Q: My girlfriend keeps her nails super long, and I don’t like it. It seriously turns me off and grosses me out. She knows I’d prefer her nails shorter, but this has been her “thing” for a long time and I don’t think she gets that it’s really repulsive to me, to the point where I can’t imagine staying with her if they’re not cut. Am I being extreme about this?
If they were this deal-breakingly hideous to you from the very first “hello,” I’m wondering how you ever started a relationship in the first place. Did she wear gloves?
If she really doesn’t get how unattractive they are to you, you might try to be more honest with her. (Hint: A diplomatic “I have trouble getting past the length of your nails sometimes” is much better than “You sicken me.”)
But let’s do a reality check about this relationship. The wording of your letter is telling. You didn’t ask me how you can learn to live with the talons of the woman you’re madly in love with. Instead, you said you can’t imagine being with her if the nails aren’t cut. Honestly? Sounds like Nails: 1, Strength of Your Couplehood: 0.
Q: My closest friend just got a devastating cancer diagnosis. There’s a chance she will beat this, and if anyone can fight it, she can. But I’m so thrown and stressed and saddened by this I don’t think I’m being a good friend. I keep thinking about her young children and her husband and my own potential loss of her. I’m finding it difficult to be there for her when I’m so sad.
Be honest with her about not knowing what to say and how it’s affecting you – “I sometimes don’t want to show you how sad I am about this.”
But it’s simply not fair right now for you to burden her with your pain.
You deserve your own support, whether it’s from your family, other friends or through counseling.
For now, focus on what you can do for your friend and her family: cleaning out her fridge, grabbing dinner, taking her kids to a playground. Those tasks are the unemotional nuts and bolts that will keep you present physically when you can’t quite be there for her emotionally. And keeping up with this stuff will prevent you from retreating into your own pain and failing to be the friend you want to be.