Scared for Her

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My single friend turned fifty last December and started
acting like she’s got one year to live, though as far as I
know her health is fine. She cut her hair and wears it brassy
blonde and spiky. She walks around in clothes a teenager
with new breasts might be proud of. The very scary part:
She’s started visiting sex clubs for “fun and recreation.”
Having never been to one, I have to assume what she’s told
me is true. I’m not a prude; I understand consensual adults
can do as they please. But in the context of her other
changes I’m worried about her. She’s currently “dating”
three separate guys, one of whom is 15 years younger,
another married, and a third part of a swinging couple she
“play with.” Do I say something or keep my mouth shut?

Scared for Her

Dear Scared for Her:

This falls into the ask don’t tell category of advice. If you
just come out and say You’re acting like a sex-starved
teenaged and I am scared for you, she’ll feel judged and
likely ignore everything you say. Even a question, couched
as, What the hell is going on? will get the same response. So
tread lightly and with an abundance of caring, knowing that
if you don’t like her answers you’re likely to back away from
the friendship a little  or a lot.

Meet her in a place you’d feel comfortable talking about
personal matters. Say you’ve known her for __ years and
have noticed a sharp change in her behavior and looks since
her birthday. You can observe that from where you sit it
looks like a mid-life crisis but you don’t know what’s going
on for her. Start and end with I care but I’m concerned, not
about the change in her looks (which you should compliment
even if it is insincere) but in her dating behaviors. In
addition to issues of safety, you want to make sure she’s
given it all appropriate thought. Can she enlighten you?
Then listen and prepare to end with, That’s interesting. I’ll
try and look from your perspective. It sounds like there’s
very little she can say that’ll change your mind. But if you
back off at least she’ll understand why.