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Dear Francie: I just got engaged and already drama is taking over my wedding. I was popular in high school and ran around with the "mean girls." I'm not proud of the way I treated people, but I'm different now. I want my three best friends from high school (I'll call them Brittany, Star and Kara) to be bridesmaids. Kara has really changed, but Brittany and Star are still mean. They make fun of people and are rude when we go out. The problem is I have two other friends (Maria and Kristi) that I want to be bridesmaids. We graduated from college in May and want to stay close. Maria and Kristi, however, are the type "mean girls" love to torture. I invited them to my apartment for dinner, and it was a disaster! Now, Brittany and Star say they won't be in my wedding if I keep Maria and Kristi. My friends from college say they will quit because they don't want to cause trouble. I know this is so high school, but I really want all five girls at the wedding!


February 2011

Dear Margot: You are right about one thing: this is so high school! I have heard stories of adult women who were "mean girls" in high school who just get worse with age, so I know it happens. The question is, are you still a "mean girl?" You don't refer to yourself as a "mean girl," but I am guessing you are at least guilty by association. Now you are a college graduate and an adult. It's time to start acting like one. I am wondering why you would even want girls like Brittany and Star to be in your wedding? It sounds like you are just looking for trouble. Maria and Kristi sound like the type of young ladies who would be great bridesmaids. Kara has apparently grown up and would probably be great if she has the guts to stand up to the other two. Save yourself trouble and future regret, and let the mean girls cause trouble somewhere else. Tell them Maria and Kristi are important friends and will be in the wedding. If they choose to drop out, I figure you've dodged a bullet. If they choose to stay in the wedding, be ready to stand up to the high school bullies.

Dear Francie: My wedding is in two months, and I have no idea how to handle this embarrassing problem. My mother is a kleptomaniac. She has a history of stealing and has been in jail several times. She is supposed to be taking medication and seeing a counselor, but she never follows through. My family does everything they can to cover up for her, but I have no idea how to keep her under control during my wedding! I have talked to my father about it, and he says he will keep an eye on her. But there is no way he can watch her at all times during such a huge event. My fiancé wants to hire a private investigator to watch her. I don't want to humiliate my mom, but if she stole something from one of my guests I would die! Please tell me what to do!


Wedding Date: August 2010

Dear Shelia: I'm sorry you have to deal with such a difficult situation so close to your wedding. But you are right: It is a serious issue. I must admit, I think your fiancé's idea to hire a P.I. is not half bad. Of course, you would need to speak to the investigator at length about how to handle the situation should he see your mom take something. For instance, should he notify your father and let him take care of it? A lot of weddings hire security, so he could come in dress clothes, and you can refer to him as security. In the meantime, I would do everything I could to get the family involved in convincing mom she needs to see her doctor and take her medication. Kleptomania is a real disorder requiring treatment. If you can get your mom to the doctor now, there are two months to stabilize her before the big day. The most important thing is to have a solid plan in place so you don't spend the day worrying your mom took Aunt Beatrice's pearls! Good luck.

Dear Francie: My great aunt recently died, and I have always hoped to inherit her engagement ring, but I don't know how to bring up the subject with my great uncle. My boyfriend and I are hoping to get engaged soon, but we can't afford a ring. My great aunt's ring would mean so much to me. We were very close, and I think it would make my own engagement more special. There are no other females in the family who would be in line to inherit it, but I just don't know how to bring the subject up with my uncle. They were married over 50 years, and I think it would be so nice to carry on the tradition. Any advice? Gloria

Wedding Date: TBD

Dear Gloria: When someone we love passes, it is often hard to talk about material possessions. I have seen some major fights between family members over small items. Sometimes it is easier to argue over sofa cushions than deal with the pain of losing a loved one. However, if there are no other females in line to inherit the ring, I see no reason why you shouldn't talk to your uncle about it. Keep in mind that he may have an idea where or with whom he wants the ring to be, so you must be ready to respect his wishes. He may want to keep it for comfort. Explain to him that you have always admired the ring and feel it would be an honor to wear it as she did for so many years. Make it clear you love him and respect any decision he makes. Then let it go. He will come to you if he decides it is yours.