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home : columns : dear harriette February 26, 2020

12/28/2019 3:59:00 PM
Friend doesn't put forth any effort

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend my mother calls "sometime-y." When he is interested, he is very attentive; when he is distracted, he could not care less. I have sent him texts with friendly messages and photos to lift him up during a tough period. Not once has he responded that he received even one communication. I get that I shouldn't be upset because he is going through a rough patch, but this isn't new behavior. Even during so-called good times, he disappears and doesn't engage in what I consider to be a thoughtful way. It's like he takes and takes, but only gives when he feels like it. I'm not sure how to react. I am tired of putting forth effort without even the tiniest acknowledgment. Do you have any ideas? -- Rude Friend

DEAR RUDE FRIEND: You have to decide when you have had enough. Your friend has shown you his colors. Now what are you going to do about it? Continuing to allow him to hurt your feelings because he doesn't ever respond to you gets old fast. You need to accept this friend for who he is, as he is not going to change. But your behavior can change. If it hurts your feelings when he doesn't close the loop in your communication, stop communicating with him.

Let go of whatever hold this man has over you. Focus on relationships with people who treat you the way you want to be treated. When you stop obsessing over him, he may come around, but don't hold your breath. Move on!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating a woman for several years now. Though it wasn't formal, we even said we were engaged. I just hadn't gotten her a ring yet. I have been in between work for longer than I want to admit, and it has been impossible for me to buy her a ring or plan a wedding.

I thought she understood, but recently we have gotten into some ugly arguments about our relationship. When I try to talk to her about it, she clams up. I suggested that we go to counseling. She said OK, but then she started going by herself. A month ago, she stopped returning my calls, and she doesn't respond to me on social media. Nothing. I am devastated. I don't understand how we could go from about to get married to invisibility. I was already down. This has sent me over the edge. How can I recover? How can I get her to talk to me? -- Ghosted by Girlfriend

DEAR GHOSTED BY GIRLFRIEND: I'm so sorry that your fiancee has decided to walk away from you. That has to be devastating. Unfortunately, sometimes we don't get explanations for people's behavior, even that of our beloved. You should go ahead and find a therapist who can help you process these experiences and figure out a way to heal your heart. You cannot make your ex want to be with you. You can learn how to tend to yourself, build your confidence and actively search for a job. You need to get emotionally strong in order to be attractive to potential employers, so focus on your future right now. Your heart will heal in time.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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