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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

8/3/2020 8:16:00 AM
Reader upset when friends learn about high blood pressure

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have high blood pressure, and I take medication for it. Pretty much nobody in my friend group knows about it because I just don't think it's any of their business. I'm a very private person.

The other day when we finally got to meet up in the park -- socially distanced, of course -- I dropped my purse and everything fell out, including my high blood pressure medicine. One of my friends went to help me retrieve everything, and she picked up my meds. She looked at the bottle and asked me why I didn't tell her I had HBP. I was offended. I don't have to talk about my medical condition. Even though she knew what the medication was for, I still felt like it was wrong for her to pry. I told her I didn't want to talk about it. Am I wrong for being so tight-lipped? She is my good friend, but I don't want anybody in my business. -- Outed

DEAR OUTED: You have the right to your privacy, to be sure. But step back a moment and ask yourself why you are so overly sensitive to your good friend knowing about your condition. Since she knew immediately what the medication was for, chances are, she or someone close to her may be suffering from the disease. Instead of hiding out and dealing with your illness in isolation, consider gaining support by talking about it with a select group of friends, or even just one. You can request confidentiality. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that she will say nothing, but it certainly should make her more thoughtful about it.

Millions of Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Having support as you work to make smart choices about diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can be helpful as you work to control this disease. For more information on how to manage your HBP, go to

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am part of a new team at my job, and things are not going very well. There was consolidation recently that resulted in a small group of us being folded into another department. The way my new boss works is totally different from my old boss, and I am having to figure it out for myself because my new boss doesn't give me any instructions about procedures. I feel like I'm constantly stepping on landmines because I don't know what this boss expects. How can I smooth things over? I feel like we need to start all over again. -- Restart

DEAR RESTART: Since your new boss did not take the initiative to give you the lay of the land, you need to request it. Ask for guidelines and procedures on how this team operates. Request written materials that outline processes so that you can be in better alignment. Do your best to cultivate a rapport with your boss and with other team members. It's not the easiest thing to do in this virtual world, but make an effort. Stay engaged as you work to figure out how to find a way of working with this new team.

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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