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DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got into a big argument in my friend group that resulted in another friend and I isolating ourselves from one person, “Ruby.” Ruby lied to the rest of the group, claiming that my friend “Mary” and I abandoned her one night, when we dropped her off at her apartment after she repeatedly asked to go home. Mary and I were confronted by the group for leaving Ruby, and we were upset that she would create an issue when there was not one to begin with. Ruby then proceeded to call us terrible friends, so Mary and I decided that we needed space until she apologized for her manipulation. The rest of the group made up with her, but I am reluctant to continue our friendship. I know that we will be in the same circles, but I no longer trust her. What boundaries do you suggest I should set with her and our friendship going forward? — Friend Manipulation
DEAR FRIEND MANIPULATION: Since Ruby is going to remain in your friend circle, you want to be strategic about how you address her. Ask her directly why she lied about what happened. Listen for her answer, and challenge her if it doesn’t make sense. Be clear that you did not appreciate how she addressed the group — and you, in particular. Define friendship with her from your perspective.
If you continue to distrust her, keep her at arm’s length. You don’t have to cut her out of your life completely — which would be hard to do since she’s part of the group — but you can stop confiding in her and depending on her. You can begin treating her as peripheral to your friend group rather than part of your inner circle.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a junior in college, and I have realized this semester that I don’t want to be a teacher. After taking some counseling courses, I realized that I want to be a counselor instead. My dilemma is that I will graduate next year. If I change my degree now, it will be another two years before I graduate. I don’t know if I should just stick with my teaching degree to go ahead and finish my bachelor’s or change it. — Switching Degrees
DEAR SWITCHING DEGREES: If you can afford it, stay in school now and switch your degree. Get the academic preparation you need in order to begin your professional life. Many people change course during their academic years as it can take time to determine what path they want to follow. Do your research to ensure that you feel confident about your new decision. Work with a counselor to map out your course schedule so that you are as efficient as possible in completing your studies. Check to see if education can be your minor or even a double major, based on how many credits you have. Being able to fall back on an education degree is smart. You may be able to combine all of your academic pursuits into a hearty career.