Dear Julie: Advice About Social Poaching and a Friend’s Alcoholic Ex

DAME’s Friendkeeper tackles the nuances of friend stealing, and how to help someone whose former drink-happy husband is still her kids’ drunk dad.

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Dear Julie,

Two years ago I got engaged and have been really happy about everything in my life except one thing: One of my closest friends has been, well, kind of stealing my other friends. Like, she makes plans with my friends without me. I know I’m spending a lot of time with my fiancé, but it’s not like I don’t notice that everyone’s hanging out together without me. I feel embarrassed to even to admit this. I’m not in grade school but I really am hurt. What do I do?

Signed 4th Wheel


Dear 4W,

Tell the teacher on her! Then later put a snake in her locker. Okay, seriously, what’s going on with you two? You mentioned that you got engaged, sometimes people, even yours truly, go a little cuckoo with theyselves when there’s an engagement. Could that be you? Maybe not. Maybe you’re fine and your good friend is just feeling like you’re bonding with someone new (said fiancé) and she wants to ensure that she won’t be alone. All of these things are possible and worth discussing and could be totally subconscious. Now, I will give you a little free bonus tip from The Friendkeeper Files. Whenever I introduce friends to each other who I think might get along I say, “Now, you may not go off and be friends without me.” And then they laugh HA HA HA and I say, “I’m not kidding. No shopping trips or going out for a drink after work.” And then their smiles fade and they think, “Gee, I like Julie but she’s a little bit intense, maybe I don’t want to be friends with her or this other person.” And then everyone’s happy! So that’s it. God bless.




Dear Julie,

Do you tell one of your BFF’s that every time you talk to or see her ex-husband he is drunk? Or do you leave it alone because she probably already knows that since she’s divorcing him because he’s a drunk? Seriously with this guy. The only time I told her was when I found out he was driving his kids around while wasted. 

Sober & Confused


Dear S&C,

Yikes. I believe since she’s divorcing him because he’s a drunk means she knows he’s a drunk. That said, your concerns regarding her kids are very valid and alarming. If he is indeed this seriously alcoholic, she must have been and be going through hell. I have had many friends in this position. Your kids want to spend time with their dad, you want them to have good feelings about him, you’re actually worried about their safety aside from the fact that he’s not dependable and reliable…and it’s all on your shoulders. If it’s something you’re comfortable talking to her about, then I would offer your help and support with all she needs to do. That’s what being a good BFF is all about.




Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.

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