Q. I recently made an arrangement with a flaky friend from university to go to my gym together. Half an hour after we were supposed to meet she called saying she was at the cash machine looking at her bank balance and she didn’t think she could afford the £20 guest entry fee. She suggested cancelling but I was dressed and raring to go so I offered to lend her the money. She politely declined saying, ‘I don’t like owing people money.’ I volunteered to pay the fee. On the way to the gym she said she was hungry and, opening a wallet stuffed with cash, bought luxury snacks costing roughly £25, and once inside the gym, ordered a cashew-nut smoothie at £6.50. What should I have done, Mary? She has a large (by my standards) allowance from her father.
—R.G., London SW6
A. Speaking in teasing tones you should have cried ‘Oooh! Can I borrow some of that cash?’ You would then have continued to smile affectionately at her until she had given an answer.
Q. I have been told by my sister that, since having had (slightly too much) Botox, I now look standoffish. In my line of work (PR) I meet people all day and it’s important that I appear friendly. I won’t make this mistake again and the effects will eventually wear off, but how can I mitigate this disaster in the short term so that people do not think that I am disapproving of them?
— Name and address withheld
A. You have no option but to take the ‘touchy-feely’ approach. Obviously you would not pinch buttocks or any other intimate area, but reassuring squeezes of the forearm are welcomed almost universally.