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home : columns June 25, 2017

Friend's behavior causes reader to want distance
DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, one of my friends broke up with her boyfriend. She claims that since she hasn't been single in a long time, she can do whatever she wants with boys. Her actions have been a little out of control. She is betraying her girlfriends, including me. Every time somebody tells her she has changed, she gets really defensive. I have begun to distance myself from her. She keeps asking me what is wrong, or what she did. I am not sure what to do because I want to simply avoid drama, but I also want her to understand what she is doing. -- Girl 4 Girl, Portland, Oregon
Saturday, June 24, 2017


Anderson Jewelers

Friend's tardiness irks reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: A few days ago, I waited for my best friend to come outside of her home for 30 minutes. I ended up leaving and eating at a restaurant alone so I could continue with my day. She never apologizes when this scenario happens because she justifies it I can always carry on with our plan without her. Should I cease the invites until she figures out how to read a clock? -- Get Out, Philadelphia
Friday, June 23, 2017

Reader tired of weight-related comments
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was always overweight as a teen and young adult. I recently lost a considerable amount of weight. Although I am happy with this change, I hate when people comment only on my appearance and tell me how much more attractive I am now that I've shed the pounds. Is there any way I can steer the conversation to my personality or accomplishments that don't have to do with how I look to other people? It seriously irks me that people just give their unsolicited opinions on my body. -- Don't Want It, Glen Burnie, Maryland
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Daughter's viewing history sparks conversation
DEAR HARRIETTE: Against my wishes, my preteen daughter watched an online show that is very graphic in terms of sexual assault, underage drinking and suicide. I only know that she watched it after looking at her online account, and I don't know if I should punish her or use this as a teachable moment. I'm sure sitting down with her mother to talk about these hard-hitting topics would be enough to make her squirm, but my husband thinks I should just take away access to the streaming service. How should I react to my daughter going behind my back? -- All Topics Welcome, Seattle
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reader needs help filling time this summer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I didn't get an internship offer from any of the companies that I interviewed with. I have three months ahead of me, and my best job opportunity looks like baby-sitting or being a housekeeper -- and I can't put these jobs on my already-sparse resume. What do I do now? It is too late to snag an internship, considering all of my friends got approved for theirs weeks ago? -- Bummer Summer, Madison, Wisconsin
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reader doesn't feel close to close friend
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been friends with "Kelly" for about five years. She sees me as one of her closest friends, but honestly, I don't know much about her. Kelly is very reserved and is a homebody. I have met her siblings and boyfriend a few times, but other than that, I find our time together is me sharing my life and mishaps with her. I try to ask her about her life, but this is always met with deflection. Is there anything else I can do to make Kelly open up to me and stop being so distant? -- Let Me In, Boston
Monday, June 19, 2017

Reader loses one of mom's earrings
DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost one of my mom's earrings, which she let me borrow for a party. I know that she is going to be so mad at me if I tell her I lost the earring. She told me to put them in a plastic bag when I took them off so I wouldn't lose them. I skipped that step. Should I wait until she asks for the earrings or just tell her that I lost one of them? -- One Earring Left, Portland, Oregon
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Friend takes dying dog with him everywhere
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend, "Jack," has a very old dog who he takes everywhere. Jack's defense for this is that his dog is dying, and he wants him to experience as much as possible. I understand the love one has for a furry companion, but I can't imagine taking my dogs anywhere while their health is failing. His dog has thrown up in my home on multiple occasions. Should I say something to Jack about how upsetting and inappropriate it is for him to take his dog everywhere? -- Thumbs Preferred, Bethpage, New York 
Friday, June 16, 2017

