Dear Wanda and Wayne,
I am a 28-year-old woman and share a condo with "Laura." I own the condo and Laura answered an ad for a roommate. That was more than a year ago and since then we have become really good friends. We still have our own social circles but we do a lot together. Sometimes she comes out to meet me for drinks. Which is how Laura met "Bob."
Bob is one of my best friends -- maybe my best friend. He is my sounding board when I am having man problems, as I am his when a woman is driving him crazy. I lean on Bob for advice more than any other friend in my life. We spend lots of time together. Please believe me when I say my friendship with Bob is purely friendship. I've never once thought of us crossing that line. But I love him like a brother and he's very important to me.
So here's the problem: Laura and Bob met. They totally hit it off and he got her number and asked her on a date. I am freaking out. Sure, for now they are both happy. But what happens when it goes south? I told them both the idea of them dating makes me super uncomfortable. They both basically told me that I'm jealous. Maybe that's part of it. I am worried they'll become closer. But I'm more worried they'll have a horrible breakup and then he won't want to come hang out and she won't want him at the house.
Am I overstepping? Overthinking? Help!
-- Third Wheel
Wanda says: At the end of the day, Bob and Laura are grown-ups who will do what they want. The most you can do is try to express your thoughts and concerns, but you can't stop them from dating. Speaking frankly, while they both sound like significant people in your life, they may be more interested in finding a significant other. After all, what is it people aspire to find: a soul mate and life partner, or a platonic buddy?
That's not to say you shouldn't share your opinions. Speak with them separately, and explain your misgivings. Tell Bob how important he is to you and that you're worried your friendship could be altered if he starts up a relationship with Laura. As for Laura, explain you're concerned the happy home dynamic could be irrevocably altered.
My guess, though, is that even if this is awkward for you, they'll give it a shot. Finding someone who truly interests us is hard. So try to be happy for them. Sometimes it isn't about us. And hey, if things get really messy at home with Laura, you can always evict her.
Wayne says: Crazy times at the condo, eh? Look, you've been best friends with a boy long enough to know you can't introduce boys into any equation and not expect them to do things that boys do. Like picking food from your plate without asking. Like giving you big, embarrassing, lifting-you-off-the-floor hugs in front of everyone. Like being attracted to your friends and hitting on them.
Then again, Bob isn't exactly a boy and you and Laura aren't exactly little girls anymore. You're all in that late-20s transition phase -- time to start getting your own places, settling into your careers and finding partners. And with that transition come friendship changes. Roommates moving out, friends leaving the state for jobs or love interests, a wedding every other month and so much more fun. Oh, and just wait until your closest friends start having kids -- you'll never see them again until you have a child of your own!
All you can do is share your feelings (which you did), stay out of the way, and remain a good friend to Bob and a good roommate to Laura. That's what a grown-up would do. And if you truly care about Bob as a best friend, be happy for him and wish him the best. Or at least warn him if Laura is nuts!
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.