Frenemies forever

Joey enjoyed Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky at Tower Theatre.

I have a co-worker who is a total frenemy. We socialize with a fun group of people after work, and I don’t want to lose those connections, but if I let anything personal slip or if I piss her off, she posts it on her Facebook page with a snarky analysis. I’m not into Facebook, so I didn’t even realize this until I overheard one of my neighbors reading it out loud, apparently to make sure I heard it while I was on the porch having a smoke. I have tried to talk to my frenemy, but she blows me off. How do I get her to stop broadcasting my business?

Withhold details of your personal life. Yes, that might mean you no longer hang out as often, or at all, with your co-workers. But, hey, Facebook is a gossip machine. You’re either talking about yourself (so others talk about you) or you’re talking about someone else (so others talk about them). It’s high school on steroids. Like Facebook, high school is sold as important for socializing. So even though you might “friend” someone, it’s no different than being a teenager and thinking a cute guy likes you because he let you cut in the cafeteria line. That said, I wonder why no one else in your after-work social circle has your back. A friend likes you, cares about you and shares with you. Please find some true ones.

My parents always fight about money, even late at night. It wakes me up since my bedroom is closest to theirs. They argue about moving and say there is no money for things my brother and I usually do, like club sports. I have some savings and wonder if I should offer to pay for it myself. Also, how can I help my parents? I’m afraid that they might divorce.

Recite these magic words: If my parents divorce, it is not my fault or responsibility. Don’t let your brother shoulder the blame, either. Arguing about finances is a symptom that your parents have failed to work as a team on financial issues. As a result, money now symbolizes everything that is, or ever has been, wrong with their lives. Wake them up by asking for a family meeting to explain how you feel: “I feel scared when I am jolted awake by loud voices arguing about money. I am afraid that you will get a divorce.” If your parents dismiss your concerns by telling you not to worry, be insistent: “I really think that our family needs help. Do we have health insurance that provides free counseling? Will you please go and learn how to communicate differently about money?” Your parents may refuse and, if they do, understand that it means neither really wants to change or improve their self-knowledge. But don’t hold that against either parent, and never use it as criticism toward them. Just learn to recognize those signs so you can avoid similar entanglements in the future.

When school starts, head to the counseling office and ask for help developing skills to handle your situation at home. In the meantime, try using earplugs at bedtime in one or both ears. It is also worthwhile to call your coach and ask for an itemized bill of all costs associated with the club sport that you play and dates that fees are due. Also, ask about carpooling options that do not include participation from your parents. If you have enough money saved to cover one year of club sports while keeping a healthy chunk of savings intact, and if your parents agree, invest in yourself. It will get you away from the house more often, and that might be a blessing.

Meditation of the Week

“Almost all family problems arise from a lack of communication,” says Shakti Gawain, a New Age author. What are you avoiding? Doesn’t love include honesty and challenge?