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home : columns : dear harriette December 12, 2019

Teenage son falling into the wrong crowd
My son has started hanging out with a group of boys who are constantly getting into trouble. He is in the ninth grade at a new school, and I know he has had to figure out how to fit in, but what he is doing is not good for him. They have gotten in trouble for smoking marijuana on school property and drinking at a party with a bunch of other kids.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Lonely cousin calls too often
I have a love-hate relationship with my cousin. We have become close in recent years, but he also gets on my nerves.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Daughter too self-involved to make time for nanny
When my daughter was a baby, we had a nanny who took care of her for many years. Time has passed so quickly; my daughter is about to go to college.
Monday, December 9, 2019

Reader wonders when to go to the hospital
In the past few weeks, I have learned about several friends or people that I know who have died in their sleep. It is scaring me so much. These people were pretty young -- in their 40s and 50s. Each seemed relatively healthy, though one woman had the flu or some other similar respiratory problem. They have got me so worried, I can hardly sleep.
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Boyfriend acts cagey after business trip
My boyfriend told me that he was going on a business trip last week. When he got home, he dodged any questions about his trip. I did something I know I shouldn't have: I looked at his phone and went through his text messages. While I can't be 100% sure, it looks to me like he is seeing someone else. Maybe it's a colleague or another person, but some of the messages while he was away seem personal and intimate -- and they are not written to me or by me. I'm not sure what to do about this. I fear that if I ask him, he will just lie. But the words on his phone definitely point to something fishy going on. How should I proceed?
Friday, December 6, 2019

Mom wants to make sure identical twins are individuals
I have 10-year-old twin sons. Over the years, my husband and I have often given them the same gifts for holidays. We have done that in part because they are so similar. They are identical, and they spend most of their time together. This year, one of my twins took me aside and asked me to get him something very different from his brother. He further asked if I wouldn't tell his brother because he didn't want him to decide he wanted the same thing.
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Group's dysfunction causes volunteer to consider quitting
I belong to a public service organization that is largely dysfunctional. I know that's a bold statement, but I'm not kidding. I joined thinking that we were going to do good work for children in need in our community, but it looks like what we do more than anything is argue and bicker over little things that shouldn't matter. I have tried to speak up for the people we are supposed to represent, but I feel like the arguing is drowning out the good work that we are trying to do. I feel like it is time for me to resign my position. Some friends in the organization are encouraging me to run for president instead. I just don't think that I can make a big enough difference, even if I could win. I'm also not a quitter. What should I do?
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Preteen daughter needs a bra
My daughter is 10 years old, and she is already developing like a teenager. I am torn as to how to deal with this. When I was growing up, my mother made me wear undershirts until I was a teenager. She said that a nice girl shouldn't wear a bra until she is a teen. My daughter clearly needs to wear a bra. Without one, she is actually drawing more attention to her body than if she had more control of her budding breasts. I feel like I should get her fitted for a bra, but I keep hearing my mother's voice in my head. How can I reconcile this and support my child?
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Friend lashes out over husband's medical issues
My girlfriend has been confiding in me about her sex life with her husband. He has erectile dysfunction, and she is upset about it. He won't go to the doctor because he is too embarrassed.
Monday, December 2, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a conservative office where most people wear dark suits every day. I have conformed as much as I feel comfortable, but I hate wearing dark clothes all the time. Before this job, I wore bright colors every day. I don't want to rock the boat too much, but I feel unhappy when I cannot express even a little of my personality through my attire. I want to add pops of color in my blouses, dresses or accessories. Is this too radical? -- Too Dark
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reader wants to avoid political conversations
DEAR HARRIETTE: The holidays are coming, and I am worried about how the conversations will go. We will be traveling down South to visit family, and in our relatively small family, we do not share similar political views. Given how divided Americans are in general, I am concerned about how our dinner-table conversations will go. In previous years, some of my cousins got into serious arguments with other family members because they did not agree on basic principles -- and this was before today's name-calling and nasty commentary.
Friday, November 29, 2019

