Ask Amy

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 10:45pm

DEAR AMY: I fly about three out of four weeks per month. I am a small person, 5 foot, 3 inches tall and weighing 112 pounds.

I recently took a flight where the man sitting next to me weighed at least 250 pounds.

There was an armrest between us that I had put down when I sat down, and when he came and sat in his seat next to mine, he put it back up. Therefore, there was no boundary between his seat and mine. This gave him more room because he was able to overflow into my seating space.

This left me very uncomfortable, as I had to lean away from him the whole flight because he had taken up my unused space in my seat.

I was unable to find a polite way to tell him I preferred the armrest down.

I knew he would either not fit in his seat or be extremely uncomfortable in his seat with the armrest down. However, I paid for my seat and don't feel that I should be uncomfortable the entire flight to make someone else more comfortable.

I know this will happen again, so what should I do?

— Frustrated Flier

DEAR FRUSTRATED:
Your options are to ask a flight attendant if you can switch seats (they are often able to accommodate this request after boarding is complete), or to say to your flying companion, "Could we please leave the armrest down during the flight? Thank you."

The other solution is to nestle in, let your head slowly drift onto your partner's fleshy arm and do your best to catch a quick nap.

This sort of inconvenience is unfortunately common when you're flying, and whether it is a fussy baby across the aisle or an overly large seat partner, sometimes you just have to put up with it and hope for better luck on your next flight.


DEAR AMY: I am 21, and have been going through a rough "break up" with one of my best friends.

No one seems to understand how this could be so painful for me, so my other friends have little sympathy.

I am still angry, and I feel as if I hate her, but at the same time I really miss her.

I have already apologized to her, but have received no apology in return, which is one of the main reasons we stopped talking.

I know enough about life to understand that sometimes people are never going to apologize, but it is still so hard to get past it.

I am scared to say anything to her because I'm worried about rejection. I have other difficulties in my life right now, and rejection from one more person may be more than I can take.

Amy, because of this and other events in my life I have been in counseling for months and I cry every day.

I am set off easily, and I don't think I could even talk to my "ex-friend" without a lot of tears, and that would be embarrassing.

Should I try to mend the friendship? If I decide to, how should I go about doing it?

— Former Friend

DEAR FRIEND:
I completely understand how painful this sort of "break up" can be — and it can be all the more painful because a friendship rift is not commonly understood to be as painful as a failed romance.

But it is.

You are depressed. Use your counseling sessions to talk about this issue. Express your anger and hurt — and strategize about ways to cope.

A book you will find helpful is When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You, by Jan Yager (Fireside, 2002).


DEAR AMY: Your response to "Jan," who was wondering how to split the cost of a vacation condo, was terrible.

In this age of computers and spreadsheets there is no excuse that you can't figure out the cost per person per day. I know because I have done that for years when my friends and I go on vacation.

We calculate per-person and per-day expense, and it isn't a problem for anyone going because they, unlike you, don't think that just because they are a couple they shouldn't have to pay for their full share of the expenses!

Shame on you for thinking married people shouldn't pay their full freight.

— Irritated Single Person

DEAR IRRITATED: I suggested calculating the cost per bed, but many readers disagreed.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles