My mom says I should call her more often; the guilt trip makes me want to call even less!

Let me guess: you call on Sunday afternoons, maybe once or twice a month, and because it’s been so long since the last time you two talked, every conversation is a marathon. Sound familiar? If your calls were more like quick check-ins, maybe they wouldn’t become such big productions. So call at different times of the day, on different days of the week. Phone her with a specific update or question. Ask about her life. I’ll bet the lectures ease off.

I work at a bar too, Jimmy, and I made the mistake of asking a customer out. She turned me down. It’s awkward now when she comes in. Is it fixable?

What’s up, brother? That wasn’t a stellar play, mixing work and pleasure, but it’d be more awkward if you actually did go out with her and things didn’t end well. Just do what you do – serve her, go about your business, brush it off, act like nothing happened. ’Cause nothing really did.

A mate of mine is involved in local politics and wants me to volunteer for his campaign. The thing is, I’m not a fan of his party. Do I say no and risk the friendship?

If you say you’d love to help out but are just too busy, I don’t think you risk the friendship. But if you can find something – anything – that he’d be good at as a politician, why not just tell him you’ll stuff envelopes or do some other grunt work one weekend? If he’s a good enough friend, maybe one day you two can sit down together to talk politics and hash out the issues. Your views may become a little blurred, but the friendship won’t.

My office seems cliquish. How do I join the group without inviting myself?

In my bar, it’s a party every night. Everybody’s welcome. Try throwing your own shindig and invite the whole gang. Organise something – paintball, a braai, even karaoke. Some folks will come and others won’t, which is exactly what you want. The RSVP list will show you who’s interested in hanging out. They’re your ins.

I own one pink shirt, and my friends always hassle me when I wear it out. What’s it to them?

Maybe your pals have a point if you’re at a Foo Fighters show. But on the golf course or at the beach, just laugh it off. Your clothes are your call. And truth be told, my man, if you’re confident enough to wear pink in public, you should be able to take a little heat without turning red.

I’m Jewish and my girlfriend’s family is Catholic. When we visit her folks, they want us all to go to church. How can I decline without offending them?

You know I prefer the straight-shooting approach, but in this case your girlfriend will have to run interference. Here’s her script: “Mom, Dad, you need to respect where David’s coming from. Sure, if he ends up being the one, then the four of us can talk more about religion. But for now, you guys just need to worry about your own beliefs, not his.”