There was a time when I said, “a whole new world,” and it was while singing the song of the same name from Aladdin. Unfortunately – yes, I said unfortunately – I seem to be using the phrase more often, and it has nothing to do with the happy magical world of Disney. Everything that used to be “normal” or common place is now taboo to talk, write, or think about. But I only think of the phrase “a whole new world” in regard to dating in this column. I won’t bring politics or current events into these paragraphs that people read in order to take their mind off of the everyday.

In my last column, I published two letters involving the same people/persons. These emails are from two friends, a married one and one single. “Shayna,” the married friend, is worried that her single friend, “Chanie,” has given up on dating and marriage because she is the primary caretaker for her father. Shayna has gone so far as to contact Chanie’s siblings who live in Israel, accusing them of willingly letting Chanie give up her life and chance of marriage to care for their father. I’ll remind readers that Chanie was married in her 20s, but it ended in divorce. Chanie firmly believes Hashem’s plan is for her to remain single so she can fulfill the mitzvah of kibud av, and she is more than happy to give up dating (and socializing). Chanie wants Shayna to stop pushing her to date when she wants to concentrate on her father. Shayna wants me to tell Chanie what my thoughts are re: her not socializing, dating, and resigning from her job to take another that allows her to work remotely.

I’ve written this type of article a few times over the years, usually after the yamim tovim. So, I kind of expected to receive emails on this topic. The topic: those who are careless with their words with single during the Holidays. I will publish this article because those who wrote in need to be heard, but I am writing my own disclaimer: I don’t think people intend to purposefully hurt others. Because we are a society that communicates through words and emotions, both of which are subjective, there are bound to be instances where people misunderstand each other or don’t say exactly what they mean, or we end up playing broken telephone.

These two emails arrived hours apart from one another. I put the pieces together and contacted the emailers. It turns out that it’s the same people writing about the same issue. This is a first time something like this has happened to me. I had a long email communication with “Chani” and her friend “Shayna.” There is no right answer here. It’s part of the struggle we all live with, living our own lives and still fulfilling the mitzvah of kibud av.

It is great to have one good friend, or a small group of close friends, who always supports you and has your back. Some refer to friends as their “Sisters from another mister” or for men, “Brothers from another mother.” They are as close as close can be. But sometimes a friend has to know his/her place. They may know you as well as they know themselves; they may love you, but they are not you. Even best of friends need to respect boundaries, no matter how good their intentions are.

Dear Goldy:

 I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a long time. The only problem I have is with his sister. She is such a negative, evil person. Yes, I wrote evil. She never has a nice word to say about anything or anyone – not about a simchah someone made, what someone wore any day of the week, good news she would hear about someone, etc. She constantly speaks badly of people. She doesn’t just talk about people; she’s vicious when she speaks about them. And, of course, she is two-faced, because out in public she is smiling and nice to everyone. I can’t stand it. I can’t be around someone like that.