Our expert says:
Sorry, J, ",,,," is not meant as any sort of criticism of your punctuation, but it's a response I give when I'm passing on that specific question ( unles I type something in the space, the system keeps sending it back to me ). I recognize your problem is significant and serious, but it's basically a question I have answered several hundred times in the last year, and I frankly can't think of anything else I could say about it. But I'm sure our other readers will be able to give useful comments here. You might also try checking our the Archives of this Forum, for previous discissions of this theme.
From what you say of this specific situation, it doesn't sound as if her heart would be broken if you chose "nothing at all" rather than "friend", the option which you seem to find most painful. It sounds as if all the pain of rhe parting is on your side.
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