DEAR ABBY: My beautiful, kindhearted, loving daughter "Cora" has a "best friend" she used to be very close with. However, her friend now has a boyfriend, so Cora doesn't see her on weekends or receive texts from her very often anymore. Everything they plan to do together, the girl cancels. My daughter is so distraught that it is affecting her emotionally and physically.
Cora has told her friend many times how she feels, but it has made no difference. Her friend promises her things and never follows through. My daughter suffers from social anxiety, so making a good friend is a rarity for her. I tell her I love her and that I'm always here for her, but although Cora sees a therapist, nothing seems to comfort her.
The school she attends stops accepting new students after ninth grade, so there is no chance of her meeting anybody new. We have tried having her join other activities, but they don't last. I'm desperate to help her. Any advice? -- BROKENHEARTED MOM
DEAR MOM: If you haven't already, talk to Cora's therapist. There may be a medication that will help to lessen her intense social anxiety, or she may need a different therapist.
What's going on between your daughter and her former best friend isn't unusual. When romance intervenes, it is common for teenage girls to focus their attention and energy on the boyfriend and less on their girlfriends. Expecting this girl to be your daughter's sole support system is unrealistic and unfair to the girl.
Because it is unlikely that Cora will find new friends in the context of school, continue to find outside activities that will give her something to do as well as contact with other teens. And, if Cora is open to it, you might consider having her volunteer at an animal rescue group or letting her adopt a pet from a shelter.
DEAR ABBY: A friend sent me a sample line of face care products from a company she works for. She included a lip balm I used, and sunscreen that contains a chemical to which I am allergic. I offered to send that sample back.
When I researched the ingredients of the other products, I was dismayed to see that they contain many chemicals, too. (I try to use organic products as much as possible because I have sensitive skin.) Should I return the whole unused sample kit? I obviously can't return the lip balm. Or should I just thank her and keep -- but not use -- them? These are high-end products from Europe, and she has been so "wowed" by them that she has become a consultant and is excited to promote them. -- RETURN TO SENDER?
DEAR R.T.S.?: Talk with your friend and thank her for her generosity, but explain that you are unable to use the products. Ask if she would like the unused products returned to her and take your cue from her. If she has had to pay for the products she's representing, she may be glad to have them back to share with others.
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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