Friend wants to pull daughter from team after accident
My friend has a daughter who is a gymnast. She is on scholarship at her college for gymnastics, and she is very good at it.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Woman ashamed to have health issues
I am 60 years old, and I feel like I am fitting a stereotype for too many people my age. A few years ago, I started having little health issues that have grown into bigger ones. I currently take a handful of meds for diseases that were probably preventable if I had paid better attention years ago. I haven't told any of my family members about my ailments because I am embarrassed. As an African American woman, it felt almost inevitable that I would get hypertension and diabetes, but I had told myself I wouldn't let it happen to me. I have failed. I don't want to admit this to my family. What can I do to take care of myself and still keep my secrets?
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Colleague taken aback by friend's story
I was talking to a colleague, and we were bragging about our children -- something that many parents do for small talk. I was saying something upbeat about my daughter when she revealed that her daughter was having a difficult childhood in part because she and her husband were going through a nasty divorce during that time. I listened and stopped talking about my life, which sounded idyllic in comparison.
Monday, November 25, 2019

Reader concerned about cheap husband
My husband is a cheapskate. He does not like to spend money on anything extra -- especially clothes. For this reason, he has been wearing the same clothes for years. Normally that doesn't matter, but we have a couple of big events to attend, and he does not have the proper clothing to wear to them. He needs a suit. The last time we bought one was probably 10 years ago, which is way more than 10 pounds ago. He tried on his suit recently, and he couldn't button the jacket. The whole thing was way too small. When I said something about it, he just scoffed. He cannot go to my work function wearing a suit that is so ill-fitting.
Saturday, November 23, 2019

Son requests new computer for Christmas
My son is at a new school this year, and he has asked for a fancy computer for Christmas so that he can have the same one as his friends. I checked with his instructors, and I know that the computer he has is sufficient for him to complete his work. But peer pressure is real, and he says he only wants one thing for Christmas
Friday, November 22, 2019

Friend upset that man won't allow help
I have a friend who is so independent that even when it is obvious he needs help, he refuses to accept it. He is a senior citizen, and he presents himself well. He had surgery recently, and I just happened to learn about it. He made me promise not to tell anybody, and he wouldn't let me help him in any way. I feel terrible. This is what friends are for -- to help out in times of need.
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Busy office worker wants to lose weight
In recent years, I have gone up a size almost every year. It's awful. I have been working like crazy at an office job that doesn't allow me to work out much. But this is not good. I know it's not healthy for me to have put on so much weight.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Invitee wonders if it's ok to double-book
The busiest season of the year has begun, and I seem to be getting a lot of invitations for events. I realize that I have gotten more than one invitation for a particular night, and I wish I could attend both events. One is a cocktail reception, and the other is a more formal dinner. Is it OK to go to the cocktail party briefly and then head to the dinner? I would be early for one and a little late for the other. I don't want to be rude, but both are important for my work
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

New friend wants to be sensitive to child on the spectrum
I have a new friend who has a child who she says is "on the spectrum." I have heard the term, of course, but I have never met anyone who has autism or is considered to be on the spectrum, at least not to my knowledge.
Monday, November 18, 2019

Pushy friend won't take no for an answer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is extremely pushy with her requests. She is a woman of privilege, and she is accustomed to getting her way immediately. She asked me to make an introduction, and I don't think it's a great idea. She pushed so hard that I reluctantly agreed.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Freelancer questions going above friend's head
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a freelance contractor. Recently, a friend invited me to have lunch with her to talk about a project. I gave her a few of my ideas with the intention of getting her to hire me to work with her. That's what she said to me, after all.
Friday, November 15, 2019

