Sense & Sensitivity | Advice | – Daily Journal Online

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got into a verbal argument with a man at a bar, and my boyfriend did not step in to defend me. I feel that as my boyfriend, it is his job to defend my honor at all times. The man did not get physical with me or threaten me in any way, but the simple fact that he was raising his voice at me should have set off my boyfriend. I felt like a fool for being there with him while he just stood there and watched me get disrespected. Is this grounds for a breakup? — Bar Fight
DEAR BAR FIGHT: Did you talk to your boyfriend about the incident? What did he say his reason was for staying silent? I wonder if he thought that by jumping in, he would ignite an already-dangerous situation. That is not to say he should have let this argument continue without supporting you. It is a potential reason for why he decided to stand down.
I don’t know that you should break up over this, but you do need to talk. Ask him what he feels his role is in your relationship, and what he considers his responsibilities to be. Get him to talk about his values and beliefs. Tell him yours. Do not assume that you believe the same things. Use this moment to be crystal clear about what you want from him and how disappointed you were that he did not defend you at the bar.
Sometimes women present themselves as so strong that their partners or others do not think that they need help in any situation. The Superwoman persona that many women adopt can make it confusing for a significant other to feel that there is even space for jumping to their rescue. Know this. That’s why you two need to talk so that you can get on the same page about expectations.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m tired of my male friend constantly correcting me. He’s an extreme know-it-all, and sometimes the way he speaks to me takes on a misogynistic tone. He always apologizes afterward, but the apology sometimes upsets me even more because that means he was aware that he was being rude in the moment. What should I say when this happens? — Know-It-All
DEAR KNOW-IT-ALL: When this friend clicks into his know-it-all behavior, stop him right away. You can do so jovially by saying, “Uh-oh. Here he goes again. Becoming the man who knows absolutely everything.” When he says something unacceptable to you, call him on it. You can say, “Can you hear yourself? How would you like it if I talked to you like that?” Or “Should I just stop talking and let you say everything since you seem to know it all?” Say something as close as possible to when the offense happens. Reflecting back to him what he is doing is the way to get him to notice his own behavior. Chances are, he has no clue that he is being mean, condescending or misogynistic. Educate!
DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine is upset with me because I did not hire her as the makeup artist for my wedding, but the truth is that I do not like the way she does other people’s makeup. I cannot risk my makeup not looking exactly how I want it — my wedding is way too special to take that type of risk. How do I tell her this in a nice way? — Makeup Artist Friend
DEAR MAKEUP ARTIST FRIEND: Tell your friend how much you appreciate her and want her to come and enjoy your wedding — as a guest. Tell her that you hope she will have a wonderful time just being with those who are attending. In terms of makeup, point out that you are going for a particular look that the other makeup artist specializes in. Assure her that it’s nothing personal. You just know what you want for your big day, and that’s why you booked this person. If she pushes back and says that she can do that, too, stand firm and let her know that you appreciate her responsiveness, but you have made your decision.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is completely copying my birthday theme and trying to upstage me. Her birthday is exactly one week after mine. I am planning a garden-themed brunch party, and she is planning a flower-themed tea party (basically the exact same theme as mine). Should I say something to her about this? I think she knows that she is copying me, but she didn’t think that I would mind this much. — Friend Copying Me
DEAR FRIEND COPYING ME: Do you know the saying, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? Well, here’s proof. I’ve seen this so many times, and even though you can say something, it’s not likely to make a difference, I’m sorry to say. You may want to chalk it up to the fact that you inspired your friend to step up her game. If it’s burning you too badly and you can’t let it go, say something.
Reach out to your friend. Sit her down and explain that you came up with this birthday party idea and were happy to share with her since she is your best friend. Explain that you were shocked to see that she had copied your idea for her own party. Tell her that this hurt your feelings. Express that it feels like a betrayal to you. Ask her to change her theme in order to give you space to own this lane.
If she refuses — which is likely — stop talking about your party plans and just go into execution mode. Make your party everything you hoped it would be, and resist feeling the need to compete with your friend. Don’t hold a grudge, either. Just move on.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My two best friends have been arguing about a vacation spot. My friend who makes a lot of money wants to go to an all-inclusive resort. My other friend, who doesn’t make as much money, wants to go somewhere local and inexpensive. I’m caught in the middle. I want all of us to be together, and I do not want to take sides. My more affluent friend has offered to pay for my poorer friend, but she is refusing. What do you think a good compromise would be? — Spring Break
DEAR SPRING BREAK: Whether you like it or not, you are the tiebreaker. Talk it out with your friends to come to a compromise everyone will accept. Start with yourself. Be honest: Where would you like to go? If you prefer the all-inclusive, encourage your less affluent friend to reconsider that location. If you think the friend offering to pay is truly doing so with no strings attached, point that out. Then work on the compromise that while on vacation, you all go check out the local scene for food and fun. Sometimes people choose to go local not just for the cost savings, but also for the experience.
A downside of staying at an all-inclusive is that you never have to leave the premises. Instead, the food, drink, entertainment and “culture” are imported in, and guests are treated to a schedule of activities without ever having to leave. Often, these venues are luxurious locations that are secluded from the local community. While that can feel safe and welcoming, it is also less genuine. This may be what makes your friend uncomfortable.
A reasonable compromise could be to stay at the all-inclusive and go on excursions to visit local cultural points of interest. All three of you should agree to participate in the outside events as well.
DEAR HARRIETTE: 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? — Infected
DEAR INFECTED: First, I hope that your doctors can cure this infection. Staph infections can be aggressive and very hard to eliminate. Document everything. Take pictures to show the progression of the infection and ask your doctors to put their diagnoses in writing.
Next, contact a lawyer to discuss your options. It may be that your lawyer can reach out to the salon to secure a settlement where your medical bills are fully covered. You may also want to sue the salon, though that can be expensive and time-consuming.
You can also write your own review on Yelp describing what happened to you and warning other would-be customers.
DEAR HARRIETTE: 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? — Sick of Work
DEAR SICK OF WORK: This period has been stressful for many people. Perhaps your difficulty at work is about more than the job. Look around at your world. What’s going on? What do you feel is working well? What is difficult? Your housing? Your family situation? Your finances? Your health? Take a moment to think seriously about your life and what needs to change. Then, consider what you can do to make your life better.
I do not recommend leaving a job to find another. Being without employment in the middle of the pandemic may turn out to be even more challenging than what you are experiencing now. Instead, talk to your boss and ask what they can recommend for you to do better. Ask for specifics. Acknowledge that you know you haven’t been at the top of your game and that you want to do better. With guidance, you may be able to improve.
If you want to do something else, continue to improve your behavior and attitude at work as you begin to look for new jobs. You will want and need a recommendation from this employer, so do your best.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106

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