Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I have a friend who’s turning 50. She’s someone I wanted to get to
know better for years. We have a mutual friend but she’s been
possessive about sharing access. When she left town for a six-month
work stint, Deborah and I spent much more time together: happy
hour, movies, just gabbing over coffee and running weekend chores.
It turns out we have more in common with one another than either of
us has with our mutual friend. I’d like to give Deborah something
special as a gift, both because it is her 50 th and to signal how much I
value her in my life. Money is no object. I want to do something
special for her, but I don’t have the emotional endurance to cope with
too much drama in my life if our mutual friend gets pissy (not to put
too fine a point on it). I get enough of that at work. If you were going
to gift someone special under these circumstances, what would you


Dear Befriended:

I would use the birthday card to express my sentiments and the
birthday gift to ensure more quality time for the two of you. If you live
in a metro area large enough to have a performing arts center, buy
pairs of tickets for performances you would both enjoy. Not knowing
how much or little money is no object, you may interpret this as a
special evening for drinks, dinner, and very unique event all the way
through season tickets to symphony, ballet, or a series of plays. This
ensures you will have quality time, for two, assuming she accepts the
tickets to accompany you for these evenings, spread to throughout the

As for the jealous friend, make a point of cutting her some slack. Go
out to lunch, compliment some aspects of her life, and listen to her
talk about her life, even if you’re a little bored by the content. Make
her feel comfortable and appreciated. I suspect that she’ll grumble to
others and be resentful beneath the surface, but if you do come to a

new equilibrium you should be able to avoid most of the drama. And
try the occasional threesome outing to see if it works. If not, just play