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home : columns May 14, 2021

Lack of fashion sense embarrasses best friend
My best friend has no idea how to dress. Whenever we go out, she wears something ridiculous or inappropriate and embarrasses me. Sometimes the outfits will be out of style, or they'll make no sense whatsoever for the occasion or weather. It's really getting out of hand. I don't want us to stop doing things together, but I feel like I'm not a real friend if I don't tell her how she looks. I also don't want to come across as a hater because I know how it would sound. What do I tell her?
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Dad's gift doesn't impress recipient
My dad bought me a fake designer purse for my birthday. It was similar to a purse that I had wanted for a very long time, and I could tell that he was so proud that he was able to get it for me. However, I knew it was fake almost immediately. He's always asking why I never use it, and I just don't have the heart to tell him that I can't be seen with this purse. I even considered lying and saying that it was stolen. What do I do?
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Student-athlete questions getting a job
My family's COVID stimulus money is running out, and the bills are starting to add up. Playing Division I sports is the only way I can stay in school because I cannot afford tuition. I'm on a sports scholarship. My problem is that all of my time goes to practice, training and traveling for games, so I cannot get a job. Should I sacrifice my scholarship by getting a job?
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Boyfriend upset by partner's past
My boyfriend is upset with me because of something that happened in my past. I really have no idea how he found out about it, but it wasn't necessarily a secret. He won't open up to me about why it upsets him or how we can work through it. I don't like how he's reacting. It's unfair of him to shut me out when he wasn't even in my life at the time of the incident. What do I do?
Monday, May 10, 2021

Employee losing motivation at work
The other day, I got written up at work. I saw it coming, so it didn't really surprise me that much. I know I haven't been performing very well at this new position, but I have no idea why, and it's been discouraging. I feel like I'm at risk of losing my job, and I don't know how to deal with it. I've been doing my best -- but recently my best doesn't seem to be enough. Should I quit and start over with another employer or stick it out?
Saturday, May 8, 2021

Reader gets staph infection from nail salon
I got my nails done a few weeks ago, and now I've developed a staph infection. I went back to the same salon, and they swore that it wasn't their fault. I've gone to the doctor several times since and received multiple steroid and antibacterial treatments. My doctors told me that this type of infection always comes from nail salons. This is the only nail salon that I visit. I love the people who work there, but I feel like I need to take some type of legal action. On Yelp, a few other people have complained that they had similar issues. What should I do?
Friday, May 7, 2021

Student-athlete questions getting a job
My family's COVID stimulus money is running out, and the bills are starting to add up. Playing Division I sports is the only way I can stay in school because I cannot afford tuition. I'm on a sports scholarship. My problem is that all of my time goes to practice, training and traveling for games, so I cannot get a job. Should I sacrifice my scholarship by getting a job?
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Woman jealous of grand- daughter's other grandmother
My daughter recently had a baby -- my first grandchild. The problem is that she lives out of state, and she's now living in close proximity to her mother-in-law. They spend a lot of time together, and the mother-in-law is getting to know my granddaughter well. I cannot move closer to my daughter, nor can I take much time off work to see her. How can I be just as involved in my granddaughter's life as my daughter's mother-in-law? I don't want to be bitter about their new relationship, but I am.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Newly signed model doesn't want plastic surgery
I recently signed to a prestigious modeling agency in Los Angeles. This feels like my big break because I've been wanting to get signed for such a long time. The other day, my manager told me that I would book more gigs if I got a certain type of plastic surgery. I don't think there's anything wrong with me, and I'm not necessarily ready to make such a huge change to myself. I don't even think that I believe in getting plastic surgery. Other people within the agency have agreed with my manager and said that getting this procedure done would help my career a lot. What do I do?
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Harriette reflects on a year in the pandemic
I want to take a moment to talk to you directly about the things that have been going on in our world for the past year. Many of us have been quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only now being able to move about freely. The year been fraught with challenges. Because the world shut down, many of our jobs evaporated. Countless businesses -- especially the small businesses that are the backbone of our country -- did not survive. Many more continue to limp along in hopes that soon they will experience a full comeback.
Monday, May 3, 2021

