herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Dear Rosanna

Why are new college pals bitching behind my back?

QI've just finished my first year at college and I've never had so many friends before or felt so popular. The past few months were a revelation to me, as in school I was hardly invited to anything. So as our exams ended I was looking forward to job hunting and socialising for the summer months with my new circle of pals, until I overheard two of them chatting about me in the ladies.

They were having a giggle about how overweight I am and how having me 'on board' for nights out only served to make them look better, plus that I was so laughably grateful to be included in everything that I was a total lap dog. I'm devastated. My instinct is to walk away, cut all contact and just go it alone from now on.

A It's such a shame to hear of how cruel and fickle these people have turned out to be. You must feel terribly let down by who you thought were your friends.

You're a young student and deserve to enjoy your time in college as much as possible and I don't think you need this group of so-called friends in your life.

Plus, you will have a very difficult time trusting in them again and you will always wonder what their real opinion is of you.

My advice is to cut contact and move on. It's your choice about whether to admit you heard them speak about you, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to let them know.

College is a wonderful opportunity to be yourself and get to know like-minded people with shared hobbies and interests. I suggest you join some societies and groups. Just be yourself and you will easily attract people you like and respect you for who you are.

QDo you think that people say what they really think when they are drunk? My boyfriend can get maudlin and talk about how he's not good enough for me and being with him is holding me back. He's not a big drinker, but it has come up about five times in the couple of years we have been together.

A part of me is afraid to tackle the issue when he is sober as I am really scared that he might break up for real. We do have a loving relationship and enjoy hanging out together.

I have always been happy with the way things are -- until his doubts started to make me think that maybe he is right.

AI think that alcohol does enable the truth to emerge to a certain extent. It lowers people's inhibitions and social etiquette, but they also tend to overemphasise and exaggerate problems. So while this is something that has obviously been on his mind, it doesn't appear to be serious enough for him to deal with in the sober light of day.

So my advice is to pay little attention. Once you're happy in the relationship, there's no point in letting this minor blip ruin the two years invested into it. Unless he brings it up while sober, your best bet is to ignore it.

QI'm single and happy to be that way. The problem is that I am now in my 30s and my parents and other relations seem overly concerned about my status.

I have a son from a previous relationship and I am kept busy and fulfilled with work and friendships. I've always batted away 'would you not like to settle down?' questions tactfully but, being a grown-up, employed, tax-paying single mum, I am starting to get very annoyed at these questions, which I would never dream of asking. How do I put my foot down once and for all?

AYou have every right to live your life as you please and you're fully entitled to remain single if that's what makes you happy.

Though I suspect that those around you have only your best interests in mind, it's nevertheless a personal and pretty offensive way to show they care. I think it's time to toughen up. Rather than avoiding answering awkward questions, you must explain firmly that you are in control of your life and are perfectly content with how it's going. Your son is your primary focus and that's how it will remain if and when you decide to move into a relationship. Make sure they understand that this is your life and your choice.

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