Rosanna Davison offers her advice to life's worries.
Q I've been going out with my girlfriend for about six months and I really like her. This will be our first Christmas together and I fell under real pressure to get her an amazing gift. She's a real girly-girl with very high standards and she's always going on about the great gifts her friends have gotten from their boyfriends. She loves designer clothes, jewellery and make-up but she's very picky and I'm terrified she'll hate what I choose. I've asked her to let me know what she'd like but she says that would ruin the surprise. Help!
Rosanna answers: I do feel sorry for boyfriends and husbands, as there is so much pressure and expectation placed on you, especially when girls compare their Christmas gifts with all their friends. Have you noticed her making any suggestions or hinting at what she'd like? If your girlfriend hasn't dropped any major hints about what she wants, then I suggest you enlist the help of her best friend. Ask for her advice and even arrange to bring her shopping with you if you can, although it would have to be a top-secret operation in case you're spotted by anyone you know and rumours are started. A really nice handbag, make-up set or piece of jewellery would make a gorgeous gift, but it would definitely be wise to ask for help if you're unsure about the brands and style she likes best. Don't forget to ask for a gift receipt just in case!
Q I've been friends with a group of girls since our school days. We're all in our late twenties now I'm starting to feel the friendship has run its course. The other girls are all still really close and see each other nearly every week - but over the years, due to work and family pressures and the fact that I lived abroad for a while, I've drifted away a bit and I feel like I'm not really in their loop any more. Now I only see them two or three times a year and I'm starting to dread those occasions. I think my presence puts everyone on edge. They are really nice girls but I'm not sure we're really 'friends' anymore. Should I just stop meeting up with them completely?
Rosanna answers: As these girls are really nice and you've known them for years, I think it would be a real shame to lose them completely. You may be feeling a little self-conscious or guilty about not keeping in touch with them as much as you would have liked, which is why you imagine the awkward atmosphere whenever you do meet up. But it's likely that it's only you feeling that way. If they didn't want you there, they wouldn't invite you! If I were you, I would try harder to strengthen the bonds of your friendship by arranging more regular get-togethers and making use of social media to chat to them more often, You could set up a Whatsapp group to allow you all to keep in touch too. It wouldn't take long to catch up with them and make up for lost time. It's worth putting in the effort with old friends.
Q I work for a big company and a group of us go for lunch together every day and generally have a good laugh. Last week in the office I overheard one of the girls slagging me off really viciously behind my back. Half an hour later we were all at lunch together and she was as nice as pie. It's made me really uncomfortable. Should I confront her and tell her I heard what she said?
Rosanna answers: It does seem odd for this girl to slag you so much and then be falsely nice to you, over an issue that you're not even aware of. But if you've never had a falling out, then I can only assume that she feels threatened and jealous of you. So the problem really must be her own insecurities. Since you have done nothing wrong and you don't deserve to be treated and talked about like this by a work colleague, I would absolutely confront her and be extremely firm in telling her what you have overheard. I would relish in watching her squirm with embarrassment. However, do make sure to remain calm and professional, so don't cause any sort of scene in the office. This is best dealt with privately, so that this woman is given a chance to apologise and explain her reason for being so mean about you, so that you can move on from the incident and hopefully return to normal.