DEAR ABBY: I am in a group of friends who are mainly from the same country. We bond pretty well and occasionally spend time together. We mostly communicate by text in a chat group. Once in a while I get messages from them — mostly greetings or chats about general stuff, but nothing personal.
I’m an introvert, so I’m comfortable with the level of closeness we have right now. I don’t crave deeper connections with them, and I’m happy with how things are. If I have the chance to get together, I do my best to see them for meals or other activities.
In a few weeks, there is a plan for us to do an outdoor activity that requires an overnight stay. I’m not excited about it. It makes me nervous to think about spending that much time with people who are not my family. I don’t mind having lunch and chitchatting all afternoon, but being around them for more than 24 hours feels like too much to handle.
I tried hinting that I’m not interested by saying I don’t have any equipment for the activity. Now there is pressure for me to go because they suggested I can use their equipment. I really don’t know how to say I don’t want to go without seeming like I’m antisocial. Please help! — PEER-PRESSURED
DEAR PEER-PRESSURED: Everybody is different. Not everyone is an extrovert and able to handle the stimulation of being around other people for an extended period of time.
IF you were to accept the invitation, would there be a way you might manage some alone time so you could recharge your batteries? If you could, it might solve your problem. However, if the answer to that question is no, be honest. Tell your friends the truth, that this is one excursion you will have to pass on and why.
DEAR ABBY: My 12-year-old daughter has a girlfriend she’s been “dating” for about eight months. They’re not sexually active, and they only see each other socially a couple of weekend days every month, but they do FaceTime with each other every day. From what I can gather, they are also attached at the hip during school hours.
My concern is the length of this relationship. I remember when I was their age I had a crush on a different boy practically every week, and boyfriends didn’t last long. Is it healthy for her to be in such a serious relationship? She’s a very social person, has lots of friends and is active in sports. Part of me wishes they would break up so she can experience other relationships and not be tied down at such a young age. What do you think? — TWEEN’S MOM IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR MOM: I think that because your friendships ended after only a short time when you were your daughter’s age does not mean that hers will (or should). Best friendships can last for years and even decades. Let your daughter mature at her own pace, and resist the urge to interfere.
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.
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