A weekly series in which our expert in all things everything solves life’s conundrums, big and small.  Got a problem that could use a no-nonsense perspective?  Tell it to the Co-It-All at voice@intheco.com


Dear Co-It-All,

A close girlfriend and I bought tickets for the Justin Bieber concert in Toronto in May as soon as they went on sale. We were super excited to get the tickets, but they’re not the greatest. Now another friend has invited me to the same show, but the seats are in her mom’s corporate box. Is there any way to take the better offer without coming off like a total jerk? Did I mention I am, like, the biggest Bieber fan in the world?


You had me until world’s biggest Bieber fan


I’m not sure of your age, so I’m not sure if some gentle ribbing is in order. Also not sure how literal you’re being when you say world’s biggest Bieber fan. You know there are fans who spend weeks Tweeting at Bieber, praying for an RT. There are fans who get plastic surgery to look more like their lord and savior. There is even a girl who sleeps with a Justin Bieber cardboard cut out every night and had her last name legally changed to Bieber. You’re not that girl, are you?

Not that I’m judging. I myself am an UABF—that’s unembarrassed adult Bieber fan. So is Kanye West, who attended (and got his groove on at) Biebs’ L.A. concert last week. Not that Yeezy is necessarily a reliable marker of great taste these days, but the point is that Bieber fandom is no longer restricted to shrieking tweenage girls and their cradle robbing mothers. Purpose is a really great album…not that I need to tell you any of this.

I’m going to give you some marching orders, but first I’m going to name your two friends so that things don’t get confusing. Friend #1 is Betty, because that seems like a nice, friendly, trustworthy name. Betty isn’t one to jump ship the second a better offer comes in. Friend number #2 can be Veronica because that is a rich girl name, and in my imagination Veronica is all, “mommmmmmmmm—you promised we could take the limo to the Bieber concert. This is soooooo unfairrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” Or maybe she’s just a nice normal girl who happens to have great seats to a concert. Whatever the case…

Move number 1 is you tell Veronica that you are in a bind because you already bought tickets with Betty. Say how great it was of her to invite you, how awesome it would be to sit in a box, how much you would kill to sit there, butttttttttt [scrunch your face up here like ……


Now freeze. Hold that but. Let awkward silence fill up the air until Veronica is forced to fill it.


The hope is that V will jump in and say she will check with her mom to see if there is space for one more. In my experience parents who have boxes at large sporting arenas are sometimes major big wigs who get whatever they want with a few well placed finger snaps. Getting a box seat for Betty might be NBD, and if this plan works, you’re all set—you score the great real estate without having to ditch a friend. You can even sell the old seats and use the extra money to buy ridiculously overpriced tour t-shirts. Or you could maybe just give the extra tickets to your favourite free advice giver, who put this whole plan into action.


If it doesn’t work though…well…you know what’s coming next, right?


If both you and Betty can’t get into the box, neither of you can. This is, I’m guessing, the message that tiny little voice in your head has been telling you all week. And because you are dying to sit stage-side, you’ve done everything you can to silence it.

You’re probably deep into the rationalization game—ten years from now you and Betty may not even be buds any more, whereas you will definitely remember the night that Justin Bieber noticed you sitting up close in the box, called you up on stage, serenaded you and later took you back to his dressing room for twenty minutes of unbridled Bieber passion. (If you are not over 18, please disregard that last bit). The truth is though, is that it’s your actions, and not your Bieber Fever, that will stick with you long into the future.

In high school I had plans for a sleepover movie night with a friend. We had plans to watch SNL and eat our body weight in popcorn, but then I got invited to a party at another girl’s house. A “cool girl.” So what did I do? I pretended to be sick to my sleepover buddy and then I attended the party—a party I don’t even remember, by the way. The betrayal, though—that I remember well. And I never even got caught. (Note that sneaking around was a lot easier in the pre-Instagram era).

So that’s it. I wish I could tell you that ditching a friend is an okay move, but it’s not and if you do take that path you will end up feeling bad about it more than twenty years later. So my advice isn’t so much about being selfless or even being a good person, but about protecting your future self from feeling like a jerk. I know, I know—you looooooooove the Biebs, but in the long (to quote our favourite peroxide prophet), you want to be able to “love yourself.”