DEAR AMY: I am a 17-year-old gay male, and I was raised in a Latter-day Saints family. A few months ago, I came out to my close friend "Renee." She took it well, and she continued to ask questions about my being gay in a Mormon family.
She later told me that keeping my sexuality a secret because of my religion was "taking the easy way out." I was very offended, but I patiently explained to her that living with this secret is anything but easy.
Since then, she has continued to make similar comments, and I cannot bear her negativity anymore.
I have tried to ease out of this friendship, but it has proven difficult because we are involved in the same activities and work together as board members for some clubs.
As I prepare to come out, I would like to only be surrounded by people who love and support me. How can I move out of this friendship? — Want to Exit
DEAR WANT: The best way to move out of this friendship is to (metaphorically, anyway) have your bags packed and the car idling, as you back away slowly and then basically beat feet down the driveway.
Eventually, and in retrospect, you may find this sort of busybody interference about your deepest motives endearing on some level because, well, "Renee" has really put a lot of thought and theorizing into your personal life. She cares, way too much.
The way to end a friendship is to stop sharing intimacies and behave politely when you are forced together. If she questions this, tell her that you don't like her second-guessing your motives about something so deep, personal and important.
When you are ready to come out, you will. It would be nice to be only surrounded by loving and supportive people, but life doesn't always work that way, partly because the Renees of the world are out there throughout your life. If they cannot be avoided, then they must be endured — at least every five years, at your high school reunion.
DEAR AMY: I've been dating a guy for a year and think the world of him. The problem is that I don't like his teenage children at all. They are rude and disrespectful to me.
He sees them once a week and every other weekend, and I try to make myself scarce during those times.
They try to control when he sees me by refusing to come over when I'm at his place, and manipulate him at every opportunity through guilt and tears. We were going to live together, but I chose to get my own place so I could have a bolt hole from that stress.
I want to be with him but can't handle the games the kids play. My things go missing when they are there; my fish died coincidentally during their visit; they complain about me and totally ignore me and my child.
He won't hear one negative word about his children; he thinks they are angels. They aren't.
Is there hope for this relationship when the kids are trying hard to sabotage us? — Don't Want BS
DEAR BS: There is no hope for a full-time relationship. Furthermore, it is a challenge to understand how you can "think the world" of someone who is such a terrible parent and who obviously has no interest in blending your families peacefully together. This is completely fixable, but not without a commitment on his part to at least try.
You might think that all of this will settle down once the kids get older and leave the house, but it won't. In fact, this negative dynamic will get worse because the adults involved refuse to deal with it now.
DEAR AMY: "My Office Problem" felt bullied by a scent-sensitive co-worker who always blamed her symptoms on her. I don't think she realizes how horrible this affliction is. For instance, Problem reported putting lotion on at 5 a.m. and doubting that this bothered her co-worker at the end of the day.
This is completely possible! — Also Scent Sensitive
DEAR SENSITIVE: Absolutely. But the dynamic between the two co-workers had become more toxic than the scent sensitivity.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)
By Amy Dickinson