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home : columns : dear harriette June 24, 2016

3/11/2014 1:18:00 PM
Threat of clingy neighbor hangs over party

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who has become very friendly with me. Sometimes she is too friendly and kind of intrusive. She can be extremely loud and possessive of me. If I see her out somewhere, she immediately acts like we should be together, even if I am out with other people. On more than one occasion she has joined my party at a restaurant without a moment's thought that she wasn't invited. I'm planning a small dinner party in the neighborhood for a select group of people, and I don't want to invite her. I'm worried, though, that she might stop by the restaurant and either attempt to join us or get loud because she wasn't invited. How can I handle this gracefully? -- Wanting to Disconnect, Washington, D.C.

DEAR WANTING TO DISCONNECT: You may want to consider hosting your party outside your immediate neighborhood, especially if you believe that this neighbor would not hesitate to crash your party. If you go beyond your normal sphere of connection, you will reduce the likelihood that she will show up.

You can also prepare yourself to speak to her privately if she shows up and tries to join in. Ask her to step away with you for a moment and tell her that this is a private gathering, and you are terribly sorry, but she is not invited to join you. She doesn't have to know that it is your function, just that you are not inviting her to be your guest. It is OK to be firm and clear. If she refuses to leave, ask the restaurant manager to help you. Yes, this may damage your relationship, but if she is that out-of-control, you may need this intervention anyway.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that I have to have oral surgery because I have periodontal disease. I was wondering why I was having so much trouble with my mouth, and then my tooth fell out. It is so embarrassing. What's worse is that my insurance will not cover implants, which the doctor recommended. I have no extra money to make it happen. I am feeling so depressed right now. I have been out of work for several years. I did get insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and it is pretty good, but it doesn't cover this "elective" surgery. I'm told I can get dentures, but I'm only 40. I don't want dentures. What can I do without the money? I feel so ashamed. -- Toothless, Shreveport, La.

DEAR TOOTHLESS: Now is the time to be practical. If your insurance will cover you getting your mouth healthy and will provide you with dentures, take that. Nobody will know whether your new teeth are implants or removable. What you will have is a mouthful of teeth. When you are in a better financial situation, you can replace the dentures with implants.  

Don't feel ashamed, either. You are taking steps to improve your health. Feel proud about that.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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