I have a neighbor I used to be close with, growing up in the same apartment building, but we grew apart when we got older. I want to rekindle our friendship, but I have no idea where to start. We have taken vastly different paths in our lives and lack any common ground. He doesn’t seem to be very sociable nowadays, and our small talk has been trite. How can I get him to open up to me so we can be friends again?
— Friendly Neighbor
Dear Friendly Neighbor: It is natural for some people to grow apart as they grow up and their lives change. This doesn’t mean that either of you did anything wrong. It could simply be that your lives have naturally evolved in different directions.
Since you are missing the camaraderie you once shared with your neighbor, you may want to say as much to him. Instead of allowing the trite, superficial conversation to become the norm between you, tell your neighbor that you miss him and wish that you could rekindle a friendship again. Invite him to hang out with you, and see what happens. You may want to start by asking him questions about his life and what he has been doing of late as you share details about yourself. See if this gesture leads to more space for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company again.
Dear Harriette: I recently learned that my 18-year-old daughter and many of my daughter’s friends — both male and female — use the dating app Tinder.
They have told me that Tinder can be used in different ways, it is a good way for young people to make friends and they are cautious and verify people on social media before meeting them. It still concerns me. Is this just a generational difference, or is it something that I should be concerned about?
— Tinder Skeptic
Dear Tinder Skeptic: It can be frightening for parents to think about how our children are finding dates. When it comes to online dating and apps like Tinder — especially ones that originally, anyhow, were used to find sex partners — it can be hard for a parent to step back and watch the experience unfold. Yet there is not a lot that you can do.
Remind your daughter about your values. As far as dating in general and via this app, she should remember that it is important not to put herself in unsafe situations with people she doesn’t know. When first meeting a potential date, she should meet in a public space. Though she may feel she has the right to do whatever she wants with her body, remind her that her body is a sacred temple, and she should not allow just anybody into that temple. If she continues to treat herself with respect and honor, she will create space for others to treat her the same. When her friends are around, I would repeat these principles. Your daughter may not like you spouting off about your beliefs, but at least you will be sharing your truth.
As much as you may not want to accept it, there is a chance that sexual activity may be involved at some point, so you should also share the importance of safe sex practices.