DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an officer for a community service club at my school, and my co-officers and I communicate primarily through Facebook. It makes things simple and quick, and it is a great way for us to communicate when we are not together in person.
But one of the officers does not have a Facebook page. This makes it difficult to get in touch with her quickly, and she usually has to be filled in on whatever we spoke about online the next time we meet in person. Doing this is frustrating and time-consuming.
We obviously can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do, but she is hurting the club by not having a Facebook page. How do we let her know this, and what should we do to solve the problem? -- Technological Challenge, Kalamazoo, Mich.
DEAR TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGE: Believe it or not, there are people who are averse to Facebook and other social media outlets. As you said, you cannot force this person to join. You can suggest a compromise that will likely serve your needs. If everyone is willing to get a Gmail address, you can use Google Docs to communicate in real time on one document and share your thoughts.
You might also consider Skype as a way to communicate. You can see and hear each other in real time to talk about your club's needs. A number of smartphones, in addition to your computer, allow for use of Skype. Don't give up. Get creative.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was younger, I'll admit it: I was pretty mean to my younger sister. Now that I am a little older, I like to think that I am much nicer to her.
Still, I feel like my sister sees me the way I used to be. For example, I have tried to give her constructive criticism and advice, but it usually ends in her yelling at me and refusing to listen. I guess I can't really blame her, but as an older sister I feel like I have some things to say that could actually help her.
How do I get my sister to believe that I am really just trying to help her and not being overly critical or cruel? -- Reformed Sibling, Ann Arbor, Mich.
DEAR REFORMED SIBLING: Have you ever sincerely apologized to your sister for the way you used to treat her? I think that's the place to start. She needs to know that you love her and respect her and want the best for her. She needs to be clear that you are aware of your bad behavior when you were younger, and that you realize it was unkind and cruel. Tell her how sorry you are for treating her badly back then.
Tell her that your intention now is to share your wisdom and support, not to criticize her unnecessarily. Ask if she will try to listen as you attempt to communicate in a more loving manner.