Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend and I have been together for three years or so, and while things are great, we do not see eye-to-eye on a few things.

Her friends tend to be great, until they get high — and then I find it tough to be around them. It's been pretty much a rare thing, so I just absent myself.

Our state has legalized marijuana effective Jan. 1, and my girlfriend and her friends are all very excited about it. Of course, I am much less so, and the discussions we've had about it have been unproductive.

I hardly want to issue a "weed or me" ultimatum — and I am not even anti-weed. I am just anti- the banality of the discussion that these otherwise decent, fun people devolve to when indulging, and my girlfriend does not share my disdain of banality, I guess.

I don't even know what question to ask here, except I either have to accept the stupid as a regular thing or break up with my girlfriend, right?

— Anti-Banality

Anti-Banality: If it becomes a regular thing, then, yes. It might not.

It also doesn’t have to be a weed thing per se. If they were all drinkers and you find it boring to be around shouting buzzed people when you aren’t buzzed, or if they were all gamers and you find it boring to stare at a screen for hours, or if they were all art connoisseurs and you just like to spend your free time watching a ballgame, then you’d reach the same crossroads as this one: Is this how I want to spend so much of my limited time on Earth? Yes/no.

Thinking about it this way keeps you out of the whole judging-not-judging morass, too, which I encourage at every opportunity.

Dear Carolyn: I don't want anything for my birthday. I don't want my wife to do anything. She wants to make a cake or other dessert for me, but wants me to choose a recipe. I don't want it.

I know I am coming off as a Scrooge, but I would really prefer not to even acknowledge the day. It's not a milestone birthday, I just don't want anyone to make a fuss over me. Is this one of those things where the birthday person doesn't get what they want, but needs to let others celebrate?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: I think this is one of those things where you say to your wife, is there a reason this is so important to you? And you listen carefully.

It is also one of those things where I hope she then asks you, is there a reason it’s so important to you? So that you can both listen to each other and decide whose needs it makes the most sense to meet.

But she hasn’t asked me so I can only hope she comes through for you.

The obvious answer: It’s your birthday and you don’t want cake so there’s no cake. I’m resistant, though, to anything that treats adult birthdays as some kind of law. Better to identify the subtexts, trust each other, then make the call — and use your veto power only as a last resort.

And, um, happy birthday!

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