Employee appalled by racist remark
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was in a virtual meeting at my job the other day, and someone made a racist comment about a fellow co-worker who was not on the call. I was shocked that this person made the comment, but it was almost worse that nobody said anything about it. I didn't speak up either. I am in a junior position and was afraid that if I said something, my job might be in jeopardy. But I'm still mad about it. A few people have been texting about it, but that isn't going to change anything. Do you think I should say something to my boss? He didn't make the statement, but he has the power to address the situation. I want to be an ally, but I don't really know how. -- Becoming an Ally
Friday, April 30, 2021

Vaccinated couple wants to plan family visit
I have been waiting for months to go visit my family. We live in different states, and the rules have been so strict around COVID-19 that we have not been able to see one another. Now that my husband and I are fully vaccinated, we want to make the trip -- especially because we have elderly family members we haven't seen for far too long. I work from home, so it's no issue for me when we get back. My husband has to go into an office for his job. We just learned that some family members have not been vaccinated yet. How can we be sure that we won't have to quarantine for two weeks when we return?
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Reader apprehensive about moving relationship to real life
I started talking to a guy during quarantine, and now he wants to take me out. We got close -- from a distance -- over this past year. We even had phone sex. It was fun, given the circumstances. I feel safe with him, or as safe as you can when you haven't physically spent time together.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Political junkie needs a break from the news
I was glued to the TV for the past four years because of how volatile things were in Washington, D.C. Frankly, I am exhausted by all of that, and I do not have the energy to focus on the new administration the way I did the last one. I worry that I am making a mistake. I know that there are issues that I should be paying attention to, and I will be mad if things go wrong and I didn't say anything, but I am just plain tired. I do not think that Biden has all the answers, and Congress is still pretty messed up. How can I continue to be vigilant part-time?
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Pet owner debates hiding animals from landlord
I have two dogs and a cat. I know that my life would be much easier if I sold my pets, but I can't bring myself to do so. I love my pets as if they're my children.
Monday, April 26, 2021

Friends with aging parents can support one another
I am in the age group where most of my friends who are lucky enough to still have their parents are now dealing with their major health issues. That includes me. It is hard for me to keep up with everyone to make sure that they and their parents are OK. Just being a supportive friend is getting challenging. I'm worried that I may miss one of my friends who could need a hug or help handling a situation with a parent -- or even worse, a parent dies and I can't respond fast enough. I need to create a system to keep myself calm and to stay engaged. Do you have any ideas?
Saturday, April 24, 2021

Dad's misogynistic remarks irritate daughter
I think that my dad has misogynistic views. He's always been old-fashioned in his values and beliefs, but now that I'm older, I'm starting to realize how problematic his mindset is. He says things to me such as, "As a woman, you need to learn how to cook and clean not only for yourself, but for your future husband." I don't understand why that's my duty as a woman. I already know how to cook and clean for myself. He also says things like, "Men prefer a clean house when they come home." I want to call him out on it. Is this misogynistic, or am I overreacting?
Friday, April 23, 2021

