Q: My ex just got married to a really cool woman, and I’d like to get to know her better. We’ve known each other through mutual friends for several years. But other friends have told me that given my history with her husband, I should keep my distance, especially since I’m now single. I think that’s all ancient history, though, and not all women are threatened by their husband’s ex. What do you think?
A: You refer to him as just your “ex.” But where are the minimizing conditions? (“Our relationship wasn’t serious/ he’s been a friend much longer than he ever was a boyfriend/ our dating consisted only of middle school lunchrooms.”) This suggests to me that maybe your friends have a point. Yes, a single ex-girlfriend wanting to start a ladies-who-lunch sisterhood with the new wife can make some people uncomfortable. And what’s her stance toward you? Following the other person’s lead is important when starting any friendship. If this is a one-sided pursuit, put on the brakes and give the newlyweds some space.
Q: A friend of mine is sugar-sweet in person, then always takes a disrespectful jab at something I post on Facebook, or shuts down a viewpoint of mine very rudely in a text. I’m usually conflict-averse, but I occasionally can really fly off the handle, and it’s almost like she’s trying to bring that out in me. Then she acts like it’s all fine when we see each other.
A: She’s either messing with you, or she’s truly tone-deaf about how her digital communications are coming across. Either way, a conversation – in person – is warranted. Explain the problem (“I was hurt after that text you sent the other day”) and let her respond. If she plays Ms. Hunky-Dory in person again but her behavior doesn’t change, call her on it digitally. If nothing improves, consider cutting out the digital portions of your friendship, or decide that she’s unworthy of being a friend in real life as well.