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home : columns : dear harriette August 15, 2018

Parents want child to attend medical school
Medical school is the last thing that I want to do, and my parents don't understand. I keep telling them that I don't want to go to medical school, but they aren't listening. They say I should look at my brothers and be more like them, but I don't want to be. I want to do my own thing. Why don't they understand?
Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Former homebody blossoms in new city
What should I do? Stay here in San Francisco or go home to where I am comfortable?
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Employee wants to forget what she saw
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work at a law firm in New York City. Recently, I was working late on a case, so I went out to get dinner. When I got back to the office, I heard a strange sound coming from my boss's office. I was worried -- I'm a 25-year-old single woman -- so I peered into the office.
Monday, August 13, 2018

Boyfriend's ex makes passes at family functions
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is friends with his ex-girlfriend -- not because they want to be friends, but because their families are friends. They grew up together, and their families are extremely close. He dated this girl for two years before they broke up. I met my boyfriend in college, and we have been dating for just over two years.
Saturday, August 11, 2018

New author may have named too many names
DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a hard life growing up, but I have done well for myself. Many people suggested that I write a book about my experiences, and I decided to go for it -- and now I am finished. I decided to self-publish because it was too hard to find a publisher.
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Alzheimer's caregiver needs support, not judgment
I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's really none of my business, but there he was with this woman. I can't imagine what it's like to go through this. I don't want to judge him. How should I react?
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Reader angry when friend dumps his ex
I'm mad at him for not sticking it out with her. She has been through so much. I feel bad for her. Should I say anything to him?
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Reader questions own sobriety after celebrity relapse
I think I have gotten far enough away from the lure of that life, but I wonder: If it could happen to someone like Demi, could it happen to me?
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sister's behavior worries high school senior
I don't want to rat her out, but I do think that she needs to calm down because I'm starting to worry about her. Do you think that I should have a talk with my sister before I get my parents involved?
Monday, August 6, 2018

Mom wants new way to share manicures with daughter
How can I keep up this tradition in a healthier manner?
Saturday, August 4, 2018

Student catches teacher buying drugs
Do you think I should try talking to his superior, my parents or his colleagues, or do I do my best to forget about it?
Friday, August 3, 2018

Teenage girl wants female confidante
My whole life has always been dominated by men, which was never an issue before now. I want to talk about girl things with an adult, but I don't know who to turn to.
Thursday, August 2, 2018

High school senior doesn't want to attend college
I don't want to go to college. I know that everyone would advise me to go, but I don't want to. When I talk about this with my parents, they don't listen because they think it's ridiculous. I don't know what would genuinely make me want to go. Is it that terrible that I don't want to get a college degree?
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Husband questions staying together for the kids
I want to do what is best for my family, which I think would be staying together with my wife, but I am unsure of how much longer my heart can bear this relationship. Any words of advice?
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Recent graduate having trouble landing a job
I've had internship experiences and did well in school, but can't seem to find anything. It's embarrassing when people ask me what I've been up to and I have to say I'm looking for work. Am I ever going to get a job?
Monday, July 30, 2018

Parents' fighting upsets family
DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents have been arguing a lot for the past couple of months. Although they argue, I don't think they would ever consider separating or getting a divorce. I know that it's not my place to say anything, but I am the oldest of four sisters, and I think that my parents need to change.
Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sharing about struggles helps friend feel less alone
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my girlfriends confided in me that she is having marital struggles. I felt bad for her. Clearly, she is going through a tough time. I did my best to listen well and to talk less, but in the end, I told her that I have been having my own struggles, and if we are being honest, a few of our mutual friends have had some ups and downs of late. I didn't say this to diminish her personal issues, but it is true that for those of us who have been married for a few years (some for more than 10), stuff comes up.
Friday, July 27, 2018

Baby sitter feels uneasy around employers
I didn't get a good feeling about the parents, but the kids seem easy and adorable. Do you think I should take the job even if I don't feel comfortable around the parents?
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Don't make assumptions about wedding plus-ones
What is the proper etiquette about wedding invites? If he is one of my best friends, shouldn't I get a plus-one?
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Reader should seek help for midlife crisis
Sometimes I don't feel like getting out of bed because it costs more for me to get up and eat, drive -- everything. I know I'm in a bad place. Can you help me?
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Memories of husband affect dating 15 years later
My husband was a wonderful man. He was kind and attentive. I'm not saying he was perfect, but he was perfect for me. Every time I date, I hold men up to my husband as the standard. They never win the contest. How can I learn to look at them for who they are?
Monday, July 23, 2018