Boyfriend fudges the details of relationship's start
I've been in a relationship for the past six months. My boyfriend and I are happy and in love. A few nights ago, he told me that when we were in our casual dating phase and were not exclusive yet, he was still seeing other women. He told me the names of the girls he was seeing, and I know a few of them very well. I would not have a problem with this, except for the fact that at that time, he told me that he was seeing only me. I'm trying to remain unbothered by this, but it is a little upsetting. I feel like he lied to me so unnecessarily. We've already talked about it, and he promises that it isn't a big deal. How do I address this? I don't know if I feel comfortable continuing a relationship with a liar.
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Burnt-out reader tired of social media
Lately, I've been getting incredibly tired of social media. I see the same posts over and over again and the same people over and over again. I would like to remove myself from my social platform, but I'm also afraid that I'll be missing out. I've been feeling unhappy with the posts of social unrest and people's political views, and it's wearing me out. My question is, how do I maintain my relationships with people on social media while protecting my mental state at the same time?
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Girlfriend's new job causes concern
My girlfriend has been looking for a new job for a while, and she finally got a job as a server at a high-end bar and restaurant. The problem is that she wasn't totally honest with me about what kind of job it actually is. I researched the place and found out that the waitresses are required to wear really revealing outfits. I know how hard it was for her to get this job, but I'm really not comfortable with it. I also wish she had been more honest with me about it from the very beginning. What do I do?
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mom doesn't respect daughter's new boyfriend
I am the mother of a beautiful and talented 23-year-old daughter. I have always wanted her to date and marry someone who was established, educated and of Christian faith. My daughter recently told me that she has started a relationship with a 28-year-old department store worker. He did not go to college, he is not a faithful Christian and he does not have his priorities set for establishing a career. I don't want to discourage my daughter from being with the person she wants to be with, but I want her to realize that she can date somebody with more to offer. What do I do? Do I continue to support her dating a man who is going nowhere?
Monday, April 19, 2021

Neighbor wants to support woman with cancer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a loudmouth neighbor who has been remarkably quiet recently. She told me that she got cancer and was going to have to undergo treatment. My guess is that this is why she has gone radio silent. I see her husband and son from time to time; when I ask them how she's doing, they are pretty tight-lipped, but I can tell that things aren't so good. I like this woman even though she can be a pain in the neck. I would like to do something for her, but I don't want to overstep my bounds. She loves to cook and would sometimes share dishes she had made with me. Do you think it would be good to make her a special dish? -- Reaching Out
Friday, April 16, 2021

Son resents dad's relationship with half-siblings
My ex-husband remarried a little while ago, and they eventually had a child. He and I share two kids from our marriage.

My oldest is starting to realize that the new child is getting a lot more attention than he did from his dad growing up. My oldest is in his late 20s now, so it seems kind of random for him to be harping on this the way he is. He will often compare his experiences with his father to the experiences that his youngest half-sibling is getting. I feel that it's not my place to address the resentment he's feeling toward his father.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Brother's weight gain worries sibling
My brother has been really depressed lately and is gaining a lot of weight as a result. I've noticed him eating a lot and not exercising at all. It's been gradual; since last November, he's been slowly gaining more and more weight. I think losing our great-aunt may have triggered this depression. They were very close, and he really hasn't been the same since she died. I'm concerned for his health and his happiness. Losing control of his weight may worsen his depression. How can I intervene without upsetting him or making him feel bad?
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Reader wants to find church family in new city
I've been around the same church community for practically my entire life. I'm moving to a new town where I know hardly anyone, so I'm going to have to find a new church family. I have no idea where to begin since I don't have any connections in the new town. I'm in my late 20s, and I want to find a young church with traditional values. How should I go about this?
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

New beau shows many red flags
I joined a dating app a couple of months ago, and I connected with a really nice man who met all of my requirements. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that he started showing serious signs of instability. For example, if I'm busy and cannot answer my phone, he will call and text me incessantly. He's even gone as far as to call my work number and make sure I'm there. On one occasion, he showed up at my house unannounced and practically begged me to let him inside. We are not even officially in a relationship -- we are only casually dating. I don't know if I can look past this behavior. Should I have a talk with him or just cut him off altogether?
Monday, April 12, 2021

Reader sad about friend moving away
My best friend and I have been neighbors for 20 years. For 20 years, she's been a short walk away from my home; she's always been there whenever I've needed her (and vice versa). Recently, she told me she accepted a position in another state. Although I'm happy for her, I'm devastated that she is moving so far away from me. I'm excited for her to start this next chapter of her life, but it's hard for me to be happy for her knowing that I'm being left behind. How can I be a supportive friend without showing how truly sad I am that she is leaving?
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Vegan girlfriend imposes beliefs on meat-eater
I've recently started dating a woman who is a lifelong vegan. She is very health-conscious, and she even has a website and YouTube channel dedicated to her plant-based lifestyle. While I admire her dedication to veganism, I myself have never been a vegan, nor do I wish to be.
Friday, April 9, 2021

