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home : columns : dear harriette April 18, 2021

2/8/2021 8:12:00 AM
Friend upset after losing money in bet

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I are pretty competitive when it comes to sports and gambling; it's what we have always done since college. We get hurt -- like bumps and bruises -- but end up fine. We laugh it off and get back up, no problem. We gamble and make bets on games and random things. We do silly and crazy dares.

Recently, I got a new job that came with a signing bonus. While we were having one of our competitive nights, we made some bets, and I felt invincible putting up my big check. My friend, being my friend, matched it. I won, and he lost. I knew he could not afford to pay up, but he wrote me a check anyway. Now he won't talk to me. I gave the money back to him, but his pride won't let him keep it. I feel like a villain for winning. I don't know how to fix this. What should I do? -- Sore Loser

DEAR SORE LOSER: Time will be the healer in this situation. What happened goes far beyond that competitive moment. In your moment of invincibility, you revealed to your friend that you have won a bigger competition, which neither of you may have realized you were in -- namely, that of the bigger paycheck and the uptick in your career.

All of the games that you two have played over the years show how competition lives at your core. Naturally, it would show its face when things get real. All you can do is let time take care of it. You were out of turn in waving the flag of your bonus in his face. After things cool off a bit, you can text or call him and invite him to engage again, like usual. Eventually, you should be able to establish a refreshed rapport.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband curses a lot these days. Even though we have two young children and I ask him repeatedly to curb his language, he just doesn't seem to care anymore. He used to reserve his profanity for our private conversations, but now he can't be bothered. My youngest, who is 7, just used curse words when speaking to me. I was mortified. I do not want my children to think that cursing is acceptable. How can I get my husband to stop? -- No More Potty Language

DEAR NO MORE POTTY LANGUAGE: Carve out a private moment with your husband when the children are asleep and you two are alert. Tell him you want to talk about something serious. Then go for it. Reveal that your youngest is now cursing, and you are concerned. Point out that your husband's constant profanity is fueling this. You want to teach the children to use appropriate, respectful language, and you need his support. Ask him to agree NOT to curse around them. Pick replacement words and phrases that you agree on. Push until he agrees.

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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