Divorced parents plan events poorly
I try to split up and spend time at both, but it's never good enough. I try telling them, but they don't listen to me. What do you think I should do?
Saturday, July 21, 2018

Co-worker's lunch smells horrible
I now take my lunch break outside of the office just to escape the smell. What do I do in this situation? I know it might just be me being sensitive, but I also don't want to keep having to leave the office each time my team member eats her lunch!
Friday, July 20, 2018

Binge watching causes disconnect from family
I will search around and find a show, and then discover myself asleep at the TV many hours later. I haven't been getting my housework done. Honestly, I haven't talked to my family recently. We all just do our separate things and don't communicate much. I know this probably sounds stupid, but I can't seem to stop. I come home, cook dinner, sit down and watch. What can I do to change this bad habit?
Thursday, July 19, 2018

African-American teen bullied at boarding school
I have one friend, and she helps me get through the days, but most of the time I get pushed, called names, and once I even got things thrown at me. I don't want to worry my parents, but I'm so unhappy here. What should I do?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Teen daughter sleeps her summer away
Should I be worried that all she wants to do is sleep? She's 14 years old.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mom wonders when to introduce boyfriend to adult kids
This is the first boyfriend I have had since my ex-husband, and the first man my kids will be introduced to. I need some advice regarding how I should introduce my boyfriend to my children. Where is a good setting? Do I have them meet him all together? We have been dating for three months; is now an appropriate time to have them meet?
Monday, July 16, 2018

Commuter questions where woman sits
DEAR HARRIETTE: I take the same train every morning to work. I've figured out where to stand on the platform so that the doors stop directly in front of me. I guess a lot of other people have figured out the same thing.
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mother's lung cancer devastates daughter
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. I am trying to stay strong for her, but each day it gets harder and harder. My mom and I have always been extremely close, and when she was diagnosed, I absolutely lost it. I can't imagine losing her; I don't think I will be able to cope. It scares me to the point where I get sick over the thought of it. My siblings are also devastated by the news, but they don't seem as upset as me. My mom keeps telling me to go out and do something fun for myself, but I just want to be with her all the time. How am I supposed to do something fun for myself when I know there is a chance I could be losing my mom in a couple of months? -- Depressed Daughter, Minneapolis
Friday, July 13, 2018

Baby sitter feels uncomfortable when dad is suggestive
I told my mom, and she told me to never baby-sit for this family again. I feel bad because the mom texts me often to baby-sit for the girls. Should I tell her that I am no longer interested in watching them?
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Family has much to consider after job offer
What do you think is the best situation for my family? Stay where we are? Or leave?
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Younger brother in the midst of midlife crisis
Do you have any idea of how I can help him? Do I intervene to prevent him from messing up his life?
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Long-distance boyfriend's new friends cause jealousy
My boyfriend has done nothing to make me not trust him, so why does his hanging out with these women make me jealous? Am I crazy and possessive?
Monday, July 9, 2018

Co-worker's drinking habits don't make her alcoholic
She frequents the company's liquor cabinet and has a drink every day. She doesn't drink in the morning, but as soon as it's the afternoon, she pours herself a mixed drink. I feel this is abnormal, and I'm wondering if I should mention it to someone. What do you think I should do about this situation?
Saturday, July 7, 2018

Woman worried her body isn't bikini-ready
I want to be comfortable in my skin and love my body, but it's so hard when I see my friends in bathing suits. I know that I can't compare myself to other people, but how can I stop when I see skinny girls at the beach or on Instagram?
Friday, July 6, 2018

Parents don't understand why recent grad wants time off
I'm 21 and will have the rest of my life to work; I just want some time off. Do you think I would need to have another conversation with them about taking some time off for them to understand?
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Harriette pleads for hope on Independence Day
On this day that we celebrate the independence of our country, I want to appeal to the best within us.
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Mom finding it hard to deal after brother's murder
My uncle was a single man without children, so it's just like he's gone. That's it. It's almost like he never existed. My mom can't handle it. She's been drinking a lot and crying. How can I be there for her during this hard time?
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Reader being deported struggles to calm daughter
I am being deported back to Mexico within the next few weeks. My kids are legal citizens here, so they will be able to stay with my mother. I'm scared to leave them because who knows when I'll see them again. I have two daughters, and my youngest wants to come with me. How do I explain that she'll have a better life here, even if I'm in Mexi
Monday, July 2, 2018

Dating a student could cause problems for professor
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a sophomore in college, and I'm in a relationship with my professor. He's 27 and just graduated from grad school last year, so we're within the same age group, since I just turned 20. 
Saturday, June 30, 2018

