Dear Blake,

I’m in a book club I started with friends 13 years ago. The 12 of us have grown close and value, appreciate and respect each other. I recently invited a childhood friend to join. She’s an avid reader.

Although she’s a nice person, she simply does not fit in with the group. She talks too much, tends to brag a lot and makes insensitive comments. An example: Two of us are leaving on a cruise soon, and she shared how tacky and claustrophobic she thinks those trips are. The rest of the group were appalled, and I feel awful that I introduced her into my longtime book club.

On the other hand, I cannot fathom telling my childhood friend the group would prefer she not attend. I am sure it would be hurtful. A few of us are hoping you will have a solution. Please help.

Signed, Claudia
From Syracuse, New York

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Dear Claudia,

It sounds like you made a major mistake by inviting your friend into the group. I think you’ll be making another major mistake by not kicking her out… even if you have to use steel-toed shoes. Here are some suggestions. Tell her to join your club she must go on two cruises, one she pays her own way, and the second one she pays for everyone’s trip. If she’s stupid to pay for everyone’s vacation, the next rule should involve her paying everyone’s utility bills and mortgages. Or, tell her to remain in the club, she must read any book assigned to the group in the allotted time. For starters, give her 30 minutes to read War & Peace. When she doesn’t, tell her rules are rules, and then give her the boot. Or this idea. Tell her that you forgot about a group rule, which clearly states that the new members must take the vow of silence for their first five years in the group, and add that because she is a childhood friend, you got them to reduce it to just four and a half years. Or this last idea. Tell your friend that the group voted that all 12 must wear a tee-shirt with one of the biblical disciple’s names. And then add, once a member leaves, she can replace that person and wear a tee-shirt that reads “Judas”. I hope this helps.