Family disapproves of reader's style
DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has a formal manner of dressing, and I have never been a fan of changing into a dress just to go downstairs for family dinner. My mother and sister especially rag on my style and tell me to stop being so "sloppy" and to "try a little." I tend to spend my money on outdoor gear or plane tickets, not $300 shoes. Is there any way I could get them to appreciate my laid-back style, or do I just have to learn to let their comments roll off my back? -- Not en Mode, Salem, Massachusetts
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grandmother won't take medication
DEAR HARRIETTE: My grandma has been experiencing early symptoms of dementia and has been growing increasingly irritated with the family. My aunt persuaded her to see a doctor, and Grandma was on medication that made her -- and everyone around her -- happier. When her symptoms went away, she stopped taking her medication. My aunt has reached out to me to try to talk some sense into my aging grandmother. What can I say to her to approach this topic sensitively but firmly? Everyone's patience is wearing thin. -- Getting Better, Milwaukee
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reader feels unsafe after terrorist attacks
DEAR HARRIETTE: After so many recent terrorist attacks, I am afraid of being in public spaces. I do not want my adult children traveling to cities that have been attacked, either. Even using underground public transportation makes me anxious. In these times of uncertainty, what can I do to stop wanting to be a recluse? I do not feel safe. -- Safely Hiding, South Orange, New Jersey
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sister's indecision puts strain on family
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister is very indecisive. She does not understand that her behavior influences others' lives. For example, she bailed on a family vacation after we had already paid for it, citing that she just doesn't feel like it is the right decision anymore. How can I balance her indecisiveness without going insane? I can't just exclude my sister from family gatherings. -- Choose One, Minneapolis
Monday, June 12, 2017

Friend moving back puts reader in awkward position
DEAR HARRIETTE: A close friend who moved away a few years ago is now moving back to my town. We fell out of contact over the last year because she left. A few days ago, she came in contact, informing me that she was moving back. She never put in the effort to keep the friendship going when she moved away, so I stopped, too. 
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Reader offered new job opportunity
DEAR HARRIETTE: After being a teacher in my district for 25 years, I was offered the position of school principal. I had already been thinking about retirement and everything I still want to see in the world. I was planning on retirement in the next 10 years, but if I accept this position, that wouldn't be a possibility. The salary, however, is significantly more than I am making now. Should I take on this position to have a cushier retirement fund and sacrifice a few years still working? -- New Opportunities, Salisbury, Maryland
Friday, June 9, 2017

Daughters obsessed with posting on social media
DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughters are obsessed with taking photos of themselves. Just last week, I walked into my backyard to see a bikini photoshoot they were having with each other. They explained that this is all for social media and for likes. I am not comfortable with the amount of time they spend creating an image that isn't real. Another time, they spent hours doing their makeup on a Sunday, posed against a white wall and edited these photos on their laptops.  
Thursday, June 8, 2017

Prom plans cause reader stress
DEAR HARRIETTE: Before the actual prom, there is a "pre-prom." This is where we take pictures all together and then we head over to prom. Typically, the girls plan pre-prom, and the guys do after-prom. This year, it is a little different because the guys are planning pre-prom. 
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reader questions timing of romantic confession
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently focused on building my savings account and becoming financially secure. I work a 9-to-5 job, and I bartend on the weekends, so this doesn't leave much time for myself. Recently, my friend "Alec" told me that he sees me as something more than a friend. I could see us in a relationship, but I am honestly too focused on creating stability right now. Do I let this opportunity pass me by? I barely have time for myself, let alone a relationship. -- Riding Solo, Dallas
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Friend needs help dealing with family issues
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend has been fighting with her parents more than usual. This friend likes to keep her life very private, but we can tell she has a lot of thoughts bottled up. She doesn't like to talk to us -- her friends -- about it because she wants us to think that she has the perfect family. She doesn't understand that every family has their fights and every child fights with her parents. We can relate. She needs someone to talk to who can keep it confidential -- maybe even a therapist. My friends want to tell her, but we know she will get upset and offended. What should we do? -- Stargirl, Providence, Rhode Island
Monday, June 5, 2017

Reader feels pressure to enroll in grad school
DEAR HARRIETTE: Many of my friends are going to graduate school post-graduation, but I have not made this decision for myself yet. My career values experience more than a master's degree, but I feel like all of my peers are continuing school and I would, quite frankly, feel stupid if I were the only one without a graduate degree. Should social pressure lead me to obtain more education, or should I try to find my way in the professional world? -- Needing More, New York City 
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Reader stressed by mom's bridezilla ways
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is getting remarried in a few weeks, and she has turned into a total bridezilla! My sister has been at her wit's end with her while I just try to maintain some peace in the family. I have been feeling myself burning out and have been constantly sick. My mother is asking way too much of us as she plans this fairy-tale wedding. I want her to be happy, but it's wearing on me. Should I sacrifice my health right now to keep the wedding flowing smoothly? -- Health Vs. Happiness, Milwaukee 
Friday, June 2, 2017