Reader can't move past childhood for kids
When I was growing up, my parents never had enough money to buy gifts for us kids. We were a family of seven, and money did not stretch that far. So every year at Christmas, my mother would bake a cake or make something else for us to eat that everybody could share.
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Short woman tired of high-heel pain
I like to wear high-heeled shoes, mainly because I am pretty short. If I wear heels, I feel like I am at least getting up to near where other girls are. I like that aspect, but sometimes my feet hurt like crazy. When my friends are chilling in sneakers, I almost always have on heels. It's not fair. What can I do to feel good about myself and not have my feet hurt constantly?
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Reader nervous to introduce friends to boorish father
My father says a lot of things that I don't think are politically correct. He is quick to make racist and sexist comments. He is totally clueless about the way that people communicate today.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Veterans should receive more support
Today is Veterans Day. Too often we notice these holidays on the calendar, but they take on meaning only when they affect us directly. It is worth pointing out that we live in relative safety thanks to the sacrifices that our men and women in the armed forces offer in order to keep our country and its citizens safe.
Monday, November 11, 2019

Sister thinks widowed mom should stay single
DEAR HARRIETTE: My father died a few years ago, and my mother told me that she has met someone who has been taking her to dinner. She wanted to make sure my sister and I would be OK with that.
Saturday, November 9, 2019

Friend shocked by exec's plastic surgery
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been friends with a female corporate executive for some years now. She is lovely and smart, and our relationship is always warm. I saw her after not seeing her for about six months, and it was obvious to me that she had had plastic surgery. I'm sorry, but she looked crazy to me. Yes, she is getting older and a bit overweight, but what she did to her face makes her look totally fake.
Friday, November 8, 2019

Junior executive tired of loose-lipped colleagues
DEAR HARRIETTE: I realize that even when I say things to co-workers in confidence, they often tell other people. I suppose I should remember that from elementary school, but I am an adult, and in my professional life, I expect people to follow protocol.
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Business owner questions cutting landline
I have had a landline for my business for more than 20 years, but I hardly ever use it anymore. I have been looking for ways to cut costs, and I had the thought that I should just make my cellphone my primary number. Most of the calls that I get on voicemail are solicitors anyway, so I don't think I will miss too much business. I'm a little nervous, though, since I have had my number for so long. I do use social media and have a website where I can list my cell number. What do you think? Is it time to go for it?
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Member being priced out of civic organization
I belong to a civic organization that is a lot of fun but very expensive. The dues are high, and the activities cost extra money. I have scraped together the funds over the years, but I am beginning to feel stressed out about it. I'm wondering whether it makes sense for me to continue to be a member. I am getting close to retirement, and I really can't afford it. I'm already friends with a number of the women, so I know I will continue to stay close to them. It's hard to part ways, though. What do you think?
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Sick son doesn't want to miss school
It seems like everybody in my house has come down with a cold or something. My son is barking like a dog, as my mother used to say. It seems like a regular cold, but I know he should rest. He is worried that he is going to miss an important test in school. He is also afraid that if he goes to school, he may end up getting other kids sick. He went in one day already, and a teacher wouldn't let him in her classroom. How can I help him get well while still staying current in school?
Monday, November 4, 2019

Reader has a buying problem
I have a spending problem. I can't seem to stop myself from buying things online. Plus whenever I go out to the mall or something, I can't just look. I end up buying something. I don't know why I have this compulsion. My house is overrun with stuff that I have bought but don't need and have nowhere to store. I think I have a problem. I am not rich and cannot afford all this stuff. But I can't seem to stop, either. HELP!
Saturday, November 2, 2019

Family wants to be sensitive with party invitations
My family and I are planning a big birthday celebration for our dad. He is turning 85, and we want to honor him while he is alive. As we have been going over the invitation list, we came to some people who have recently lost their parents. Is it insensitive to invite the surviving adult children of my father's friends who have died this year? We don't want to be rude, but at the same time, we have been close to this family since we were little. It seems wrong to exclude these people. What do you think?
Friday, November 1, 2019