College student questions mom's engagement
I'm a 20-year-old college student, and my mom recently got engaged to her boyfriend of two years. She's been a single mom for pretty much my entire life, and I'm nervous about her taking this next step. Her boyfriend seems cool, but I really don't know him all that well since they started dating while I was away at school. I want her to be happy; however, I'm also insecure about losing our closeness. My mom and I are best friends. It's been just the two of us for so long. How can I be more accepting of this change?
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Housesitter doesn't take care of friend's plants
My best friend was housesitting for me while I went out of town for a few weeks to visit family. One of the most important tasks I gave her while watching my house was to take care of my houseplants. My plants are very large and require proper care and sunlight, or they will quickly start to wither and die.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Long-distance friend doesn't want relationship
I've known the man who I am currently "seeing" for three years. We've never been in a relationship before -- we've always just been long-distance friends. It is almost as if we are pen pals. We met through social media.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Body issues hinder summer activities
I'm 30 years old, and I've always been really insecure about my body. During the summer, my friends and I have pool parties and beach days. All of my friends wear bikinis, even though not all of them have perfect bodies. I admire and envy their confidence; I simply don't have it. I am so insecure about my body that I have not put on a swimsuit since my teens. I'm afraid that I'm spending my best years being defeated by my own insecurities. I would love to get into the pool, and I would love to go to the beach. I don't want to stand in my own way. How can I take the steps towards accepting myself for who I am?
Monday, April 5, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: Whenever I talk to my sister, we have some kind of an argument. She is older than me, and she just can't help herself. She always finds a way to jab at me and make herself look better. I am so sick of it. But here's the thing -- while she can be rude and mean to me, I have discovered that she brags about me when she talks to other people. I was shocked to learn that she speaks about me in glowing terms. Who knew? That made me feel a bit better, but it doesn't change that she is rude to me. As an adult, how can I get her to quit it? I don't like talking to her much because it's guaranteed that she will find a way to be mean. -- Reset
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Reader not ready for life to go back to normal
DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that a lot of people are getting vaccinated, I see more people going outside, meeting up in groups and not wearing masks. This frightens me. We are not even close to being fully vaccinated yet. I get that people are tired of being cooped up at home, but I don't think this is smart. Several friends have been calling, trying to get me to hang out with them, but I'm not ready. When I say that, they call me a scaredy-cat. Really? Do you think I'm being too cautious? Several of my friends passed away from COVID-19. One of them was older and unwell, but one of them was the picture of health and young, and he died anyway. I am scared. -- Reentry
Friday, April 2, 2021

Recent grad's family urges getting a master's degree
I can't get over the feeling that I wasted my time and money in college. I graduated three years ago, and I haven't worked in my field or gotten even remotely close to it. My family is urging me to go and get my master's, but I don't want to waste even more of my time in school. Do you think it would be worth it to get my master's?
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Older dad doesn't want to make lifestyle changes
I'm concerned about my dad's eating habits. He is getting a bit older, and although he has no preexisting health conditions, he's not in the best shape. He consumes way too much sugar and sodium, and he doesn't get nearly enough exercise on a weekly basis. I've tried to help him, but he is stubborn and stuck in his ways. He feels that at his age, he is entitled to eat and live however he wants. I'm scared that if he doesn't make a change, something bad is going to happen to him. How can I convince my dad to live a healthier lifestyle?
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Reader ready to revisit relationship with ex
My ex-fiance and I have been broken up for four years now. We got engaged in our early 20s and never got married. Our relationship lasted three years. Over the past year, he and I started communicating again. The more we communicate, the more I find myself wondering if we made a mistake by calling off our engagement. Neither of us is in a serious relationship at the moment. I'm curious whether or not I should give this another go.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Black reader wary of getting COVID-19 vaccine
I'm really afraid to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I was born in the late '60s, and I've witnessed firsthand how the medical community misdiagnoses, tricks and leads the Black community astray. I know that at some point I will need it -- and I don't want to side with anti-vaxxers -- but I'm frightened. Do you think that I am justified in being afraid of getting the vaccine, or am I being irrational? I don't believe statistics -- I know numbers can be fixed.
Monday, March 29, 2021

