DR. WALLACE: Yesterday my friend texted me saying that she needed me to return a dress that I borrowed a while back because of an upcoming school dance we both plan to attend in slightly over two weeks from now.
The only issue is I have absolutely no idea where it is right now! I have been frantically searching between my mom’s condo and my dad’s house every time I visit each parent, and I can’t find it and can’t remember where I saw it last.
I searched my dad’s house from head to toe and I had no luck and am going to look through my room at my mom’s place again tomorrow. I really don’t know where it might be, though.
Should I warn my friend now or should I just wait until I’m certain that it’s nowhere to be found, or worse, lost forever?
I know she will not be happy with me either way but I am not sure what to do now. I feel as though it might turn up and if I keep looking over the next week I might still find it. What can I do about this sticky situation? Help! — Still frantically searching, via email
STILL FRANTICALLY SEARCHING: Fortunately, you have two full weeks before this event, but trust me, that time will fly by fast. My advice would be to take two days, and only two days, to conduct your final search. Visit each parent on consecutive days and search each room of the house, plus all laundry areas.
Next, speak with every single person who lives at or regularly spends time in each home. Ask each parent if any clothes have recently been sent to a dry cleaning business, for example. Do you have siblings? Ask each one. Are there any housekeepers, maids or service personnel at either home? Check with each one, if so.
Once you’ve done one last physical search and completed discussions with every single person who lives at or visits each residence, then you’ll either find this dress or you’ll realize that it sadly might be gone forever for whatever reason.
By my calculations, if you use the next two days to do this research, you’ll still have almost two full weeks before the event. If you don’t find the dress in two days, then absolutely tell your friend openly and honestly what the situation is. Explain what you’ve done over the past two days by searching and speaking with anyone and everyone to try to track it down.
Then ask your friend for forgiveness and offer to buy her another similar dress. Tell her that you will go with her to shop for it so that you two can pick it out together and so that you can pay for it. If you don’t have the money right now, it’s imperative that you have your mother, father or any other relative temporarily loan you the money to make this matter up to your friend.
Finally, no matter how this episode ends, learn the lesson of taking care of other people’s belongings very carefully once you’ve borrowed an item. Any borrowed item should always be promptly returned in its original condition. That dress should have been immediately washed or dry cleaned and returned to her right after you used it for the occasion you originally borrowed it for in the first place.
FAKE IDs ARE THE NORM HERE
DR. WALLACE: I’m in my first year of college and all of my friends have fake IDs. My university is a huge party school, and if you don’t go to parties or go out to drink with people, you basically won’t make friends or have what most people consider to be a hot social life.
I honestly don’t like the taste of alcohol, and I feel uncomfortable getting a fake ID, but everyone I know has told me that I need to get one or else I’ll be treated like a total outsider until I actually turn 21.
I understand that college is supposed to be a fun experience, and it’s expected that students will get into trouble, but I’ve never really been into the party scene or taken part in those kinds of activities before. The only reason I’m at this particular university in the first place is because I received a good scholarship to go here, but now I almost feel like I’m beginning to regret my decision in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I love my classes, respect my professor and am getting a great education. The whole social scene, on the other hand, makes me roll my eyes.
Is it lame that I don’t like alcohol and naturally tend to avoid most parties? I feel as though I do not relate to most of the students at this school, and while I know that financially it makes a lot of sense for me to stay here, a part of me is already considering transferring to a different university. Should I move on? — Not my cup of tea, via email
NOT MY CUP OF TEA: No, don’t transfer! Based on what you wrote, I feel you’re getting what you signed up for: a great education and excellent instructors you respect and learn from. You even went so far as to say that you love your classes!
Moving on to another university will not magically make you immune from social scenes driven by underage drinking of alcohol via the use of false identification cards. Always remember that you are in control of your own life and that you get to make your own decisions. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Do not seek out a fake ID. Do not drink alcohol that you don’t enjoy anyhow and that is illegal for you to consume at your current age.
Simply sidestep those social scenes you don’t relate to and instead seek out students who approach their studies with the same seriousness and passion that you do. Trust me, they do exist. At your college, the volume of students who favor the party scene is likely higher than those who value their studies, but I trust the old phrase “quality over quantity” will apply well to your situation. Spend time with others who naturally match your mindset rather than trying to squeeze yourself into a world you already know you have little interest in and are uncomfortable with.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.