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Al Veoli: When Youth and/or Youth in Retrospect Can Be Trouble

Al Veoli

Dear Al Veoli:

My friend is always asking me to go to the mall because it's cool to hang out there. But I have juvenile arthritis and I get pretty achey just walking around for hours on end. What do I say?

-Mall Rat

Dear Mall Rat:

This is a situation in which you have to weigh your options. Is it better to go to the mall, walk around for hours, and subject yourself to pain (which I assume is not only during the trip, but also the next morning), or, do you want to sit down and have a reasonable conversation with your friend, explaining your situation? Al Veoli is sure the two of you can compromise. Perhaps you can still go to the mall, but not walk around for an endless period of time. Have a set time limit before you go, and be sure it's what you can handle. If your friend is a friend at all, she'll understand.

Dear Al Veoli:

I have this old friend who I used to be in love with, basically, except that we were both always dating other people, and I think it was love based more on deep friendship than anything else. Anyway, this person is now a mess. He drinks way too much and he hangs out with awful people. We don't keep in touch anymore, but I'm concerned about him and still care about him a lot, even though I don't know why. Should I try to talk to him?


Dear Sigh:

Al Veoli understands that this situation is tricky. Certainly there are some people in everyone's lives, or most people's lives at least, who occupy that odd place--we care very much about the person, but aren't in touch with the individual. Al Veoli advises you to act carefully. If you really carea bout the person and think that he's headed down some sort of destructive path, maybe give him a call. See if he wants to hang out. Then you can take things from there. It might be that he's very happy with his life, in which case he doesn't want you meddling in something that isn't your business; or, it might be that he's displeased with his current existence and is thrilled to be talking to you again.

Dear Al Veoli:

Someone I really don't like is getting married this summer, and I'm invited. This woman and I are very different. She's slept with almost every guy on the rugby team where we live, and even though she's engaged now, she still acts as if she wants to jump my two older brothers! I don't really want to go to the wedding, but some of my good friends will be there. Plus, I don't want to cause any friction between me and anyone else involved. What should I do?

-Dramaless Queen

Dear Dramaless Queen:

Al Veoli understands your predicament. Sometimes the friends we grew up with are far from the sort of friends we willingly choose now. The pickens in elementary school can be slim, as we all know. But people grow up and should be able to make their own decisions, based on their own value systems. If you don't agree with this person's ethics, do both yourself and her a favor and don't go to the wedding. You owe it to yourself and refraining from hypocrisy; if you complain about her morality, you shouldn't ask her to pay for your plate, etc, at her party. It's her day of celebration, and weddings are expensive; Al Veoli is sure she'll understand if you politely bow out, saying you have a family engagement.

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