DAME’s Friendkeeper raises a friendship red flag and helps a woman get out of giving business to a pal.
I have recently become fast friends with someone who I am really enjoying getting to know. But several friends and acquaintances have been taking me aside and warning me that she’s kind of nuts, but won’t elaborate further. I don’t know whether to heed their warnings since they’re being vague, or ignore them and assume they’re being catty. Or maybe I just proceed with caution. I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to watch for. I’m a pretty cautious person in general and not easily duped. But I don’t want to be foolish either. Women can be catty and jealous, but I have also had that experience where someone suddenly appears, comes on strong, and then disappears just as quickly and it can be as heartbreaking as romantic love, just, you know, platonic. So, what do I do? What would you do, Julie?
Don’t Wanna Be a Fool
I’m picturing this as a Saturday Night Live sketch, all the friends and acquaintances meeting you in back alleys to warn you that “she’s nuts,” but nothing more…. Nuts can mean a lot of things, like I consider someone nuts who forgets to eat lunch. Or makes a dinner reservation for 9 p.m. (a lot of my psychiatric diagnoses have to do with food not being eaten in a timely manner). I have several good friends who I might categorize as nuts of sorts (again the one that comes to mind does something weird with food, but I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s making me sound nuts). The fact is that all new friends should be handled cautiously (unless it’s Jennifer Aniston, then let her in full blast!). You don’t give new friends the keys to your apartment, or ask them to babysit your newborn and you shouldn’t share your deepest secrets, either. I don’t know what kind of people your friends are, but certainly if more than one person warned me about someone being nuts, I’d consider the flag red. My guess is whatever it is will be brought to your attention sooner than later. Maybe she’s going to try to get you to sit at a table on Broadway with a big caricature of Lyndon LaRouche, or maybe she’s a ranter—one of those people who goes on and on about how the world is so unfair to them and not other people—or maybe she’s a germaphobe who wears a medical mask on the subway. Basically, keep both eyes open and don’t let her talk you into giving up carbs.
I am in a pickle. We are about to sell my family’s farm in Oklahoma. This was where I grew up and my parents made their livelihood. There’s a lot wrapped up in this selling well and being done right because my parents need the most money they can get obviously and we’d all like that. My problem is my dear friend Lisa is a real estate agent—well that’s one of the things she does, she is really more of a dabbler. I love her to death but I’ve been with her when she got a work call and dismissed it because she was watching 30 Rock. She wants the listing and I’m afraid if I don’t give it to her she’ll never speak to me again and if I do and she screws it up, I will hate her and my parents will be out of money. I’ve spoken to one of the huge farm brokers here and I think she’s really the right choice, not Lisa.
They have a good lot of years left not to mention the farm is much more than a house.
Worried Farm Girl
Well, 30 Rock was a good show and maybe she didn’t have TiVo. But of course I see your point, Lisa’s probably a fun friend but you might not want her finger on the button of your parent’s future. This is a very tough call, I know someone who went through something similar; they did not use the friend and it did dissolve the relationship. That said, I know nothing about real estate except: Always Be Closing! But luckily for you I spoke to my great friend Mark Friedman, who is a top broker in NYC. My question to Mark was, How much do you screw yourself by giving Lisa a shot at the listing first and moving it along if she doesn’t do a good job? And as I feared, it’s bad. “With an investment of that size, you have got to have the best person right out of the gate,” he said. “Any length of time a property sits with no action is not good.” Let’s think of the farm like fresh corn—you don’t pick it at the right time, what happens? Get’s all yucky, right? See what I’m sayin’? So what I would do, in this case, is pass the buck. Tell her it’s really your parents’ decision and they are getting older and very scared about their future. You don’t have to go into detail about the great broker you found, just say that you are there to support your parents now. This is really important. My guess is that she’ll understand. If she’s not a tiger, she probably wouldn’t want the pressure of this big responsibility. Plus there’s a new season of 30 Rock on Netflix. (Everything always comes back to Alec Baldwin.)
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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