Student's behavior requires an intervention
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a preschool teacher, and I have had to reprimand "Adam" more times than I can remember. He is constantly touching me inappropriately on my chest or behind. I tell him this is not allowed, but he never listens to me, or he simply giggles and runs away. Adam's parents aren't very involved, so I'd feel like a burden reaching out to them, but I feel this developmental step is important for Adam to learn. Do I just bite the bullet and have them come in to speak with me? -- Paws Off, Richmond, Virginia
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reader put in tough position with boss
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boss' son works in my department. A few days ago, my boss called me into his office to ask if I thought his son deserved a promotion. I hesitated, and my boss said I could have a few days to observe and come back to him with a final answer. I have been working in the department far longer than his son, so I would like to use this opportunity to mention that I should be considered for a promotion. Is this the right setting to do this? His son does not deserve a promotion after only a few months on the job. -- My Time to Shine, Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reader should tell husband she wants anniversary celebration
DEAR HARRIETTE: My wedding anniversary is coming up soon, and I really want to do something special with my husband this time. Historically, he never wants to do anything. I always want to create some kind of celebration, and if anything happens, it's because I plan it. I wish my husband would initiate an idea for us. Since that's not likely to happen, what can I do to make the day special so that he will enjoy it as well? -- Anniversary Blues, Cleveland
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Reader unsure how to handle friend's self-harm
DEAR HARRIETTE: I saw what appeared to be self-harm marks on my friend’s hip while we were at the beach. I didn’t want to bring more attention to these lines by asking for another opinion, but I am worried about her. Should I probe into her life even though we aren’t best friends? No one else seems as concerned as I am. -- Talk to Me, Coney Island, New York
Monday, May 29, 2017

Reader needs out of business partnership
DEAR HARRIETTE: At the last minute, I agreed to have an acquaintance help out on a project I was working on because it sounded like she might be able to bring in some much-needed funding. It turns out that her participation was shocking. She was loud and obnoxious the whole time. She did not bring in one dollar. She did turn me on to a couple of good resources for the project, but honestly, it wasn't worth it. 
Saturday, May 27, 2017

Neighbor won't leave reader alone
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who doesn't understand boundaries. She is lonely and constantly wants to engage with me and my family, as well as other neighbors. It has gotten to be too much. She will stop by unannounced and uninvited and bang on the door or ring the bell. The time of day is of no matter to her. And if I answer and tell her it's not a good time or that I have company, she barges in anyway and inserts herself into the experience. I haven't figured out a way to get her to understand that mine is not an open door for her. I don't want to be rude, but she has gone way overboard in wearing out her welcome. SOS! -- Overboard, Brooklyn, New York
Friday, May 26, 2017

Reader reading books faster than buying them
DEAR HARRIETTE: I like to read. When I am not doing anything else, I love to sit outside and read a good book. I read them fast, and I do not want to keep spending money on books. It has added up. I have to spend my money on more important things, but losing the enjoyment is hard. What should I do? -- Bookworm, Burlington, Vermont
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mom's shaming causes friend to monitor food
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend's mom recently told her that she had put on a few pounds and needed to lose it. When my friend mentioned it to me, I took it as a joke, like I thought she would, because she does not need to lose weight. A few days later, I walked into her house and there were sticky notes on the food cabinets and the refrigerator. One of them said, "Do not eat unless you are hungry." The other one said, "Are you hungry?" I tried to act as if everything was normal, but that just isn't normal. I am not sure how to act or what to do. Do I do anything? -- Weight Loss, Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ex-boyfriend won't stop messaging reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: An ex-boyfriend keeps messaging me at 4 a.m., when intoxicated, saying something like, "I miss you." I never acknowledge it, but it continues to happen.  

