Dear Abby: My close connection to my best friend bothers my girlfriend

Reader struggles to reach a balance between a great friendship and a new relationship.

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DEAR ABBY: My best friend of a few years, “Leia,” and I are very close. We were basically a unit, spending every day together. But now I have a girlfriend, “Kara.” She’s a mutual friend of both of us.

Kara and I have been together for only a few months, but I already care about her very much. I don’t want things to change. The problem is, she’s jealous of the connection I have with Leia, and Leia feels ditched, like I’m not spending enough time with her.

I know the conventional advice is to dump one or the other, but I care about them both too much to lose either one, and I need to find a balance instead. How do I go about having a best friend and a relationship at the same time? — PULLED IN TWO DIRECTIONS

DEAR PULLED: Start by telling Kara that if you wanted a romance with Leia, it would have already happened, and that your friendship with Leia is important to you. Then tell Kara you care about her and feel there could be a future with her, but ONLY if she’s able to control her jealousy and insecurity where Leia is concerned.

After that, explain to Leia that you care about your friendship very much and don’t want her to feel neglected, but now that you have a girlfriend, you have less time to spend with her than you did in the past. Then cross your fingers.

DEAR ABBY: From the time I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be helpful. If people asked me for favors, no matter how small or out of the way they were, I was always happy to help. Recently, though, I have been noticing that when I ask for help in return, there are very few people I can actually rely on.

I know a lot of people consider me naive and gullible because of my willingness to help, but I have reached the point where I don’t want to do anything for anyone unless they’re sincere about their friendship. How do I politely show them I’m not as clueless and naive as they think I am? — FRUSTRATED AND ANNOYED

DEAR FRUSTRATED: You don’t have to be confrontational or unpleasant. Accomplish that goal by being less helpful — FAR less helpful — to those who don’t return the favors you bestow.

DEAR ABBY: We are planning our daughter’s wedding and trying to figure out how to politely ask the groom’s mother to help with the finances. When is the best time, or should I ask the groom to do it? We don’t think he wants to ask her. — QUESTIONING IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR QUESTIONING: Have a “truth session” with your daughter and her fiance. If the wedding they’re planning is too rich for your budget, it is important to make it plain now. As to who should ask his mother to contribute, that question should come from your daughter’s fiance, after which a conversation may or may not begin with your soon-to-be in-law.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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