DEAR AMY: I am a young woman who just turned 23, and I'm starting to feel like a failure. All of my friends have found their soul mates and have gotten married, but I'm still single and feeling slightly insecure about where my life is heading. My parents are pressuring me to find someone (preferably an African man). This is hard for me because my heart does not want that. Now to add on extra pressure I recently graduated as a chemical engineer but haven't found a job yet. My parents are always on my back about choosing a better career -- preferably medicine. This is making me second-guess my career path. Because of my culture, my parents' opinion and acceptance matters to me a whole lot more than how I view myself. I'm writing to you because I am losing clarity about who I am. I am also losing faith and passion. Can you help?
DEAR UPSET: I cannot countermand your culture or your parents' influence in the space of a paragraph. So I'll say two things: Your cohorts have not all found their "soul mates." They might be married, but they might be caving to the very same pressure you are facing. Please -- resist this. Love will find you in good time.
You are educated in a great profession that offers many opportunities for women. You need to figure out how to network your way into your first job. Contact your school's career office for help.
Additionally, peruse the website Engineergirl.org. The site skews a little "girly" but if you look at their directory of female engineers you will see many slides of women working in the field and some in hiring positions. It is quite inspiring.
Reach out to these women directly; ask questions and communicate with them about your intended profession. You can do it -- but it takes time and confidence. Don't let your parents pull you off your path.
DEAR AMY: I am a 60-something-year-old woman who, although I am very "up" on all technology, absolutely hates Facebook! I find it intrusive and a place where most of the posts I've read on other people's pages are just downright bragging about kids, grandkids, money, etc. Some of the posts are completely stupid. I have a friend who decided it would be a great idea to become FB friends with my 30-year-old daughter. Now she repeats everything that is on my daughter's page and it drives me completely nuts. I have told her how much I hate Facebook but she just doesn't get it. If I did go on Facebook, I would never go on her daughter's page. I am not that nosy and I don't need to read every little comment that is made or look at pictures of people I have no interest in. Any suggestions on how I should go about this without losing my friend over it?
Furious over Facebook
DEAR FURIOUS: I'm not sure that you really do understand Facebook -- because if you did you would realize that you can control the content you have access to. If you don't like seeing a particular person's posts, you can unfriend, block or hide them.
You don't have to spend hours on the site, but being connected in this way would put you (quite literally) on the same page with your daughter.
If you have truly mastered Facebook and simply don't want to be connected, then you will have to ask your friend to refrain from repeating things she has seen on your daughter's page, while fully expecting her to violate this quite regularly.
Knowledge gleaned from FB photos and posts has a way of sticking in a person's head so that it seems experiential.
DEAR AMY: I couldn't help smiling when I read "Waiting for a Ring's" letter. On our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband snuggled close and announced with a grin that if I had lived with him, he would never have married me. He didn't need the ring -- I did. We're about to celebrate our 20th anniversary.
DEAR HAPPY: I believe the traditional 20th anniversary gift is "wisdom." Congratulations.