New friend too curious about old flame
I have recently become good friends with a girl whose boyfriend and I used to date. We all went to the same college, so it isn't a strange coincidence that we know each other, but the thing is, I have a feeling that it still makes her uncomfortable. Sometimes we'll be chatting, and she'll ask me random questions about my past relationship with her boyfriend. She'll ask me about the things we used to argue about or if he was ever unfaithful to me. I have completely moved on from that relationship, and now I'm very happy with someone else, but I just wonder if she has some type of hidden agenda with me. I really like her, and I don't want to make things weird. My other friends think it's strange that she would even want to know the details of my short-lived relationship with her long-term boyfriend. What do you think?
Saturday, March 27, 2021

Recent grad wants to move out of mom's
I'm a recent college graduate. I was one of the few who were lucky enough to find work immediately after college -- and in the middle of the pandemic. I moved back in with my mother after graduating, and because I made a good amount of money, I started to help her with the bills. I pay half of the rent and half of the utilities. I appreciate my mother letting me live here, but I really want to save up so I can live on my own. I don't want her struggling to pay rent in my absence, but I would be so much happier just living with a roommate for possibly a lot cheaper. How can I start a life of my own without leaving my mother with too much rent?
Friday, March 26, 2021

Best friend's boyfriend flirts too much
My best friend and I have been inseparable for the past 10 years. We've seen each other through relationships, breakups and many ups and downs. I'm currently single, but my best friend has been dating a guy for a few months, and she's already head over heels in love with him. Whenever he's around me, he becomes incredibly chivalrous and borderline flirty with me. My friend doesn't pay it any mind and thinks of it as him just being charming, but I think he's beginning to cross the line.
Thursday, March 25, 2021

Friends looking for new hobbies to occupy time
I am in desperate need of a new hobby. During quarantine I have done my fair share of puzzles, I have crocheted ad nauseum and I am so sick of reading. What can I do to stop myself from going stir crazy? My friends only seem to want to sit around and watch Netflix. I would like something that all of us could do together. We are all women in our 40s with kids and differing schedules, but we can come together on weekends. What would you suggest we do?
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Mom may be addicted to plastic surgery
My mother won't stop getting plastic surgery. She's 52 years old, and she's done body sculpting, liposuction, lip fillers and Botox, and now she's trying to schedule a complete facelift. She is starting to look unrecognizable and incredibly plastic. I beg her to stop and try to reassure her that she's still beautiful and doesn't need to keep going under the knife, but she won't listen to me. I've been doing research lately, and I'm reading that she could potentially be addicted to surgery. How do I get her to stop destroying her face?
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Renter wants small-town feel, big-city mindset
I've lived in a bustling city for the past 22 years. I would love to move to a quiet rural town with idyllic scenery and a small-town feel. My rent now is high because of my location, and I can really move anywhere because I don't own my home. My only concern is dealing with the small-town mindset that often goes hand-in-hand with rural areas. Do you think that it would be more advantageous to make this leap? Or is it worth it to stay in the big city? -- Leaving the City
Monday, March 22, 2021

In-laws make agnostic reader uncomfortable
DEAR HARRIETTE: I try hard to stay away from the topic of religion when I'm with my in-laws, but I'm starting to realize how unavoidable this topic is. My husband comes from a very religious background, and I simply wasn't raised to subscribe to any particular religion myself. I feel that my in-laws impose their views on me every time we see them. I also believe that they judge me because I do not believe in the same things that they do. I talk to my husband about how uncomfortable they've made me, but since those are the people who raised him, I feel that he is biased and only halfway understands why I'm so frustrated. What can I say or do? -- Religious In-Laws
Friday, March 19, 2021

