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home : columns : dear harriette June 28, 2016

3/26/2014 10:01:00 AM
Reader upset to be double-booked during party

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have double-booked myself for two really important events, and now I am in a terrible position. I promised to participate in a friend's retirement dinner. I am so happy for her, and now I feel terrible. She wants me to speak at the event, but I have to work. My boss asked me to take on a new project, and I agreed without realizing the time conflict. When I mentioned the conflict to him, he said too bad. The only possibility is for my part to be early in the evening at my friend's retirement party and then rush over to work. But I doubt she wants to change her plans. How can I broach this with her? -- Torn, Detroit

DEAR TORN: Consider it a blessing that there is even a chance that you can attend and possibly participate in a tiny part of your friend's event. Reach out to her and tell her your predicament. Apologize for the mix-up. Be clear that this is your job and that you have to be there. Suggest that you can come for a few minutes and possibly do whatever formal presentation your friend has requested, but that you cannot stay.  

Being honest is what's most important. If that means, by the way, that it actually is too much for you to do a drive-by at your friend's party, tell her that. You have to be responsible for yourself first. She is retiring from a full life of working. If anyone should understand, she should be the one.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got into a huge argument with my boyfriend on the street the other night. We were coming home from a party and we had both had a few drinks. He got mad at me about something that I said to him, and the next thing you know, he was screaming and cursing at me at the top of his lungs. I have noticed that he gets loud and somewhat out of control when he has been drinking. This is scary to me, and I don't like it at all. Do you think it should be a deal breaker? We've been talking about building a life together, but I swear I never imagined that someone who is supposed to be "my man" would be yelling and cursing at me in the middle of the street. -- Deal Breaker, Chicago

DEAR DEAL BREAKER: Talk to your guy when he is sober and be frank about what you have observed and that it concerns you. Tell him that you think his extreme behavior occurs when he's drinking. Ask him if he would be willing to stop drinking and get help. If he agrees, work with him to see if he can get sober and if sobriety changes his behavior.

Be clear with him, though, that you are unwilling to commit your life to him if he continues to speak to you in an abusive manner. You deserve better than 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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