Dear Janice, one of my good friends has joined an online dating site, which I initially thought was a good idea because I know she is lonely and hasn’t had the opportunity to meet anyone due to restrictions.  

However, she has had four dates now and each time the guy has messaged her to say thanks, but no thanks. I can see the sheer disappointment on her face whenever it doesn’t go as she hoped, and her mood then goes downhill.  

I think the problem is that she has put one head and shoulders picture of herself (which is filtered, and isn’t a true likeness) on the dating site.  No pictures of her as she really is, (a size 22), so I reckon when her date sees her for the first time, his face and reaction says it all and she is gutted.  I feel so bad for her because she is a wonderful, kind person, and can’t stand by and watch her mood deteriorate with each date. I don’t even know how to approach the subject. Lucy.

Dear Lucy, naturally anyone on a dating site is initially full of hope and expectation, and are enthusiastically wondering if their date is going to be ‘the one’. 

However, reality is very different. 

Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for your friend and kick-start her into losing some weight. Not for a date, but for herself. 

There are guys out there who love larger ladies, so she needs to upload pictures of her true self.  If she doesn’t get any interest from anyone, then I would suggest you have a frank and honest chat with her. After all, her dating life is not a taboo subject.

Suggest she comes off the dating sites until she loses weight and feels more attractive and confident within herself. As things are, every disappointing encounter will only chip away at her confidence which can lead to a vicious cycle of comfort eating and unhappiness.

I’m sure you’ll be there to help her through this either way. 

Dear Janice, last Saturday was the first time our girl group had been out together since lockdown. We had a great night, however, unknown to me, things turned a bit sour when the bill arrived. You see, I am the only one out of six of us who doesn’t drink alcohol, so

I said that my part of the bill should be less as I only had two ginger beers all evening whilst they guzzled wine like off shore sailors.  

No-one said anything at the time, but the next day I got a text from one of the girls saying I was being tight and frankly out of order for not splitting the bill equally between us.   

This has put a dampener on me going out again with them all because if I pay for their drinks I’ll be really annoyed, but if I stick to my guns, they’ll be equally annoyed.  Any ideas?  Megan.

Dear Megan, stick to your guns.  

If you were drinking Mocktails which are roughly the same price as an alcoholic drink then I would agree with your friends, but if your only having a couple of soft drinks then no. I hate it when people go out in company, dine like a king, starters, main, dessert and coffee,  whilst you’ve had a lasagne, and then expect you to pay for THEIR food.  

It’s different if it’s a family occasion and you’re all chipping in for someone’s birthday, for instance, but other than that, why should you pay for what other people consume?

More than likely there is only one or two in the group who have an issue with this, so open up a discussion on your group chat and see what responses you get. That way you will know for sure before your next night out (if there is one). 

Dear Janice, I have a lockdown ‘friend’ who I now can’t get rid of.  She seemed OK when we were meeting for a walks in the park etc, but now we are out and about she has turned out to be a nightmare.  

A recent weekend at a caravan park with her son and my daughter was awful from start to finish.  Her five-year old was cheeky, rude, and embarrassing. 

Everyone was staring at us because of his behaviour, which she seemed oblivious to. She was drunk most of the time and our so-called family trip was more like a hen weekend.  
She keeps messaging me with all these plans, swimming, swing parks, dinner at hers etc, and I just don’t want to go. How can I shake her off?   Emily.

Dear Emily, it’s good that you have realised early on that you will never changer her or her son and want to distance yourself from her. Every time she messages you or calls with an invitation, have a list of alternatives up your sleeve.  You may need to tell lots of lies, but who cares?

When she next suggests something, tell her your visiting your parents, taking your gran out, booked yourself a massage, going to the dentist.  Anything or anywhere she can’t invite herself to.

It will then become a mind game to see who will give up first.  So stick to your plan and eventually she will become someone else’s problem.