Freelancer wants to fit in with company culture
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have spent most of my working life doing freelance projects with small businesses. Recently, I have been working with a big corporation, and I have been having difficulties. On one hand, they like my creative ideas and vision a lot. But I haven't figured out their processes yet, and I always seem to be late. I'm noticing that they are getting frustrated with the way that I work.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Friend wonders how to support grieving parent
A good friend of mine just lost her son on Valentine's Day to a random, senseless act of violence. I am completely devastated for her, and I can't even begin to imagine how she's feeling. I've watched her son grow up; he was kind of like a nephew to me.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

New boyfriend and ex have same name
I met a really nice guy a few weeks ago, and we've been getting along really well. We've been on a couple of dates, we text all the time and I'm starting to really like him. There's just one problem that I really cannot seem to get past: He has the same first name as my ex-boyfriend.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Landlord's son won't clean up after himself
My friend's mother has been nice enough to let me rent out a room in her home. I've been staying with them for a few months now, and I pay only a few hundred dollars each month for rent -- a great deal considering I live in Los Angeles.
Monday, March 15, 2021

Reader doesn't like best friend's music
I truly don't like my best friend's music. I'm a very honest person. Every time he asks me for feedback on a new song he's dropping, I give it to him and I tell the truth; usually, I don't like it. He thinks that I'm "hating" or being negative on purpose, but the truth is that I just don't care for his music. I think he can do a lot better, and the music he comes out with is annoying and mediocre. Everyone else around him says that his music is great, but I think they're just not keeping it real with him. I am scared that he can't handle my blatant honesty and he's going to write me off as a hater. What should I do?
Saturday, March 13, 2021

Neighbors leave stinky trash in common area
I live in a townhome between two other townhomes. I have the kindest and most mild-mannered neighbors ever. They aren't loud or rude, and they always say hello -- sometimes they will even stop by with gifts!

The only problem with my neighbors is that they consistently leave their trash on their front porch, and the smell is awful.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Brother and friend fight about job performance
A good friend of mine hired my older brother as security for an event she was hosting, and apparently he did a horrible job. According to her, he was drinking on the job, wasn't paying close attention to the guest list and let people into the event who were not supposed to be there. She called me and told me that she thinks it's necessary to dock his pay. While I don't necessarily think it's right to pay him less than the agreed-upon amount, I support her decision because he should've done a better job. There is now tension between the two of them because he sincerely believes that he didn't do anything wrong.
Thursday, March 11, 2021

Son's girlfriend needs more boundaries
My son's girlfriend is getting way too comfortable at our house. I like to make everyone feel warm and welcome in my home, but she has definitely crossed the line. She'll come over when he isn't even home from work yet and will watch TV loudly in the living room, help herself to whatever is in the fridge and talk on the phone.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Boyfriend's lack of communication is frustrating
I am starting to resent my boyfriend for spending so much time away from me. I knew when we started dating that he was in the Navy and that he would be out on deployment for months, but things are so much more difficult than I anticipated. Sometimes they lose Wi-Fi on the ship, and I'm not able to speak to him for several days at a time. They recently docked in another country and were able to spend a few days on land; in that time, he had access to Wi-Fi and phone signals, and still I heard nothing from him. All we have is our communication, and since that's fleeting, we have nothing. What should I do?
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Adult child has forgiven dad, thinks mom should, too
My dad and I haven't always had the best relationship, but now that I am older, I am starting to realize the importance of having a father figure in my life. We've been reconnecting lately and starting to mend our relationship, but we've been doing it privately because I am afraid that our reconnecting would hurt my mother. She was never able to forgive him for a lot of things he did in the past -- including being an absentee father. I've forgiven him, and I think she should, too. What should I do?
Monday, March 8, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-husband's new wife completely crossed the line with me the other day. She took my daughter to get her hair "trimmed" and brought her back with about 4 inches of her real, natural hair cut off. My daughter insists that she wanted her hair short, but as you can imagine, I was completely blindsided. I've had no issues with my ex-husband's wife up until this point.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

