Dear Amy:

I have a male friend I talk with almost every day, either in person, by phone or through instant messaging. We've known each other for more than four years, and there isn't much that we don't share.

We even offer advice on our dating lives. We have a long-running joke; he always says that we should just get married -- we're perfect for each other.

I always rebuff all of his joking advances. Lately I have found myself wanting more than just friendship, but I am terribly afraid of ruining our amazing friendship. I'm just not sure how to go from joking about dating to actually doing it.

We've even hypothetically discussed the idea, and he came to the conclusion that it would probably go down in flames.

Is it worth the risk, or should I be content in our friendship?

More Than Friends

Is love worth the risk?

Gee, I don't know -- is tobogganing down a snowy hill at full speed worth the risk?

Of course it is!

Love is nothing if not risk, followed by reward, followed by more risk, followed by ice cream.

Okay. Sometimes there is pain involved. Sometimes the risk-taker loses control at high speed. But life without these experiences would be a steady march of not-that-interesting.

You go from friendship to dating by bringing it up as a topic, sharing your feelings about it and deciding to take the plunge.

Watch the movie "When Harry Met Sally" for courage. Raise this subject with your friend. Make a pact to always be friends, and keep your promise -- even if things get strange or confusing.

Dear Amy:

This is in response to a recent letter from the young man who wanted his girlfriend to embrace Judaism in order to be with him. I am of Jewish extraction and met a darling young man who is Catholic. He desperately wanted a Christian home. I began to read, study and attend church services with him. I wanted to be just the wife he dreamed of. Then we attended Easter services.

I came home from church that day with a migraine. I thought that if I couldn't be a Christian, he would leave me. My little boy asked him, "What's wrong with mommy?"

He came into the living room and said, "As long as your mother believes in peace, truth and love, there will be nothing wrong. If we can agree to the Ten Commandments and the golden rule, we'll be fine."

We talked about religion for the next several months. The outcome? We have been married for 18 years. We attend a Unitarian fellowship.

He says a rosary and wears a beautiful Irish cross that I had made for him. I wear a gold star that he bought me. We celebrate all the holidays, both Christian and Jewish, and we seek commonalities in the traditions.

Let love lead the way, and give peace and respect to those around you.

Connie Hood

Love is the answer. And we know that for sure.

Dear Amy:

My husband will be celebrating his 50th birthday very soon. He would like to have an intimate gathering, inviting only his two brothers, two very dear friends of his and their wives. Here's the problem. I think it's important to invite my sister and her husband also. I think my sister will feel hurt. My husband says if I insist on inviting my sister, then I'm making this party about me, he won't have fun, and he will call his brothers and friends to cancel, sooner than have my sister there. None of us has ever excluded in-laws at a celebratory gathering before.

What do you think?


How old is this guy? He needs to start his second half-century by acting his age.

All the same, this is his gig, and he should have the party he wants to have. You don't have to explain this exclusion to your sister and her husband -- let your husband handle it.

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

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