Get the 411, Hon

Dear Dategirl,

One of my closest friends is about 10 years older than I (so she's in her late 40s). Lately, it seems like she's gotten lost in the land of internet dating. Two months ago she traveled to another state to camp with a married guy, whom she broke up with after he didn't leave his wife as promised. But the scary thing is, their first date was at a campground with no phone/Internet signal. What if something had happened to her? As far as I know, she didn't give anyone his information, so she could've been murdered and nobody would've even known where to start looking for the body.

Now she's disappeared for days with another out-of-towner who came to stay at her place. Last night she canceled our dinner plans by text when I was already waiting for her at the restaurant.

I'm all for her finding love (or, at the very least, some great sex), but I'm worried that this may be a pattern and I'm not sure how to handle it. She's not only neglecting our friendship, but I know she's also having trouble at work because she's taking too much time off. Should I be: a) distant and positive; b) full-on supportive; c) express my concerns; or d) just mind my own damn business? I'm inclined to do "d."

—Jealous or Just Plain Pissed Off?

I've mocked friends for being too scared to try online dating because they're afraid they'll end up with some rapey dude at Starbucks, but your friend is going in the exact opposite direction and actively courting danger. Meeting a married stranger at a campground? Inviting some other dude to stay at her house? Oy vey. Whatever happened to cocktails or coffee?

There seem to be two separate things at play here. The first is that you're feeling neglected, which I totally get. The first few weeks (or sometimes months) of a relationship can be all-consuming, especially as it would seem that your friend hasn't gotten much action prior to this recent spate.

I used to let things like this simmer, which is stupid, because then you end up yelling at the person, when really, a simple "Woman, quit taking our friendship for granted" talk could suffice. You want her to be happy; you just want to see her once in a while. Completely understandable.

What's not understandable is that she keeps putting herself in these crazy situations. If she were a naive Amish teen on Rumspringa, I could kind of see her thinking that a rustic weekend with some nice fella she met on the interwebs would be a good idea. But she's a grown-ass woman, so this is completely puzzling behavior.

Even though these two guys have turned out to be relatively benign (I guess), why does she keep putting herself in these situations? She must not think she deserves a guy who's single or solvent enough to pay for a hotel room, which is really fucking sad. You can't fix her low self-esteem, but maybe if you diplomatically point out that you're worried about her, the next time she goes off into the woods with a stranger, she'll give you his 411.

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