Woman upset that baby sister is engaged before her
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm 27 years old, and I am the middle child of three girls. My sisters and I are extremely close, and we rarely ever argue. About two months ago, my baby sister got engaged to her college boyfriend. I'm trying to be happy for her, but I am struggling. I never would have thought that I would be getting married after my little sister. I know she didn't do anything wrong, but I am so upset. I feel embarrassed that she is engaged before me, and I feel embarrassed that I am even mad about the situation in the first place! 
Friday, June 29, 2018

Man upset by friend hanging out with ex-girlfriend
I feel like my friend was trying to hide the fact he was going to be at a party with my ex-girlfriend. Is it irrational that I am upset about this?
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Staying late at work shows dedication to job
I've been working here only a week, but every day, most the office stays past 6. I feel awkward getting up and leaving at 6, considering I'm the only one and I'm new. Do you think I should talk to the CEO to go over my hours again?
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Brother feeling depressed after accident
He used to be such a positive, happy person, and I want to get him back to that place, regardless of his current situation. How can I make him see that the more positive he is, the more likely he is to heal?
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Anniversary of brother's death deserves recognition
My mom and dad struggled a lot with his death, and I want to show them that he will always be with us. What is a meaningful thing to do on the anniversary of his death?
Monday, June 25, 2018

Artist wants to follow passion and make money
I want to be an artist because it's one of the things that helps me express myself. My mother says to follow my dream, but my father thinks it's a hobby that won't help me financially. I somewhat agree with him, but it is my passion and I don't want to look back on my life and regret not following through. Is there a way to be an artist as well as have a job?
Saturday, June 23, 2018

Friend's death brings up question of condolences
I'm not quite sure what to do now. I want to show my respect. We know his family a little bit, but we only hung out at the club. His mother is still living. Would it seem odd to reach out to her? I met her once before.
Friday, June 22, 2018

Husband's conference offers opportunity for travel
Next month, my husband has a business conference in the Bahamas. I was invited to go along, but we would have to leave our kids behind. If I go, it would be the first trip without our kids since they were born. Part of me wants to go to spend quality time with my husband, but the other part of me feels an immense amount of guilt for leaving my two kids alone for a week. Both of our moms live nearby and have offered to help. What do you think I should do?
Thursday, June 21, 2018

After mom's death, daughter feels guilty for not visiting
I feel guilty about not visiting my mom as much as my other siblings, but life becomes busy. How do I get over this feeling of guilt?
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reader must summon courage to attend funeral
My best friend's wife's funeral is in a few days, and I can't get myself to go. Does this make me a bad person?
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kids will need nurturing while dad's locked up
My husband got arrested last week while we were at home. He stole money from his company. Now it's all over the news, and I'm worried about how my son and daughter are dealing with their dad being locked up. So far, the sentencing offer is for 10 years, but our lawyer is trying to bring that down. If he can't, my kids won't have their dad around. How will I be able to raise my kids alone?
Monday, June 18, 2018

World Almanac
Today is the 169th day of 2018 and the 91st day of spring.
Monday, June 18, 2018

Reader questions losing her virginity
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a 20-year-old virgin. I'm not ashamed of it, and it's not because of religious values -- I just have not found the right person I want to share the experience with. My friends tease me about it and tell me to just do it already, but I just don't want to. I tell my friends that I'm waiting around until I find the right guy I want to do it with, but how will I know he is the right guy? Do you think I am doing the right thing, or should I follow what my friends are saying and just "do it already"? -- Debating Celibacy, Richmond, Virginia
Saturday, June 16, 2018

Woman finds sexy photos on husband's phone
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 52-year-old woman who has been married to my husband for over 25 years. Together, we have three beautiful and healthy children. While my husband worked, I stayed home and raised our kids. Many nights throughout the week, my husband would come home later than I anticipated. However, I did not put too much thought into it because he is in the medical profession, and I know the hours vary. 
Friday, June 15, 2018

Little brother going through money problems
I try to help him out as much as I can by taking him out to eat or leaving some cash at his apartment, but he rejects my assistance. Is there a way I can go about giving him money so that he'll take it?
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Woman questions need to use labels in relationship
He does not refer to me as his girlfriend, and I do not refer to him as my boyfriend. My friends and family think this is very abnormal because of how long we've been an item. What is your take on my situation? Is this a huge red flag?
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Mom won't go to son's wedding if ex attends
I want both my parents there, but I'm not sure how I can change my mother's mind.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pregnant 18-year-old unsure how to talk to family
I'm scared to disappoint my family because I know they wanted more for me, but they will not support my decision to have an abortion if that's what I want. I'm unsure of what to do now. Should I tell them, or should I take care of this on my own?
Monday, June 11, 2018

