Dear Amy:

My nephew just graduated from high school. Because of his negative attitude about school, his poor performance and his many weeks of absences because of drug treatment, my sister and her husband were relieved that he did graduate.

He did not want any of the family invited for a party, nor did he want any gifts.

Do I still send a card with a monetary gift or a gift certificate?

Thanks for your advice.


It sounds as if this young man has been through a lot, which makes his graduation meaningful in many ways. He might have been embarrassed at the way his school career went; celebrating would have reminded him of his many failures and might not have felt quite right.

It would be thoughtful to send him a card along with perhaps a DVD of a movie you think he would like (he might enjoy "The Graduate"). Don't send cash.

Let your nephew know that you realize that things were rough, but say that you're glad he gets to start this next phase of his life.

Remind him that you appreciate and enjoy him. Offer him your encouragement. Every graduate deserves that.

Dear Amy:

I am a 15-year-old girl who just finished with my freshman year in high school.

I've had a friend, "Betsy," since I was in sixth grade.

Betsy recently revealed to me that not only is she a lesbian, but that she is in love with me. She has told a few of her other friends, but hasn't come out to her parents. They are Catholic, and she fears they will not take it well.

I made it clear to Betsy that I wasn't angry with her (it isn't her fault), but I didn't return her affection. I like guys.

She accepted that and hasn't brought it up again.

The problem is that whenever I think about it, I get nauseated. I don't feel comfortable around her and don't really want to see her anymore, but I value our friendship enough to know that I'm being stupid. It's not that she is a lesbian -- I have plenty of friends who are. It's just that she's in love with me.

What should I do?

Ill in Illinois

You seem to be assuming all of the responsibility for your discomfort, but don't you think that Betsy should assume some responsibility as well? I mean, when your best friend hauls off and hits you with "I'm in love with you," there's bound to be discomfort.

I hope that you and Betsy can talk about this. Then I hope that you and Betsy can laugh about this.

Laughter will chase your nausea away.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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