Friendship by the Book - Three Wishes: A true story of good friends...

Becoming an older mother is never easy---physically or emotionally---especially if there's no logical father-to-be on the horizon. Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck on Our Way to Love and Motherhood (Little Brown, 2010) is an incredibly wise, witty and powerful memoir written by three brave and accomplished women who had the desire to be mothers---each one, on her own terms.

Can a mother be a daughter's best friend?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chozick, How Parents Became Cool, describes the parental paradigm shift (as seen on TV) from loving but firm (think: The Brady Bunch) to best friends (think: Pretty Little Liars). We've all heard stories of (and some of us have witnessed up close) moms who are trying so desperately to be cool that they opt for the role of BFFs to their daughters instead of moms. It's an easy line to cross; after all, every woman wants another friend---and moms, especially, want to connect with their teens and tweens and not be thought of as old hags. But can a mother be a daughter's best friend?

A carpool friendship: Has it reached a dead end?

Dear Irene,I met my friend on the commute to work and have known her now for 10 years. We also socialized outside of the commute. She is 17 years older than me but the age difference has never been a problem. She was terminated from her job (after 20 years) at age 62. Just before this, her ex-husband (who she did not like) died suddenly.

Keeping the friends you make on your travels

Dear Irene,I would love your advice on how to make the transition from traveling with someone (navigating a foreign country together and sharing things on a daily basis) to being "long-distance" friends once one or both of you have returned home to your respective lives and countries.  

Friendship in a Box: What's going on?

Dear Irene,We both lost our husbands to illness in their prime. Needless to say, we feel connected in a way that is not common to most friends. 

The sadness of moving on and leaving a BFF behind

Dear Irene,Two years into our BFF-hood, my friend showed rapidly worsening symptoms that turned out to be non-remitting (progressive) multiple sclerosis. We have coped with that together and still do so every week. My dilemma is this. Years ago my husband and I used to travel around in an RV and loved it. In a couple of years he will be in a position to take larger chunks of time off again and we want to buy another motor home and travel. Even though this isn't going to happen immediately, I already feel guilt about leaving my BFF for long periods. 

Making friends when you're depressed: It ain't easy!

Hi Irene,Throughout my life (I am now 25) I have had problems with friendships ending poorly, usually with friends betraying and/or abandoning me. This has been a contributing factor to my depression, which, in turn, makes it harder to make new friends.

Motherhood: The Shifting Sands of Friendship

QUESTIONIrene,Jordan and I have been best friends since our first day of college 20 years ago. Over the years, we both married (me=happily, her=constantly teetering on the edge of divorce) and had children. I had my children several years before she did, and she was always incredibly supportive and understanding of my new obligations and priorities, while longing for a child of her own. Three years ago, Jordan had a daughter. I have tried to support her in all the ways she supported me though those baby/toddler years, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to do. We live many time zones apart (different continents) and the onus of our friendship has gradually shifted so it is now entirely mine.

Why don't friends just talk about it?

Dear Irene,When a woman feels that she has a problem with a long-term friend or friendship, why does she not simply sit down and work it out? Why does she prefer to let the friendship die instead of trying to repair it? How can she just turn her back after so many years? 

A friendship spinning out of control

Dear Irene,I am 51 years old, married 28 years, with 3 grown kids. I work at a gym as a personal trainer/spinning instructor. I quickly became friends with a woman 10 years younger who moved here from another state. She is 40 years old, single, without any kids, and had been in a verbally abusive relationship with a guy. 

Martha and Her: The Best of Friends?

Dear Martha Stewart,After reading Mariana Pasternak's new telltale book, The Best of Friends: Martha and Me (Harper, 2010), I know how betrayed you must feel. You have to be asking yourself: How could Mariana, who I considered one of my closest friends, betray me like this? Granted, I've only read her side of the story, but here are my unsolicited thoughts on the matter:

Friendship: The importance of showing up

Dear Irene, I have been friends with Amy since high school, and we are now mothers in our 30s. I have a 10-year-old and another baby on the way. Last August, I got married and that's when things went weird.

Making friends after the age of 65: What are the options?

At age 66, I lost a very close friend (45-year friendship) when she moved out of state. We talk on the phone once a week, but that isn't the same. I am happily married, but I need a good female friend. I do have other friends, but I feel the need for more. I still work, am tall, slim, dress well, attractive and "well preserved", but I find that making new friends at this age very, very difficult.

Can a friend who is ‘green with envy’ really be a friend?

I hate this about myself. I am a spiritual, introspective person. But when this envy problem flares up, I feel like a very mean child.

New Girl on the Block: Amanda Blain

Girlfriend Social provides new opportunities for women to forge real friendships online.

Friendship by the Book: Pieces of Happily Ever After

Although it's sometimes hard to accept, life never evolves like a fairy tale. Journalist and author Irene Zutell's latest novel, "Pieces of Happily Ever After" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2009), sensitively captures the inevitable struggles that women encounter along the way, including: infidelity, divorce, balancing care for children and parents, juggling work and family, growing up, achieving independence, losing friends and making them.