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How Far Can a Friend Go?


We recently heard from AM I TOO CYNICAL, whose lonely friend was about to marry a foreigner she'd met on the Internet two weeks before. She asked her to wait, but her friend refuses.

I suggested she tell her friend it would be wise to hire an attorney to make sure her assets are protected. Here's what you had to say ...

R.A. Forget the attorney. Hire a private investigator.

PUAHONE: There is nothing that you can do to stop her, so just congratulate her and hope for the best. And no "I told you so's" if or when it doesn't work out.

NANCHAN: Normal people don't get married after two weeks. This sounds like a scam to me.

MICHELLE: Your friend may not be as in love as she's saying. She could be helping this man get his green card by marrying him. Seeing as that could end in a jail sentence, they could be putting on the lovey-dovey act for immigration investigators who may come round to friends and family.

This story made me think of an episode of "Blue Bloods." A young woman who was overweight and average-looking was marrying a really, really handsome guy. Her father objected and tried everything he could to keep them from getting married before the man's student visa expired thinking that he only wanted to take advantage of her. In the end they actually got married.

Later she admits she knows he doesn't love her romantically but as a true friend. She married him because he's gay and would be murdered by his family if he returned home.

I know it's just fiction, but it's based on real-life scenarios.

So, give your friend the benefit of doubt; encourage her to keep her assets safe with a prenup and be there to support her if it all blows up in the end.

LISA: I love that show and remember the episode. I think the primary difference is that on the show, the man and woman in question had actually known each other for quite some time and really were friends. Here, these two people have only known each other for a few weeks.

Still, at the end of the day, there's not much a friend can do. Sure, she can hire a detective, but if the woman really is that infatuated and lonely, she'll spend far more time and energy being angry at her friend for hiring the detective than she will on evaluating any incriminating evidence the detective unearths.

LORI: This screams green card to me or an abuser who rushes his victims into a commitment. Keep close to her and this guy. Engage him. Ask him questions with your friend present. Ask for details about his job, the company that employs him, the country he's from, does he see himself living here permanently or does he want to take his wife to live overseas?

Ask about his family, their names, where they live. Ask him when his birthday is so you can mark it on your calendar. Ask you friend his age. Tell your friend you are there for her if she changes her mind about this guy at any time.

Do you always have to be "on" in a relationship? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."



7 Comments | Post Comment
Glad we could give you a column again, Cheryl. When should I expect the check in the mail?
Comment: #1
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:22 AM
Hey, when we signed up, I think we agreed that anything we post is fair game to publish, and Cheryl doesn't lie that the stuff comes from her readers. But she did use to change the names. Now, she's just copying and pasting. Well, since the names are internet handles, it probably doesn't matter. As far as I am concerned, Ariana is not exactly a unique first name, so if I appear as such, I guess it's still relatively anonymous.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Ariana
Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:51 AM
(yawn) You miss the point. She's LAZY.

Cheryl, you do this at least twice a month and get PAID for reposting our comments. LAZY!
Comment: #3
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:27 PM
Re: nanchan

I dunno....She seems to be the only one of the columnists who actually reads the comments, which is more effort that the rest of them put in. I am pretty sure that Annies have a staff who reads and sorts through the letters. Cheryl seems to be doing it herself.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Ariana
Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:35 PM
Reading the comments and adding her own thoughts would be FANTASTIC.

Reprinting our comments only is lazy.
Comment: #5
Posted by: nanchan
Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:13 AM
Like Ariana, I appreciate that Cheryl clearly does take the time to read the BTL. But I was surprised by this one, not only because the names weren't changed (which I don't care about -- there are a gazillion Lisas out there) but because there didn't appear to be any editing or careful selection. In the past, I don't think Cheryl ran every single comment and certainly didn't run them in their entirety. Not sure if this is an issue of laziness so much as it is that the column in question didn't get as many comments as she could have hoped.

While it would be interesting for Cheryl to include her own thoughts/responses to the comments posted BTL, on that, I feel for her, because it's damned if you, damned if you don't scenario. A lot of other advice columnists will post responses they get (be they from letters, online forums like this, etc.), but then they'll post their own two cents on those, and it frequently comes off as the advice columnist being defensive (when the comments specifically disagree with the advice columnist gave).

One of the things I've noticed about this column is that it often is NOT an advice column -- LWs frequently aren't writing in for advice -- they're sharing a story (and in most cases, I believe they are sharing the story at Cheryl's behest, where she has asked for "send your tales to..."). Because I love reading advice columns, it is no surprise that I prefer the editions of Cheryl's column where she is offering actual advice, instead of merely sharing someone else's story. But to each his own. I'm sure some people prefer the non-advice format of most Tales from the Front editions.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Lisa
Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:57 PM
Cheryl not only reads the comments. she also personally responds to people who write to her. I have had numerous life issues of mine published here, and Cheryl has emailed me to ask about how things turned out.
Comment: #7
Posted by: skippy
Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:29 PM
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