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mom feels unappreciated on Mother's Day
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am disappointed that my family did not get me a card or anything for Mother's Day. I am married with two children who are 9 and 12. I can see how the children might not think of it, though I always remember their birthdays and every other special day you can imagine. But my husband did not think to get a card for them or a present or anything. They didn't offer to take me to dinner, so I ended up cooking. It hurt my feelings. Usually I organize everything, but I am tired of having to be the coordinator, even for what should be my celebration. How can I get them to understand that? -- Snubbed, Denver
Monday, May 22, 2017

Sober friend doesn't need reader sharing information
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends, "Emily," used to be an alcoholic and a drug addict. Now, she is completely sober. I am very happy for her, but she insists on going to bars with everybody and doesn't like it when people call attention to her sobriety. Should I tell others to stop buying shots for Emily or offering her sips of their drinks? I think spreading the word to our immediate friends might help Emily feel more comfortable. -- Sober in a Bar, Newark, New Jersey 
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reader makes mistake negotiating salary
DEAR HARRIETTE: I realized I lowballed myself when a company I was interviewing for asked for my desired salary. I did not want to seem greedy and wanted a follow-up interview, so I made an offer on the lower side. This appeared to work, and I am waiting for their final decision after my second interview. If accepted, do I have any wiggle room with my salary, or must I stick to my original ask? -- Worth More, Boston
Friday, May 19, 2017

Reader won't loan car to terrible driver
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reader should not feel obligated to visit ex's family
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to my ex-boyfriend's family dinner. I am friends with his family and his siblings, but going there for dinner would make me feel uncomfortable. The thought was there, and they are very nice to me, but they keep on inviting me. I politely decline, but how do I tell them nicely that I do not feel comfortable eating there anymore? -- Ex-Friend, Salt Lake City 
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Persistent man scares reader into giving phone number
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reader worried about sensitive friend
Monday, May 15, 2017

Violent film on airplane upsets children
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reader wants kids to help hurting neighbor
Friday, May 12, 2017

Friend's emotional outburst hurts reader
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Reader upset by kids' behavior toward waitstaff
DEAR HARRIETTE: At dinner with my children recently, I noticed them treating the waitstaff poorly. They would roll their eyes, not say thank you and barely acknowledge the servers. I was mortified and asked where they learned this. They all shrugged. A conversation is necessary, but I am not sure whether to start with my ex-husband -- who is notorious for being a menace to any staff -- or with my children. Should I start at the root of the problem, or just focus on my children's behavior? -- We Say Thank You, Shreveport, Louisiana 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Friends don't respect reader's new car
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have just purchased my first car ever. Although it is a used car, it is in immaculate condition, and I hope to keep it this way for a long time. Many of my friends have had their cars purchased for them by their parents, and they don't respect their vehicles -- or mine. I am sick of dirty shoes being put up on my dash and food being dropped onto the seats. How can I make rules that will be enforced? I feel like a parent in my own car. -- Clean Car, Detroit 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Small friends can't borrow reader's clothes
Monday, May 8, 2017

Member of online chat group plans meetup
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a part of a chat group for a year or so. We originally bonded from our love of playing video games, but we have now turned into a global support system for each other. We have spoken through video chats, and I have found all of these people on social media, so I know I am not being "catfished." I want to organize our first meetup in person. Would it be crazy to invite them to stay at my place? I don't have the funds for an international flight, so I figured I'd be doing my part by allowing them to stay in my house. -- Online Family, West Palm Beach, Florida 
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Parent pays phone bills but gets no calls
DEAR HARRIETTE: I pay the phone bills of my adult children. They range in age from 18 to 29. I don't mind paying these bills, but my wife recently questioned why I'm doing so if they never answer my calls or text messages. I typically get ignored for a few days. For my youngest, I've tracked down his friend's phone numbers so I can contact him through them when he isn't responsive to me. Should I take my wife's advice and stop paying their phone bills since they don't use these phones to communicate with me? -- Ring Ring, Norman, Oklahoma 
Friday, May 5, 2017

Teen ruins party out of spite
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Seeking closure requires solid game plan
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

