Abby: Teen’s friendship strained after 5-mile move

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: We used to live in a neighborhood where my 13-year-old daughter’s best friend, “Mandy,” still lives. They played together and visited often and are well-suited in maturity and personality. Since we moved, Mandy has visited our home (five miles away) a dozen times.

The last several times we have invited her to come over, she has been unable to, which I completely understand. People are busy. But recently, I have received no response at all from her mother. (Mandy was invited to my daughter’s sleepover, and I was not told whether she was coming or not. She didn’t.)

My daughter is heartbroken, but I feel I’ve done all I can do to offer them a chance to get together. I’ve emailed, texted, Facebooked and called and left a message. I emailed the mother asking if I had offended her, or if her daughter no longer wanted to be friends anymore. Mandy’s mom indicated there was no offense; they just have been super-busy. (Our daughters email each other several times a week, so I think they still would like to be friends.)

Clearly, I can’t force the woman to be more responsive, but how should I handle this? And what should I tell my daughter, who misses her friend so much?

Not That Far Away

Dear Not That Far: Not knowing Mandy’s mom, I can’t give an opinion on if she’s leveling with you about her schedule. She MAY be super-busy, experiencing family or health problems or simply not want to drive her daughter 10 miles for a play date. As I see it, you have no choice other than to let her know Mandy is always welcome.

Tell your daughter what her mother told you — that she’s extremely busy, and that you are sorry it has limited the time she gets to spend with her friend. At the same time, make a point of getting your daughter involved in new activities, so she can meet other girls and develop new interests so she’ll have less time to dwell on missing Mandy.

P.S. Have you offered to take your daughter to Mandy’s house so her mother won’t have to do all the driving?

Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years and have three wonderful children between us. After a year of living together, we’ve begun to talk about marriage.

We are happy, but we are introverted people and our main focus at this time is on raising our kids. This has left us with few friendships and only a couple of close family members. If we do decide to get married, I’m worried about how many people we would be able to invite or if there would even be enough people to be in the ceremony itself. Do you have any suggestions for this kind of situation?

Shy Bride in Kansas

Dear Shy Bride: Yes, I do. A wedding doesn’t have to be big and fancy to be beautiful and meaningful. That’s why I suggest you and your boyfriend be married quietly in a ceremony officiated by a justice of the peace or clergyperson. Ask your relatives and close friends to attend as you take your vows and have a small celebration afterward commensurate with your budget.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.