DEAR AMY: I'm at a loss as to how to deal with my 16-year-old daughter and to teach her how to "play nice." She is stunningly beautiful but lacking in sensitivity and social skills needed to get along well with her peers. At her school, she acts rudely toward others. Her humor toward her friends reeks with sarcasm and can be very hurtful. She will only talk to a few people.
She has a small, tight-knit group of friends, but she is the source of constant drama. Her friends are tiring of her antics.
I have serious concerns about my daughter's future. I worry about her ability to hold a job and get along with co-workers and a boss, her ability to nurture a child, etc.
I try to provide guidance when I observe inappropriate behavior, but this is really difficult with an incorrigible teenager. I feel as if I'm damaging our future relationship.
It disturbs my husband and me to see our daughter treat others so poorly and to be disliked by her peers.
Should I continue to try to intervene, even if it means we get into a screaming match, or should I back off?
-- Not Giving Up
DEAR NOT: Don't give up on your daughter. She would benefit from spending time outside of her high school comfort zone. You and your husband should offer her the experience of spending time with people who are immune to her attitude because they've got bigger problems to deal with.
There are many service organizations giving young people the chance to help people in need in far-flung places, and also opportunities in your own community, through churches, shelters and hospitals.
You should sign your daughter up for volunteer service and insist that she follow through.
People who are socially aggressive are often (paradoxically) wounded and vulnerable. Your girl's drama is a smoke screen masking deeper conflicts.
A counselor with expertise in dealing with teens might help to crack her facade, giving you insight and giving her a new script to follow.
DEAR AMY: After more than a year of dating, I met my boyfriend's close group of friends for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday.
When we arrived, the group was gathered in front of the television. My boyfriend said, "Gang, this is (my name)."
Only the husband of the host couple introduced himself to me. His wife and the rest of the couples did not even acknowledge my presence. Needless to say, the next three-plus hours were awkward. This is a close group of friends.
I cannot determine if their lack of interest was because of the focus on the football game or if they just didn't like me. My boyfriend agreed that they were rude by ignoring me, but he refuses to ask them what they thought of me.
Should I give up on being chummy with his friends?
-- Super Bowl Awkward
DEAR AWKWARD: Super Bowl Sunday can be a terrible time to mix with new people because the focus is so splintered between people like me (obsessed with the artichoke dip and commercials) and those glued to the action of the game.
Your boyfriend did a poor job of introducing and integrating you into this group, and the group behaved poorly by not extending themselves to you.
I agree with you that this did not go well, but you shouldn't take it personally.
You've been given a tiny toehold into the gang. Be relaxed, move on and don't judge people until you know them well enough.
DEAR AMY: "Lost Lawyer" was concerned about an inheritance imbalance in his wife's family.
Why don't siblings who receive inheritances share them with others? When my mom died, she left me as a beneficiary on her financial assets, but not my brother, whom I know she loved. Without any further thought, I gave my brother half of the financial assets. It's easy to do, and keeps the love flowing.
-- Sharing Sister
DEAR SISTER: Unfortunately, many people are not as generous as you are.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org