DEAR AMY: For the last month and a half, I’ve been living in my car with one of my friends. I’ll call him “George.”

I am 20 and George is 19. At this point, I have a job and have saved enough money to get my own place. The only reason I haven’t moved into housing is that I have been waiting for George, who is like a brother to me, to save up money to pay for his half.

The problem is, he only works six hours a week, and he won’t save any money. I should mention that he smokes weed and most of his money goes for that.

He keeps promising to get a new job or work more hours, but there is always some excuse why he doesn’t.

I don’t know how to tell him that I’m tired of living in my car and need to move on. I don’t want him to hate me. — Sick of My Car

DEAR SICK: Congratulations to you for working so hard and saving your money for housing. Living on the margins is tough, depressing and exhausting.

It is also very challenging — and heartbreaking — to watch someone you care so much about choose to stay in a hole you have worked so hard to climb out from.

You are not helping George at all by staying homeless. Losing his sleeping place might be the only thing that persuades him to start to live his life differently.

You will have to do the tough thing here and say to him, “I can’t live like this anymore. I found a place to live and I’m going to take the car. You’re going to have to find someplace else to crash.”

You can go with him to a shelter if he doesn’t have anyplace else to go. A shelter administrator or social worker might be helpful; ask for advice.

He may ask if he can crash with you. Unless he can come up with the cash upfront, you should say no. Otherwise you are just transferring the problem to another location.

Obviously this is extremely difficult. You don’t want your friend to hate you. But you can’t help anyone (even yourself) if you stay in your car.

DEAR AMY: A couple who are friends of mine recently had their first child. She is about 5 months old now. I want to be a supportive friend, but I’m finding it nearly impossible to see them.

They have very strict scheduling rules (bedtime routine starts at 6:30 every night) and don’t seem to want to be “out in the world” too much. I find their behavior to be very isolationist and inflexible, but I don’t have children, so I feel I can’t say anything.

However, I have lots of other new-parent friends who do not behave like this, so I feel that they are being somewhat restrictive.

What should I do to handle this situation better? Am I just not being understanding enough? Can I tell my friends that their rigid parenting is straining our relationship? Help! — Stacy

DEAR STACY: Just as every baby is unique, so is every parent.

Some people have babies and it’s almost as if they don’t miss a beat, but many parents find that adhering to a rigid schedule makes their lives easier, and makes their baby’s behavior more predictable.

You should assume that this family is a work in progress, as all families are. They may loosen up as their child gets older.

I love your question: “What should I do to handle this situation better?” You could offer to bring dinner over to their house one night. Tell them you miss them and ask if there is anything you could do differently in order to see them more often.

DEAR AMY: You told “Dogged” that at her home, humans should come first. Your reply was painfully species-centric and inappropriate.

It is appalling that you would indulge a spoiled, badly behaved adult human to the detriment of a well-behaved and loving puppy. Tell that offensive aunt to grow up. — Dogs Have Rights

DEAR DHR: I agree that my orientation is species-centric. Everybody knows I prefer felines.

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

2011 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services