Q: "My best friend and I have been inseparable since, like, the 6th grade. She means the world to me, and I can't imagine us not being close. The trouble is, she and I get along great but she never meshes with my boyfriends. She finds a reason not to like them every time — be it big or small. She starts being rude to them or picking fights when we're all out together. She scared the last two guys I dated off! She always says she's ‘looking out for me,’ but I'm starting to feel like she just doesn't want me to be with someone because she's single. I've asked her to stop but she always says that means I’m choosing a man over her. I'm not; she's just acting childish. What do I do, Dr. Sherry?" – Valerie
A: It sounds as if your best friend definitely has issues with you being with a male. The fact that she “never meshes” with any of your boyfriends should be a telltale sign that she has an issue. It is not unusual that a best friend may not like some of your boyfriends but all of them. It’s important for you to separate your issue from hers. She has the problem, not you. I have to wonder why you are making it your issue by needing her approval and continuously seeking it. You are giving her control that she does not deserve or need to have in your life. It is one thing to be a friend but it is another thing to feel that she can control your relationships. She may have an opinion, but you don’t have to respond to it.
Remember that opinions are like a** holes — everyone has one. Her opinion is no more important than anyone else’s. You have to step up to the plate and put boundaries in place between you and your friend. You also have to question the friendship you share. The fact that she feels that you are “choosing a man over her,” suggests that she may have her role in your life twisted. I hope you are not looking to receive from the same things from her that you seek from a boyfriend. Her comments imply that she may be quite jealous of you and/or may view her relationship with you in a different manner than sheer “best friends.” Also, she is single and misery loves company. Regardless of what her reasons or issues may be, I would suggest that you create some distance between the two of you when it comes to discussing your choice of men. Whatever man you choose to date is your business and your choice, not hers. — Dr. Sherry
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If you're coming to the ESSENCE Music Festival this summer, you'll be able to ask her in person. Dr. Sherry will be on hand to help out with your burning dating and relationship dilemmas during the festival so if you're coming to New Orleans, be sure to stop by the ESSENCE.COM live stage to say hello.