Dear Amy: I am very upset. I have a best friend, “Lizzie.”
Lizzie and I have been best friends since we attended daycare together, and now we are juniors in high school.
Lizzie has always been bossy. She wants things to be her way.
Lately, it has gotten bad.
Lizzie only hangs out with me and gets mad if I hang with other people.
So now it's always just the two of us.
But that's not the worst part. She has been trying to "jokingly" hold my hand and cuddle.
I don’t want this. I don't know what to say to her. I just walk away and make up an excuse to go somewhere else.
We're both girls, which is fine, but this is not me.
I am into guys. I don't want everyone at school thinking I don't like guys when they see us together.
She also gets mad when I am interested in anyone else.
I don't know what's going on.
Is she really just joking? Is she controlling?
Dear Uncomfortable: If “Lizzie” is isolating you and gets angry and jealous when you hang out with anyone else then yes, this is controlling behavior. This dynamic is not healthy for either of you.
It sounds as if Lizzie has always been the “Alpha” of the two of you, meaning that she dominates the friendship. Now that you’re older, this behavior is getting more extreme, perhaps because she senses or is afraid that she is losing control over you.
No one should touch or try to “cuddle” you if you don’t want them to. You must speak up. Be real and honest: “I don’t want to hold hands.”
You could ask Lizzie, “Are you joking when you do stuff like that, or do you have romantic feelings for me?”
If she says she is joking, accept that as her answer. You can add, “I definitely want to stay in the friend zone, like we’ve always been.”
You should also try to talk about your friendship. Tell her that she is really important to you, but that you also want to branch out and bring new people into your circle. Encourage her to do the same.
I hope you will be able to be honest and respectful toward Lizzie, but if her behavior intensifies and you’re worried about yourself – or her – you must go to an adult for help.
Crisis Text Line is a great resource for support: Text the word HOME to 741-741 any time and you will connect with someone who will do their best to help.
Dear Amy, I am disappointed to see you pandering to extremists by adopting made-up meaningless words like “nibling.”
As cute a word as it is, our language unites us culturally and regionally.
Please don’t be bullied into divisive language by new age political correctness.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dear Ann: Language is always changing and (to use synonyms employed through the last 100 years) I think this evolution is: capital, dandy, cool, awesome, rad, certified fresh, and dy-no-mite!
I especially like the term “nibling,” when referring to a sibling’s offspring. This word is not offered up by “extremists,” but seems to have bubbled up through the word soup, after swimming just below the surface for several decades.
According to Merriam-Webster, “nibling” was first coined by a Yale professor “… in the early 1950s but was relatively obscure for several decades before being revived in recent years.”
The word “nibling” first appeared in this column in 2014.
This term is helpful if you don’t know the gender, don’t want to designate gender, or are referring to a group of people in the “nibling” category. Compared to other detailed and inclusive descriptors, “nibling” is also an efficient space-saver, which is always welcome in a column with constraints, such as this one.
Dear Amy: “Big Tipper” said that if you can’t afford a 20 percent tip, you shouldn’t go out to eat – and you agreed!
Really, you are saying that I can’t ever go out to eat if I can’t give a big tip?
My waitress mother would rather have the joy of meeting new people for a minimal tip than have the restaurant close because there are no patrons.
No, it's not generous, its entitled.
– Ready to Dine Out
Dear Ready: A few people called this my Marie Antoinette moment, but in my opinion (having been a waitress), the joy a restaurant worker receives from “meeting new people” is cold comfort, compared to compensation.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.