DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I recently got into a fight. She told me I talk about myself too much, but no one else has ever told me that. I thought I had always been a good friend.
How should I handle this situation? Should I try and talk to her or just let it go? -- Talked Out, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR TALKED OUT: You should address this with her, but before you do, take a step back and review your relationship. What is your friend's personality like? Is she a talker? Does she have a lot of issues she likes to talk about? Or is she somewhat shy? Is it hard for her to bring up topics that are on her mind?
The answers to those questions may help you. People who like to talk a lot often feel uncomfortable if the other person in a conversation is also talkative. It can feel like a competition for airtime, even if that's not intentional. If she is not one to speak up, she may find it difficult to get her points out in a conversation because it is hard for her to fill the silent spaces as she thinks about the topic or drums up the courage to make a point. It may be hard for you to notice her timing needs.
It also could be that in a particular conversation you may have talked a lot more than usual without realizing it.
Evaluate your interactions with your friend. Apologize for possibly talking too much and tell her what you think about the matter. Ask her to share why she feels this way. Do your best to listen. Ultimately, tell her your perspective and ask her to talk it out with you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: An acquaintance and I really hit it off recently. He seemed very flirtatious toward me. But I found out he is in a relationship. Even my friends think there's something fishy about this. How can I address the situation without being awkward or rude? -- Confused, Staten Island, N.Y.
DEAR CONFUSED: Next time you see your acquaintance, call him out on his behavior. Tell him that you have enjoyed flirting with him and that you think he's fun. Listen for his response.
Tell him you were surprised to learn he has a girlfriend. Ask him if it's true and what he's looking for from you. Tell him that although you like him very much, you aren't interested in breaking up a couple or flirting with someone who is in a committed relationship. Make it clear that if he is in a relationship, you would prefer that he not flirt with you. That's not your style.