Dear Constance,

I’m a woman in a friend group and I’ve been in this friend group for about 4 years. I met them when I moved to Atlanta and we’ve been friends ever since. I recently discovered a secret chat that my other 5 friends have that I’m not included in. One of my friends accidentally mentioned something that they were talking about in the chat I’m apart of. Someone covered for them and they deleted the message. I feel terrible. Am I a bad friend? And also, I’m worried about what they might be saying about me. Should I confront them?

Intentionally Left Out

Dear Intentionally,

There is an old adage: what you don’t know can’t hurt you. I wouldn’t take this too personally. In any group, side conversations are going to start up. It’s just natural. The best thing that you can do is forget all about this. If you are planning on confronting them, you may end up losing your friend group. The real decision then is this: how valuable are these people to you and your life. If they aren’t that important, it may be time to get some new friends.

My Mom’s a Hoarder and Has to Move

Dear Constance,

I hate to have to write in on this, but you that show Hoarders? My Mom should be on that show! Let me start from the beginning. I’m a guy, I’m 45 and my Mom needs to move to a better house for her health. She’s not ready for a retirement home but she needs something where everything is on one level. I helped her find a house and shes ready to move. My siblings are all on-board with the move but there are only 3 of us and I’m the only one that lives here near my Mom. There’s just one problem: she’s got a bunch of stuff. There are rooms in the house that are packed from floor to ceiling! My old room from when I was a kid is packed too. My Mom needs to move but she wants to take all her stuff and I think its time to clean the place out and take almost none of the stuff. My siblings have no idea. What do I do?

Overstuffed with stuff

Dear Stuff,

I’m sad to hear about your Mom and her stuff. Hoarding comes from a variety of emotional places. It’s less about the stuff and more about the emotional issues that the stuff is meant to fill. If she was unhappy in an empty house with no kids, she found a way to fill it up. The best way forward is to get help from your siblings. Send them some pictures and get them talking to Mom in a gentle and loving way. You can also hire a professional organizer or a therapist to help with this transitional process. Good luck!