Right after my boyfriend and I bought a house, I was laid off. I'm working now, but to help make ends meet, we let friends rent our unused rooms.
Mostly, everything’s great. My best friend and her husband pay their rent on time.
The other renter, a guy friend of ours, usually pays up by month’s end.
But my girlfriend doesn’t have a job, yet can't keep things clean and tidy. Her children have no discipline or structure.
They’re ignored in the playroom all day while they destroy everything, including furniture and our brand-new washer and dryer. They’ve ruined our carpet. She doesn't even apologize.
The couple would rather buy games and fast-food than start saving. But they bought new computers, and receive government assistance.
The other guy has an attitude from the smallest things, and does even less around the house.
This arrangement is putting a strain on all our friendships, when all we want is to keep our home clean and our possessions in good shape.
We did clearly lay out our expectations and ground rules.
What should I do?
Feeling Used and Disrespected
Face the evidence - everything’s NOT great, including the quality of these friendships.
The money gained from renting is being lost on repairs. And you’ve seen the worst side of these people.
Check with your jurisdiction’s landlord/tenant act and whatever legal or verbal contract you agreed to.
It’d be wise to also pay for one session of legal advice about what rights these renters have when you serve notice.
You could try to help the couple with youngsters re-locate, and get your “best friend” connected to an agency that teaches parenting skills.
But if you don’t act soon, there’ll be no friendship left and you may still have them living in your home.
I belong to a group of three girlfriends. One is my best friend.
It's the type of group dynamic where we have to do everything together. But I'm not very close to the other two – they’re very self-centered and self-assured, offering unsolicited advice and shutting down other opinions. They’re not open to criticism.
I've tried to bring more friends into the group, but they've pulled away because they can't stand them.
I got engaged two months ago and it's been made clear that it’d offend the other two f I include my best friend in anything wedding-related, and not them.
I now have more bridesmaids than I’d have chosen otherwise.
I want to go wedding-dress shopping and am anxious about bringing those other two girls. I've already described what I want and they shut down much of it.
I worry that I'll love a dress and they'll make me feel bad about myself. I know my friendships with the others would be ruined if I didn't invite them along. Is there any way around this?
Yes. Only invite your best friend on the basis that she IS your best friend and everyone knows this.
Wedding-dress selection is an intimate event, since it brings your personal hopes and dreams into a task that’s otherwise about varied tastes and opinions.
You don’t owe these already-difficult women a chance to put down your choice.
Even if they’re “offended,” it’s a better result of your decision than letting them make you miserable.
I’m hoping that marriage will also help you take a closer look at the pressure you feel from this problematic “group,” and enjoy more time on your own with your BFF.
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenager who was skipping school (April 10):
Reader – “Three years ago, my son, a top high school student, skipped one month of classes before a teacher called me, worried.
“When my wife and I asked him what happened, he initially lied.
“He finally said that one day after school he’d seen a van with marijuana plants on it.
“The drug-dealer showed his gun and threatened that if he told anyone, he’d be killed. He warned that he has friends in the school, and he should stay away for two months.
“We helped him analyze the situation – that dealers are mostly afraid of enforcement and hope to keep you quiet.
“My son’s one-month absence showed enough. Our suggestion: Don’t respond to an obscene gesture from anyone unknown at school, and avoid eye contact.
“Come straight home after classes except activities in the school.
“After he graduated, we moved to another city.
“He’s now a third-year university student.”
Tip of the day:
With very difficult “friends,” change their opportunities to upset your life.