Dear Ann Landers, I am a 14-year-old girl and have a friend who is dominating my life. "Julia" calls me so often, my family has started making up excuses why I can't come to the phone. She invites me to her house every day. I usually decline because her brothers are foul-mouthed and Julia constantly gets into fights with her mother. Every time I go there, I come home feeling upset.
I no longer enjoy Julia's company, but she makes me feel so guilty that I wind up making plans with her anyway. I feel sorry for her because she doesn't seem to have any other friends. What makes it even worse is that she gets angry and jealous when I go out with other girls and don't include her. Frankly, my other friends don't like her. She's overly critical and says hurtful things.
I don't know how to get out of this relationship. I don't want to harm her obviously fragile self-confidence, so I lie about how much I value her friendship. When I think of how stuck I am in this situation, I end up in tears. Please tell me what to do. -- New Jersey
Dear N.J., You are very kind to remain friendly with Julia, even though she is domineering and difficult. You need not let her run your life, however. Make dates with other girls, and if Julia doesn't like it, too bad.