End-of-life matters require careful consideration
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been faced with the harrowing decision of taking my great-uncle off of life support. He has no other living and willing relatives to take care of him, so I am essentially making this decision on my own. Nobody has taken any interest in either direction, but there is a slim chance of him making it out of his coma. He is 92 already, and I have no idea what I want to do. 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Reader cannot ignore colleague's sexism
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Son's hair causes problems at school
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mother's gift offer both offends and intrigues
Friday, April 28, 2017

Father frustrated by son's senior slacking
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reader caught snooping on father's computer

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently caught snooping for the prenuptial agreement of my father and his new wife. My father caught me on his computer sifting through his legal documents, so what I was looking for was obvious. He didn't demand an explanation, and I just left the room because I didn't want to explain myself.  

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mom upset when kids receive gendered gifts
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New blogger struggling to gain readership
DEAR HARRIETTE: After being told to start a blog by multiple friends and family members, I took the plunge. Although I felt like I had a lot of support, nobody is reading or commenting on my posts. I thought I could've turned myself into a brand, and now I'm flopping. Should I continue striving for this dream or cut the cord five months in? -- Blogging Is Hard, Milwaukee 
Monday, April 24, 2017

Friends take pranks too far on april fools' day
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a sophomore in college, and I feel like I'm still getting tested by my peers. This past April Fools' Day, my friends dragged my mattress out onto the street, filled my blow-dryer with baby powder and put mayonnaise in my shoes. I enjoy a good prank, but I seriously believe this went too far. My shoes are ruined, my blow-dryer is not back to normal and I had to haul my mattress back upstairs all alone. Do I have the right to be upset, or should I ease up in the spirit of the holiday? -- Too Much, Atlanta 
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Husband's birthday gift disappoints reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: My birthday just passed, and my husband got me a "pricey" perfume that I wanted. I use quotations because upon opening it, I saw that it was a knockoff brand. I don't think he knows this perfume is not the one I wanted at all because the outside packaging was nearly identical. Should I tell him or just throw the fake perfume out, hoping he won't notice? -- Fake Gift, Real Sentiment, Detroit
Friday, April 21, 2017

Reader wants roommate's boyfriend to pay bills
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stepdad's attempt at bonding falls flat
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Now is the time to bring up idea of a move
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Don't write off beau after honest mistake
Monday, April 17, 2017

Group must agree when splitting prize money
Friday, April 14, 2017

Poor eyesight creates awkward moments
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Weekend job is no cause for embarrassment
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Delivery people need not know your business
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Student wants to fly solo during time abroad
Monday, April 10, 2017

Reader accidentally sees friend's abusive message
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently using my friend's laptop, and a message from her boyfriend came up on the top right corner. I did not open it to read it in its entirety, but it appeared as though he was being emotionally abusive and gaslighting her in the message. How do I tell her about his manipulative techniques without my friend getting mad at me for reading her messages? -- Faux Beau, Milwaukee 
Friday, April 7, 2017

Reader wonders if gift cards are too impersonal
DEAR HARRIETTE: Is a gift card an impersonal gift? Sometimes I find myself too busy or at a loss for ideas when it comes time to give presents. For example, I got my friend a gift card to a store I know she likes. I felt bad, but also knew it would be put to good use. Should I have gone to the store and picked something out that she may have returned instead? -- Gift Card, Raleigh, North Carolina
Friday, April 7, 2017

Lunch eater wants to move away from loud people
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Friend may not have confided for professional opinion
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mom worried about leaving son alone with husband
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Reader questions need to buy souvenirs
DEAR HARRIETTE: When going abroad, is there still an expectation to bring back souvenirs for friends and family? I feel like I have never appreciated a keychain or refrigerator magnet, but I do not want to offend anybody. -- Tchotchkes, Dallas 
Monday, April 3, 2017

Mom doesn't know not to comment on weight
Saturday, April 1, 2017

Reader feeling fine after mother's death
Friday, March 31, 2017

Kids need direction when traveling to the city
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reader uncomfortable with boss's personal texts
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ex snoops on reader's linkedin profile
Tuesday, March 28, 2017












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