Romance According to Kate

Ostler, Kate

Dear Kate,
Thanksgiving vacation is quickly approaching, and I’m unsure whether or not it’s a good idea to bring my boyfriend home to meet my parents. How can I be sure that things will go smoothly?
-Vexed About VisitingDear Vexed,
The holiday season is a notoriously hectic time of year, and the pressure to keep up appearances when dealing with family members can often intensify any stress. Make it clear to your boyfriend that if he does go home with you for a few days, he ought to be on his best behavior. This means keeping his dirty jokes to himself, refraining from audibly burping at the dinner table, and laughing politely at all of your dad’s jokes. Your parents will likely be more relaxed when they realize you’ve brought home someone who seems classier than Kevin Federline. Ease into conversation about your boyfriend’s interests, classes he’s taking, his own family, etc. Be sure to paint a good picture right off the bat. Also be certain you’re clear about sleeping arrangements before you head off to bed. The winter air may leave you a bit chilly in bed by yourself, but Mom and Dad may not tolerate your boyfriend keeping you warm all night. Above all, appear confident and proud of your guest, and your parents should catch on and help make it a relaxing, fun break from school.

Dear Kate,
I am good friends with two people who very recently broke up on unpleasant terms. It’s difficult to remain diplomatic and not take sides, especially when one starts verbally bashing the other. Am I supposed to choose one friend to stick up for? Help!
-Stuck in the Middle

Dear Stuck,
This is a tough situation to find yourself in. First of all, tell each friend how you’re feeling about their breakup, and let them know that although the two of them may place the blame on one another, you don’t want to get involved. Let them both know that, although they may be feeling hurt due to the split, you don’t want it to cause any more drama in your respective friendships. Second, don’t allow either of them to use you as the middleman in any passive arguments or disagreements between them. Your duty should not be as mediator, but instead as someone who will do your best to listen and be around when they need you. When discussing the breakup, give each friend your honest opinion and try not to spin your thoughts around in order to suit either person. As for any verbal bashing, let your friends know when enough is enough. Neither of them should put you in a place where you feel uncomfortable or angry about what’s being said.