The problem: I gave a friend and her daughter tickets to a special event, which includes backstage passes to meet the entertainer. My daughter, who is the same age as hers, also will be with us. My friend was very excited. An hour later, she called me back and said she’d bought an additional ticket for her older daughter (whom we barely know) and is “really hoping” that she can come backstage, too. This puts me in a difficult position, since I had to jump through hoops to make the backstage thing happen because of strict security. What do I do?

Low road: Tell your friend you’ll meet her and her two girls at the event, but “accidentally” give her the wrong date. Ha! Tempting, but only I’m kidding. It’s a shame that your friend is putting you in this awkward position when you have done something so generous for her.


High road: Keep your eyes on the prize. You and your daughter get to do something really cool together that she will long remember. Savor it. Since your friend made an unilateral decision to buy that extra ticket, tap into her independent streak. Explain good-naturedly that it was next-to-impossible-in-fact-harder-than-giving-birth to get those backstage passes, but you really hope that she has luck doing so, “and here’s the contact name and number so you can ask.” Assume that this was an unusual manipulative lapse into bad judgment on the part of a mother trying to prevent hard feelings between siblings. But maybe next time, you all just go to the mall.


To read previous High Road columns, go to Send questions about life’s little quandaries to