that my friends would be happy for me.

--Girl With No Friends

Possibilities: Your "friends" chose you because you were a hungry hungry hippo who made them feel thin, and now you make them feel fat; or you're going overboard on the new bod, and they're sick of the vamping; or you were much, much too sensitive to a good old-fashioned hard time (though an extremely catty one).

Certainties: You're looking great these days--congratulations!; you are all way too old for this kind of petty sniping; your skirts are too short.

Dear Carolyn:

What's the protocol on discussing an ex-wife when dating someone new? It seems too fast for a first date, yet waiting seems dishonest.

-Va.

Mentioning one strikes me as a first-date prerequisite--but I'd flip the calendar once or twice before discussing one.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at 8 p.m. tomorrow or at noon Wednesday or Friday at washingtonpost.com/liveonline