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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. I am a high school junior and I have a friend, “Emory,” who still acts like she is a raging hormonal and ignorant 12-year-old. She takes my things and draws inappropriate pictures on them, and all she talks about is boys, sex, and boys again.

To make matters more complicated, Emory is racist. I am biracial. My skin color is quite fair compared to that of my sister. Emory often makes fun of me because of my skin color.

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At first, her remarks were mild, but now, every day, she makes some kind of racist remark directed toward me and other races. I often tell her to stop and say how mean she sounds, but she laughs and keeps at it.

My feelings are always hurt, and I am tired of the comments. How do I back away from this relationship without bluntly telling her that I don’t want to be friends anymore? I know I should’ve just backed away a while ago, but it’s hard.

A. If you are nervous that “Emory” would retaliate or make life unpleasant, then you could start by avoiding her. She will likely confront you, and you will have to tell her that you’re busy with other things and you two are moving in different directions.

I’d like to make a pitch for the truth, however. This is when you convey a very simple, easy-to-understand statement that leaves no room for interpretation. You say, “I don’t like your racist statements. I’ve never liked these things you say and I should have told you earlier. But now I feel like you’re just someone I don’t want to be around.”

Prepare yourself for the possibility that she will accuse you of not having a sense of humor or of taking things too personally. Your response can be, “I have a sense of humor when things are funny” and “I take these things personally because they are personal.”

Q. My boyfriend and I dated for about two years, live an hour apart, and have met most of each others’ friends and family. We are both in our 50s and divorced.

Quite frankly it has been a roller coaster ride — good times and not good times. Recently he told me that he was taking a trip with a female friend (whom I had never met) to travel to an out-of-state “enlightenment seminar.” I told him I could not be a girlfriend to a man who needs to have other women to hang out with and travel with. I was confused and upset, as I had been a caring, faithful, and loving companion.

I am trying to move on, but my problem is that I have some possessions in his home that were not gifts to him. Since his return I have had little contact with him. What is the best way to go about getting my things back in a dignified manner?

A. You need to contact your ex and simply tell him you’re sorry that things didn’t work out, but that you’d like to pick up those items you left in his home. Ask him when would be a good time to do this, make an appointment, and travel there to pick up your things.

There is no need to rehash what happened between you.

Q. “Frustrated Fiancee” didn’t like the way her guy proposed to her. That woman should tell her fiance in detail exactly everything that she wrote you in her letter. He deserves to know what kind of nightmare he is marrying. I’ve been there, done that, and wish I had known!

A. I agree that she seemed like a real pill.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
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