Boss takes credit for employee's work
I have been working on a project for six months, and at a companywide meeting, my boss took all the credit for the work that I have done. Yes, it was for our team, but he did nothing, and I did it all, yet he acted like he was the victor. I was so mad.
Thursday, October 31, 2019

Holidays are stressful on unhappy marriage
I have been fighting with my husband over everything, it seems. I am not happy, and he and I are not getting along. It is time for us to plan our annual trip to visit his family for the holidays, and I do not want to go. I don't feel like smiling and acting like everything is fine, or being interrogated by his family about what's wrong. I'm not filing for divorce, either. I just don't want to pretend anymore. I want to go to therapy with my husband, but he refuses. What can I do?
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Parents want to stop teenage daughter from vaping
My teenage daughter and her friends got into a bit of trouble at a party this weekend. My husband and I discovered that they were vaping. I know that this activity is targeted to teens. I also remember that I tried smoking cigarettes when I was a teenager. That said, I feel like the stakes are much higher for teens today than they were back in my time.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Formerly successful woman feels like a failure
I used to be well-known back in the day when I was at the top of my career. Now I can barely make ends meet. I feel like such a failure.
Monday, October 28, 2019

Reader wants to clarify relationships at events
I get invited to events all the time with my work. Occasionally my husband wants to go, but not most of the time. His work is demanding, and he likes his day to end at 6, not start up again at 7 or 8.
Saturday, October 26, 2019

Husband isn't pulling weight in busy family
I have two young children and a husband who works all the time. He wants to be supportive, but it's a hollow idea. When he gets home from work, he is so tired he may spend a few minutes with the kids, but that's about it. I work part-time while the kids are in day care, then I'm at home with them for the rest of the day. We can't afford full-time day care. I don't know what to do. I feel totally stressed out and unsupported.
Friday, October 25, 2019

Parent wants kids to read, not watch tv
I know that reading is important for building the mind. I have always been a reader, and I want my children to enjoy reading as well. The problem is that my husband loves to watch TV, and we live in a culture where binge-watching stupid programs is the norm. How can I train my children to love reading and not to become entranced by the TV?
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Mom wants support in letting teens go to concert
My teenage daughter wants to go to a rap concert with her friends. She is so excited about the possibility. She and her friends listen to the artist all the time. I allowed her to go to another big concert this summer with friends, and she did well. I told her she can go this time if she has a buddy who agrees to stay with her during the whole concert. If they buddy up and follow the basic directions that we have given them their whole lives, I anticipate they will be fine. These concerts have lots of security.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

It's ok to stop following parents' plans
I have always done whatever my parents told me to do. I took the career path they recommended. I chose to live in the neighborhood my father thought was right for me. It's not that their ideas were bad, but now I'm 30 years old, and I feel like I'm living the life they wanted for me instead of the life I want for myself.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Husband unwilling to see therapist together
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been going to a therapist -- separately. I couldn't get him to go with me, but he agreed to start by talking to her on his own. I feel like I am making a bit of progress when I talk to her, but he still refuses to talk together.
Monday, October 21, 2019

Husband unwilling to see therapist together
My husband and I have been going to a therapist -- separately. I couldn't get him to go with me, but he agreed to start by talking to her on his own. I feel like I am making a bit of progress when I talk to her, but he still refuses to talk together.
Monday, October 21, 2019

Dear Harriette
Friend’s comments about husband cross the line
Saturday, October 19, 2019

Reader discovers husband's love letters
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was clearing out a room in my house to try to get rid of clutter when I came across a stack of letters addressed to my husband. I was curious, so I opened them; I was horrified to discover that they came from another woman. We have been married for many years, so this bothers me. Has he had an affair that I don't know about? Are they from an old flame that he never got over? What do I do with this discovery? I'm not trying to upset our life together. We are good -- or so I thought. But I can't act like I didn't find them. What should I do? -- Love Notes
Friday, October 18, 2019

