DEAR ABBY: I belong to a group of friends who mostly come from the same country. We get along well and occasionally spend time together. We communicate primarily via text in a chat group. Every now and then I get messages from them – mostly greetings or conversations about general things, but nothing personal.
Since I’m an introvert, I’m comfortable with the level of closeness we have right now. I don’t long for deeper connections with them and I’m happy with the way things are. When I have the opportunity to get together, I try my best to see her for dinner or other activities.
In a few weeks we are planning an outdoor activity that requires an overnight stay. I’m not thrilled about it. It makes me nervous to think about spending so much time with people who aren’t my family. I don’t mind eating lunch and chatting all afternoon, but being with them for more than 24 hours feels like too much to handle.
I tried to indicate that I wasn’t interested by saying I didn’t have any equipment for the activity. Now I’m under pressure to leave because they suggested I use their equipment. I really don’t know how to say I don’t want to go without seeming antisocial. Please help! — EQUAL PRESSURE
DEAR PEER PRINTERS: Everyone is different. Not everyone is an extrovert and can handle the excitement of being around other people for long periods of time.
If you were to accept the invitation, would there be a way to spend some time alone to recharge? If you could, it might solve your problem. However, if the answer to this question is “no,” be honest. Tell your friends the truth that you have to skip this trip and why.
DEAR ABBY: My 12 year old daughter has a friend who she has been “dating” for about eight months. They are not sexually active and only see each other socially a few weekend days a month, but they FaceTime each other every day. As far as I know, they are also attached to the waist during school time.
My concern is the length of this relationship. When I was her age, I remember having a crush on a different boy practically every week, and one boyfriend didn’t last long. Is it healthy for her to be in such a serious relationship? She is a very social person, has many friends and is active in sports. Part of me wishes they would break up so she can experience other relationships and not be tied down at such a young age. What do you think? — TWEENS MOTHER IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR MUM: I think that the fact that your friendships ended soon after you were your daughter’s age doesn’t mean that her friendships will (or should) do the same. Best friendships can last years and even decades. Let your daughter mature at her own pace and resist the urge to interfere.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and created by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.