Reader questions why couples take breaks
I don't understand this relationship status, and I wanted to hear what your perspective on this is.
Saturday, June 9, 2018

Daughter devastated by dad's cheating
I have to tell my mom; it's not fair to her, but I don't want to be the reason they break things off. How do I ever look at my dad the same? How do I comfort my mom during this time?
Friday, June 8, 2018

Reader scared to come out to family
I'm scared to lose my family for being who I am. How should I come out to them?
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Reader wants lip injections to feel beautiful
My mother thinks I look beautiful as I am and doesn't support my decision, but I'm 18, and I can make this decision on my own. Do you think if it makes me feel more confident I should get the lip injections?
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reader dreads spending summer with strict mom
I want to find a job, but my mother doesn't allow it because she thinks I'm too young. How do I make her see it's necessary for me to work?
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Father worried daughter's older boyfriend is bad for her
I want to help my daughter, but I don't know where to begin at all. Coming from her father, I want to be there for her and protect her from getting hurt, but I also don't want to seem overprotective. Do you have any advice for a father trying to talk to his daughter about a sensitive topic?
Monday, June 4, 2018

Should son postpone trip due to violence?
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son and his friends from college have all signed up for a trip to Israel after the school year ends, called Birthright Israel. With all of the protests and violence occurring on the Palestinian border, I am scared to let my son go on the trip. Although the program that he is going through has assured the parents that the trip is extremely safe and they will be taking extra precautions, I would rather my son and his friends postpone the trip.
Saturday, June 2, 2018

Reader wants to know how to comfort friend
DEAR HARRIETTE: My acquaintance "Mark" recently committed suicide. I wasn't that close with him, but we were both on sports teams -- I'm a lacrosse player, and he was on the baseball team. He was dating one of my teammates, but they broke up three months ago after being together for two years. He was one of those guys who was always smiling and had so many friends. He was the life of the party and a pretty good baseball player. 
Friday, June 1, 2018

Boyfriend demands girlfriend stay in with him
I'm not sure what to do because it seems like this will be an issue for the rest of our lives if we stay together. Should I break up with him, or should I accept that I'm not allowed to go out?
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Job offer may be too good to be true
The offer sounds great, but I think it might be too much for me to uproot my entire life to move to London with a family I have known for only six months. Do you think I should take the risk and move?
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Gymnast thinks coach isn't involved enough
How do I approach my coach about my concern for his lack of participation?
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Parents debate sending kids to camp
Last week we had a discussion about whether to send our kids to camp for two months in the summer. I am opposed to the idea, but my wife is sure that it will be amazing for our children. What should we do?
Monday, May 28, 2018

Business burdened with poor behavior
I told her to mind her business and get back to work. I don't tolerate disrespect, and I don't want to make this situation any bigger than it already is. What should I do?
Saturday, May 26, 2018

Former tormenter reaches out to well-off reader
He hasn't directly asked me for money, but I'm sure that it was implied. I know that I can provide him with some money, but I'm still hurt from his mean words in school. What should I do?
Friday, May 25, 2018

Reader wants to help homeless population
I have discussed this idea with a few people, but they have shut me down, saying things like, "If they wanted to get off the street, they would have stayed off drugs." People don't realize that is not always the case. Any tips on how I can get my nonprofit started?
Thursday, May 24, 2018

Following dad's passing, reader must find own happiness
A few days ago, the realization finally hit me: I have done everything for my dad to make him happy. Making him happy made me happy, but since he is no longer here, finding my own happiness has been difficult. How can I become happy with myself and live for myself from here on out?
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Potential threat at camp taints experience
I don't want them to be alarmed, but I also don't know how to bring up such a harsh topic to 10-year-olds. What should I do?
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mom doesn't understand why reader wants nose job
I have been saving up for five years, and I finally have enough money to get a nose job. Since I don't have any close friends, I asked my mother to come with me to the doctor's office to get a consultation. She has agreed, but she doesn't understand why I am so self-conscious about it. How can I get her understand my decision?
Monday, May 21, 2018

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I are celebrating a big anniversary this year, and I really wanted to host a dance party for us because we love to dance together. The reality is that I can't do that.
Saturday, May 19, 2018

Girlfriend never looks up from her screens
DEAR HARRIETTE: In today's world, social media and technology are a big part of everybody's life, especially my girlfriend's. She is constantly attached to her phone or watching shows on her laptop. I understand that there are important matters that need to be attended to on her devices, but I want her to enjoy living in the moment more and appreciate the things around her, not just her phone.
Friday, May 18, 2018
































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