Freelancer needs to remember self-care
I have been working nonstop for about two months now, and I am completely exhausted. Obviously that means I should slow down, but the thing is that I am a freelancer. I'm afraid to turn down work when it's coming on strong. Who knows when it will dry up and I will be broke again? I don't want to risk being unavailable and then somebody else gets the job and they don't call on me again. I'm also afraid that I will get sick if I don't get some rest. What should I do?
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Co-workers worried by reader's allergies
It's allergy season again, at least for me. I find myself sneezing and sniffling all the time, even though I use allergy medicine. Sometimes I can tell that my co-workers back up a little when I have allergic reactions. I feel confident that I am not contagious. It's just allergies, but they do present like a cold sometimes. How can I reassure my co-workers that I am not going to make them sick?
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Reader finds love with old flame
Am I wrong to think that I could find true love with my high school sweetheart after being separated for more than 30 years? I am not a romantic normally, but recently I ran into my old flame, and sparks flew. I truly loved this guy when I was in 10th grade, and it broke my heart when college came and we parted ways. Nothing bad happened
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Reader scared to hurt feelings in charitable giving
I get requests for donations online all the time. I see birthday fundraisers on social media, charity efforts to support various causes, etc.
Monday, October 14, 2019

Parent wants to give history to daughter's language
My teenager comes home almost every week trying out new slang. So far, nothing is profane. Some of the sayings hail from back in my day, a thousand years ago. She hates when I tell her that, though. She wants to think that she and her friends are original. Should I just let her think that her new words are new to the world? Part of me wants her to have a sense of history, but I don't want to spoil the moment when she is sharing her discoveries with me.
Saturday, October 12, 2019

Housemate disapproves of cousin's dating life
I live in a duplex building with my cousin. I have a pretty simple life, but my cousin is another matter entirely. He is an attractive young man in his early 20s, and he constantly has women coming in and out of the house. I know because I often run into them. I get that he doesn't have to have a steady girlfriend, but this is ridiculous. I know it's only a matter of time before one of them runs into another. Plus, I worry about my cousin's health. You can't be that promiscuous without the chance of contracting some type of STI.
Friday, October 11, 2019

Reader annoyed with overly friendly acquaintances
I absolutely hate it when people come up to me to ask me if I remember them. I almost always do not. I have a horrible memory. Plus, half of these people are random -- at least as far as I'm concerned. They are not people who have been important in my life. One woman who pressed me to figure out who she was told me that we were friends on social media but hadn't actually met yet. Really?!
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Couple must work to restore intimacy
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been married for a long time, but we have not been close for years. We look good at a party, but we don't share any type of intimacy. In part, it's my fault. We were at each other's throats some years back, and he was not nice to me at all.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Couple must work to restore intimacy
My husband and I have been married for a long time, but we have not been close for years. We look good at a party, but we don't share any type of intimacy. In part, it's my fault. We were at each other's throats some years back, and he was not nice to me at all. That's when I stopped being intimate with him. After a while, it just started being habit that we weren't romantic. Now, our son is about to go away to college. I worry that if things don't change, we won't have a reason to stay together. I can't make it on my own financially, but I also don't know how to turn the romance back on. Do you have any suggestions?
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Woman crosses line by scolding diabetic co-worker
I have diabetes. I am taking the proper medication for it, and I think it is mostly under control. Occasionally I like to eat sweets, but I try to keep it in check.