Reader considers charging friends for using apartment
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in the heart of Atlanta (close to the airport) in a small apartment. When my friends fly into the city for the weekend, they will usually ask to stay at my home, even though my space is small and it will inconvenience me. I am seriously considering charging them to stay at my place as often as they do; for obvious reasons, I am hesitant to ask.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Family feels like the only people quarantining
I'm beginning to think that my family is the only one left who is doing any form of quarantining. My other friends seem to have stopped being strict about what they or their kids do. When I talk to them, they are headed for a road trip or to a family gathering. They are out and about. My kids are mad at me and my husband because we will not let them hang out with friends. Even though it looks like the numbers are going down on COVID-19 spread, they are still pretty high, and most people don't have the vaccine yet. Am I being too strict to keep my family mostly at home?
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Acquaintance makes big asks too often
A guy who went to college with me calls every six months or so, always wanting me to hook him up. By the second sentence of the call, the ask is there, and it's always for a significant favor that is far beyond my scope of interest, network or anything else. This guy is pushy and gross, as far as I am concerned. But we do share the bond of going to the same college a thousand years ago. I do my best to help anybody from my school that I can. But this has gotten out of control. How can I get him to back off?
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

World Almanac
Today is the 61st day of 2021 and the 72nd day of winter.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Big birthday celebration in flux due to COVID-19
I have a big birthday coming up, and I don't know what to do. Normally I would host a big party for myself -- not out of ego, but as a way to ensure that I can bring my friends together and we can all have a great time. I want to do something like that, but thanks to COVID-19, we still can't get together in person. I feel like everybody is sick and tired of Zoom parties, plus I don't know how to design one so that it would be fun and not solely focused on me. Do you have any ideas?
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Employee overwhelmed by new workload
I have been so busy at work that it has been hard to keep everything organized. My boss keeps giving me more and more assignments because she says I am the most capable member of the team. I appreciate that, but it's becoming too much. Last week, I missed a couple of key deadlines. That is not my way. I know it was because I overlooked them, trying to add on the new work that my boss just gave me. How can I talk to her about the workload without seeming ungrateful? I want to be promoted and to be thought of favorably. I'm afraid that it's all about to fall apart, though, because it is just too much.
Monday, March 1, 2021

Reader worried about small business closing
Every time I go outside in my neighborhood and a little bit beyond, I see more businesses shutting down. It is so depressing. I realize it's been almost a year since COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. I have been working from home ever since, and I have been afraid to do much of anything. But I do try to spend a few dollars here and there to help out the local shops. I feel so sad. I guess my little sandwich purchase or occasional trip to the dry cleaners hasn't been enough to keep these stores open. Obviously, I know they need more than me, but I see whole blocks of businesses shut down. I'm so worried about what is going to happen. Is there anything more that I can do to help? I see a few establishments hanging on, but I can only spend so much. Is this a lost cause?
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Boyfriend's past trauma affects his behavior
My boyfriend comes from an abusive background. He has experienced a lot of terrible things, such as sexual, physical and mental abuse. I can tell he is still heavily affected by his childhood trauma because he can go from zero to 100 real quick. He is a very logical and sweet person, but sometimes those bursts of anger consume him. Although he is seeking some therapy, sometimes I am concerned whether that anger and aggression will ever become directed toward me. I do not think that he would ever hurt me, but I am also a realist and understand that anything can happen. Should I be more concerned about this? What are ways that I can help him? Do you think I should try to talk to him about seeking more therapy?
Friday, February 26, 2021

