Dear Annie: I have been friends with “Jon” for seven years. For three of those, we dated and lived together. In the end, we decided we didn’t work as a couple and decided to remain friends. Jon is rather arrogant, and even though he has always been there for me, he also has occasionally taken advantage of our friendship.

I began seeing “Dennis” two years ago. At one point, I had problems with him and discussed my relationship with Jon. When I admitted this to Dennis, he became quite angry.

I am fairly loyal to my friends and like to see the good side of them, but Dennis doesn’t like Jon one bit and has demanded I choose between them.

Annie, I know that at the end of the day my boyfriend is the one I want to be with, but dumping my friendship with Jon is causing me much emotional turmoil. I don’t like causing other people pain, and I’m feeling very guilty. Am I doing the right thing? — Sad and Guilty

Dear Sad: While we appreciate that Dennis doesn’t want you to have a friendship with an old boyfriend (that is really his point), we are not keen on anyone dictating who your friends can be. Tell Dennis that you will cut back on your contact with Jon, and that you promise to stop confiding your relationship troubles to him. Dennis rightly views that as a betrayal. And if you still harbor any romantic feelings for Jon, then you should, in fact, end the friendship.

Dear Annie: Many of our parents and grandparents are aging and have been placed in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

As an employee at one of these facilities, I would like to make a suggestion: Many of our residents have clothing that desperately needs to be replaced. It makes me sad when I go through their closets and everything has a hole in the seam or a waistband that is falling apart. Please check the status of your loved one’s clothing and replace what needs it.

This brings me to another point. Many people never have visitors, so there is no one to replace their clothing or even to tell about it. It may be something to consider for a community service project to provide new clothing for the residents who are unable to shop for themselves. Useful items include sweaters, sweatshirts, front-button or zipper shirts, pants with an elastic waistband, socks and slip-on or Velcro-strap shoes. Even secondhand clothing would be wonderfully appreciated as long as it is in good repair. Our seniors have paved the way for us, and we should not forget about them. — A Long-Term Care Employee

Dear Employee: What a lovely, helpful suggestion. Those who have family in nursing homes should remember to check that their clothing is clean, comfortable and in decent shape. And a community effort to supply such items would be much appreciated and a wonderfully compassionate way to start off the new year.

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