Recently, I was out with some co-workers, and when I ordered an ice cream, my colleague chastised me, telling me that it was not good for my health. I was offended. My doctor says that I can have sweets in moderation, which is what I do. But even if I chose to eat the whole ice cream store, it shouldn't be her business to weigh in on my choices.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Ex won't explain why she dumped partner
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend broke up with me right after we celebrated her birthday. We had a nice dinner together, I thought, but then she dumped me. She said she wanted to make sure that we ended on a good note before it was over. That's why she said that she planned the nice meal.
Monday, October 7, 2019

Ex won't explain why she dumped partner
My girlfriend broke up with me right after we celebrated her birthday. We had a nice dinner together, I thought, but then she dumped me. She said she wanted to make sure that we ended on a good note before it was over. That's why she said that she planned the nice meal.
Monday, October 7, 2019

Unpaid interns reap priceless benefits
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have just started a new company and have a small team of people working with me, plus several unpaid interns. I need everyone in order to get things off the ground, and my resources are very limited right now. I give college credit whenever the schools allow, but sometimes the interns are simply volunteering.
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Boorish neighbor lacks boundaries
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who is annoying, to say the least. She talks too much and is extremely loud and intrusive. I am a loner and rarely have company. She will ring my bell at all hours of the day and night and barge in because she wants somebody to talk to, or she wants a drink and is all out at her apartment. I don't want to have to let her in, but she is insistent. Sometimes she will bang on the door until it disturbs the other neighbors if I don't answer.
Friday, October 4, 2019

Job seeker should tidy his speaking habits
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is a young adult looking for a job. He just finished college and hasn't found anything yet. When I talk to him, I notice that he has adopted some poor speech habits -- from school, I guess. He constantly says "like" in almost every sentence. I know that many young people do that, but I find it annoying. I wonder if this is distracting in his job interviews. How can I help my son to clean up his speech? -- LAZY LANGUAGE
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wedding gift should come from the heart
I was invited to a bridal shower but was unable to attend because of a last-minute scheduling conflict. I feel bad because I really like the woman who is getting married. I was wondering if I should get her a gift anyway. I already know that I will not be able to attend the wedding. It is a destination wedding, and a little pricey for my wallet. But I want to do something for her. Do I get her a shower gift and a wedding gift, even though I won't be attending either? What do you recommend?
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Treat celebrities as you would want to be treated
I live in New York City and often see so-called boldface named people walking around. The other day I saw Charlie Rose walking along Central Park. I have seen actors in Soho and politicians in Harlem. Whenever I see these people, I want to say hello, but they don't know me. I fear that they will be offended if I were to walk over to them to say hi and that I appreciate their work. Do you know any guidelines for how to approach famous people who are out and about?
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Parent needs to vet potential babysitter
I have a 5-year-old who is a good kid. He gets along with most people. This includes a teenage girl who lives in my building. Her mother came to us to say she would be available for babysitting if we ever need help. Occasionally my husband and I do go out, and we could use a part-time sitter. I worry, though, that this young lady may not be attentive enough. My child has a good temperament, but he's still 5. He has to be watched at all times. Would you allow a teenager to watch a 5-year-old?
Monday, September 30, 2019

Reader worried about negative feedback
I conducted a workshop for a client, and we did a survey to see how the participants felt about it. I thought it went really well, and most of the participants agreed and shared bits about their experiences in the comments. About a third of the participants didn't like it, though. I know I shouldn't hold on to those negative comments, but I can't help myself. I feel like I can do better and may be able to win everybody over. I'm wondering if I should ask the administrator if I can contact the participants to ask for more feedback.
Saturday, September 28, 2019

Girlfriend and her brother have vicious fights
I seem to have become the go-between when my girlfriend and her brother get into arguments. I am an only child, so I am unaccustomed to seeing family members go at each other so viciously. They are quick to argue and can be downright mean when they are talking to -- or yelling at -- each other.
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Laid-off employee must find a new job
I worked the same job for many years -- decades, really -- and I got laid off this summer. I have meager savings and no idea of what I can possibly do to take care of my family. I do not have a college degree, but I do have a lot of job experience in office administration. I feel so sad about what's next. How can I change my attitude and find work?
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