Woman wants to change career path
I am an older woman, and I would like to leave the job that I've been working at for decades. I find that my creativity and my desire to do something different are not being fulfilled. I fear that it is too late for me to follow my dreams, and I have too much to lose -- I am in my 50s now, and I have a family to support. I know that people say it is never too late to follow your dreams, but I am trying to be pragmatic. I cannot abandon my job altogether, but I fear if I don't leave now, I'll be stuck here for the rest of my life. What steps should I take?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Friends don't support influencer's career
I have recently gained a lot of attention through social media (Instagram specifically) as a brand influencer. I get paid a substantial amount of money to simply take a few pictures and promote brands from all over the world.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

After losing job, mom wants to stay home with kids
My husband and I have been married for six years and have two beautiful children (ages 2 and 3). About a year ago -- around the time the pandemic started -- I lost my job. At first, my husband was extremely sympathetic and supportive about my struggle to find new work, but now it seems his patience is wearing thin. He makes passive aggressive remarks about being "the only one who pays the bills" and gets angry with me when I spend "too much money" on groceries.
Monday, February 22, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a neighborhood that got hit hard by snow recently. I told my sons to go around the neighborhood and ask if they could help people shovel out their driveways. When I was growing up, we used to do that for a few dollars. We don't have as much snow these days, but I thought it would be good for my boys in terms of helping out and also making some money. Turns out, people did let them shovel their driveways, but several of them didn't offer the boys a dime for doing it.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Son upset he hasn't heard from top-choice schools
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son was accepted at four colleges so far, and he was offered some scholarship money. I am so proud of him, but he isn't happy. He hasn't heard from his favorite schools yet; he says he'll feel like a failure if he doesn't get into one of them. I have tried to console him. He knows that some of his buddies from school haven't gotten even one acceptance yet. I want to be able to support him, but I'm not sure what to say. What do you recommend? -- Waiting for College Acceptance
Friday, February 19, 2021

Fad diet doesn't work to shed pounds
I did one of those popular diets for the month of January, and I am so mad. I did it because I need to lose weight; sitting around at home during COVID-19 and eating whenever I want to has not helped me at all. But starving myself for a month didn't help either. My stomach was constantly upset, and I didn't even lose much weight. I did notice what my cravings are because my patterns were disrupted. But still, I'm left in the same position that I started in: I need to lose weight. What should I do?
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Husband's new job idea stresses out spouse
Since the pandemic started, my husband has been working at home. He still has his job, thank God, but he hardly ever goes in. I'm so worried that he will end up losing his job. He is already a senior citizen. I can't imagine what he will do if he has to look for work. He has been taking real estate investing courses, but I can't envision him doing that successfully. My husband is not a salesman in any way. He refuses to speak up at work to say he is available for an assignment. In real estate, you have to hustle. It's all about being assertive and putting yourself out there. I know my husband means well, but I think it's unrealistic for him to believe that he will be able to grow a real estate business when he lacks the people skills that go with it. How can I encourage him to make a responsible choice without hurting his feelings? I'm scared to death that we will end up with nothing if he continues down this path. I work, by the way, but I don't make enough money to take care of the both of us. --
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Adult child wants to encourage mother and other elders
I was just looking back at old photos of my family. A little more than a year ago, we hosted a pretty extravagant party for my mother's birthday. All of her friends came, and it was beautiful to be with everyone. Even though all of her friends are aging, they were doing pretty well.
Monday, February 15, 2021

Reader concerned with mandatory vaccine legality
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to many who choose to get it. I have decided not to get the vaccine. I just feel like it's too rushed and new, and we don't really know the effect of it just yet. I am a supervisor at a warehouse, and I received a memo that I was to tell my subordinates that in order to continue to work safely in the warehouse, every employee will be expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine and provide proof of having received it. I do not feel comfortable ordering others to do something for their health that they may not want just to keep their job. I feel like this is so wrong and possibly illegal. We are a small, privately owned company, but it doesn't feel right. How can I talk to management about how wrong I think this is? Do you think I will lose my job over this?
Saturday, February 13, 2021

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