Q. My friend has started walking with a stoop and she also has quite bad breath – should I say anything? Just a few words might help. Rachel, Cambridge
A. A stoop? And bad breath? I think the words you are looking for are "our friendship is over". I jest, Rachel, I jest. If you are a good friend to her you will overlook these defects loyally (at least the stoop means the breath carries downwind of you) and if you are a really super friend to her you will find a quiet, private moment to mention one or the other to her – or what the heck, why not both at once, since she might as well have one really bad day rather than two quite bad days. Do make sure you also praise her better aspects liberally too. Slim waist? Small feet? I'm clutching at straws here... Discreet, uncritical friends? Maybe not. The best kind of friend is a truth-telling friend, but, reading between the lines, Rachel, your dissatisfaction with your friend's posture and oral hygiene may reflect a deeper anxiety you have about the friendship. Before you storm in and criticise her hurtfully, look into your heart and make sure you aren't simply punishing her for not being the person you want her to be.
Q. For my birthday a couple gave me a cushion that doesn't fit in anywhere in my flat. I want to get rid of it, but my partner keeps saying we have to keep it – who's right? Anon, by email
A. Your domestic dispute has an international precedent. There was nearly a diplomatic incident in Florence the other week when city officials realised that, with a cultural delegation from China on its way, they were going to have to display a recent gift from China – two huge Tang dynasty sculptures – on the city's metaphorical mantelpiece, or risk causing serious offence. Thank goodness they had not "re-gifted" them to Belgium, or crushed them into gravel for one of Berlusconi's driveways. You may find you are grateful, too, when the time comes for your friends to visit, that you still have said cushion. And remember, all you have to keep is the case – the stuffing can be put to good use meantime.
Q. Is Facebook over? Francis, by email
A. Francis, have your friends reached a plateau at 25? Are you at a loss for status updates now that "[Francis] ...is getting an early night" no longer feels fresh? Have you de-tagged so many unflattering pictures you are left feeling quite depressed? Francis, my dear, could it possibly be that you are not over Facebook, but it is over you?Reuse content