After downsizing, reader worries friends will bail
DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to be the one in my friend group who paid for everything. I earned a lot more money, so whenever our group would go out, I would pick up the tab. I had no problem doing that. But times have changed. I got downsized at my job, and I don't have enough disposable income to foot the bill anymore.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

After downsizing, reader worries friends will bail
I used to be the one in my friend group who paid for everything. I earned a lot more money, so whenever our group would go out, I would pick up the tab. I had no problem doing that. But times have changed. I got downsized at my job, and I don't have enough disposable income to foot the bill anymore.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Daughter upset she's not in class with friends
My daughter just started back to high school, and she seems sad. She made a few friends last year, but she discovered that she is not in any classes with them this year. She thought that she would find some comfort in this new, big school because she had her crew to rely on, but she is finding herself having to be solo again. It seems that she is feeling vulnerable. How can I help her?
Monday, September 23, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: A client of mine contacted me recently to see if I would work on a project with her. It was a generous offer, but not a great fit. I do know someone that I think would be better for the project, and I told her that I would put them in touch with each other. There is potential for a lot of money to be made on this thing. I now think that if I introduce them, I should get a cut of the deal. Is that wrong of me to think? How can I go about getting myself in the finances of this thing? -- Want a Cut
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Son is unmotivated after lazy summer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm worried about my son's discipline as he starts off this school year. For the first time, he did not have extracurricular activities this summer. He was supposed to have a job, but he couldn't find one. He mostly hung out with friends or slept around the house. By the time I figured out how unstructured his summer was, it was too late for me to set him up with activities.
Friday, September 20, 2019

Reader shocked that friend is glib about medicine
DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine just told me that she almost died because she didn't take her blood pressure medicine. She is a smart, professional woman who has an important job and is involved in many civic organizations, plus she is a wife and mom. She is paying closer attention now, but it's weird. I don't understand why she would be so flippant about her medication.
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Reader worried family will judge blue-collar beau
DEAR HARRIETTE: I come from a professional family. For several generations, everyone has been college educated and has had a great professional job. I took that route myself, and I am now working in finance, which I like.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Reader worried family will judge blue-collar beau
I come from a professional family. For several generations, everyone has been college educated and has had a great professional job. I took that route myself, and I am now working in finance, which I like.

I have met and fallen in love with a man who does not have a college degree. He and his family are simple people who live pretty modestly. They are salt-of-the-earth people, too. I love him, and I love them. My boyfriend does landscaping. He has his own truck and all of the tools he needs in order to be self-sufficient, and he does very well. In fact, he already makes way more money than I do in my junior banking job. I know it's not enough for my family. They expect me to bring home somebody with a pedigree. I haven't met anybody like that who makes me this happy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Reader wants to open bank account for niece
DEAR HARRIETTE: I tried to give my niece money for her birthday, but she doesn't have a bank account. She is 13 years old. I was shocked. I want to start an account for her, but I don't want to offend her parents. I think she needs to learn about money and how to grow it. How can I make this recommendation without hurting my sister's feelings? -- Open an Account
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reader wants to open bank account for niece
I tried to give my niece money for her birthday, but she doesn't have a bank account. She is 13 years old. I was shocked. I want to start an account for her, but I don't want to offend her parents. I think she needs to learn about money and how to grow it. How can I make this recommendation without hurting my sister's feelings? -- Open an Account
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reader terrified of natural disasters
I am so scared because of the extreme weather in the world. When I listen to the news, I can't tell what to believe. Some leaders say that this is all happening because of climate change, and they say that it is not too late for us to change our ways. Others say that's a bunch of baloney, and human beings have nothing to do with the weather patterns.
Monday, September 16, 2019

Influencer thinking of ending friendships
I feel like many of the friends I've known since I was in high school are resentful of me ever since I've become an influencer. I feel like I'm being mistreated and get ditched by them occasionally. I'm not sure if it is me changing or them being jealous of me. I want to talk to them about this before I end our friendships. How should I discuss this with them?
Saturday, September 14, 2019

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