DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been friends with "Kelly" for about five years. She sees me as one of her closest friends, but honestly, I don’t know much about her. Kelly is very reserved and is a homebody. I have met her siblings and boyfriend a few times, but other than that, I find our time together is me sharing my life and mishaps with her. I try to ask her about her life, but this is always met with deflection. Is there anything else I can do to make Kelly open up to me and stop being so distant? -- Let Me In, Boston
DEAR LET ME IN: Some people are masterful at not letting others in to their personal spheres, even as they seem to be close friends. This happens because most people like to talk about their lives and the daily ups and downs that they face. Having a friend who is a good listener can be a blessing for people who are involved in their own dramas, doldrums and simple day-to-day experiences, and like to share what’s going on with themselves. Reclusive people can easily hide in the midst of these relationships as it is rare that they are questioned about their own journeys.
How do you get around that? You could challenge Kelly and tell her that you think it’s unfair that you bare your soul and she does not. You can ask her questions and stay silent as you wait for her to respond. Chances are, you normally don’t allow awkward silences and quickly fill them with chatter. You can also give her space and let her share as she feels comfortable. Unless you feel unsafe within this relationship, you can just let her be.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently been entertaining the idea of staying in the city where I will graduate from college. The weather is warmer, and I have spent most of my time here in Atlanta since arriving for college. My parents are excited for me to move back north after graduation, so I am not sure how to break this to them.
I miss my family, but think this is the city for me. What should I tell them about my permanent move? -- Post-Grad Life, Atlanta
DEAR POST-GRAD LIFE: Welcome to the beginning of your independence. As difficult as this will be, it is your obligation to speak up for yourself and let your parents know your interests and intentions. Be courageous. Tell your parents you want to share your vision for your future with them. Outline your ideas for the next few years. Acknowledge that you will miss them terribly, and you know they will miss you. Commit to visiting them, and invite them to visit you. Ask for their blessing as you begin to navigate your journey as an adult.
Stay in close touch with them. Consider scheduling a weekly call so that you manage their expectations and create a discipline around communicating with them. The transition will be easier for them the more responsibly you handle it.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)