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FRIEND CAN'T MEET BRIDE'S EXPECTATIONS

Dear Carolyn: I asked my best friend from law school to be my maid of honor. (It was a tough decision, as I have another close friend.) My MOH has never been a really outgoing, enthusiastic person and she is going through a really hard time now -- breaking up with a long-term boyfriend and moving home. I have been really supportive of her through it all, but she does not seem happy about her role or excited about planning anything.

I have taken on a lot of responsibility myself because of her circumstances, but I find myself getting more and more hurt and upset by it. Am I expecting too much if I talk to her about this and ask her to change and try to be happy? Or should I just kindly ask her to step down?

-- Unhappy Bride-to-Be
A: You're the bride, DEMAND that she try to be happy.

(Forehead bruising -- covered by workman's comp?)

Either you're "really supportive" about her "really hard time," or you're hurt because she has failed to make you you you a priority during it. You cannot have it both ways.

Two other things that can't coexist: a view of maid-of-honorhood that involves actual work, and my sympathy. Even if your friend weren't in distress, demanding anything of her would be like asking an honorary degree recipient to work up a defensible dissertation.

If she wants to throw you a shower, that's lovely, but also voluntary. The requirement is that she be there. Period. When you need your friends' help to run your wedding, your wedding is too big.

Driving to the point

Dear Carolyn: I've known my roommate a long time and lived with him for two years, without incident -- rare for roommates. However, he and my girlfriend of four years seem to compete for my attention and hold grudges against each other when they feel ignored by me.

My roommate recently got a new job and wants to move to shorten his significant commute, which can be done without making my commute longer. However, it will increase my commute to my girlfriend's from 40 minutes to an hour-plus.

He doesn't think there should be any question in the move, since it makes his life better and mine -- ostensibly -- no worse. She doesn't think I'm taking her into account and thinks I'm effectively abandoning her if I move. Urgh. My head hurts, how about yours?

-- Pete
A: Mine, too, but it's nothing you did.

Your friends' power struggle is a huge problem, but that's only because it has nothing to do with your problem.

The real is whether you want to move. (Or, whether you want to move.) It's up to you, the roommate or the room. Whoever loses will just have to manage from there.

Write to "Tell Me About It," c/o Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

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