DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who means well, but she sometimes says things I take offense to. She will make comments about what I'm eating if she doesn't deem it healthy, and she has told me I could lose a few pounds. She doesn't say it to be malicious, but how can I remedy this without causing drama? She is becoming a broken record.
I have a bit of a weight problem, but I recently started a fitness routine with a trainer, so I'm on it. I would appreciate encouragement rather than constant critiquing. -- Feeling Fat, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR FEELING FAT: Congratulations on taking steps to become healthy. The best thing you can do for yourself is to claim a healthy lifestyle and then maintain it.
This is a lot easier said than done. It requires discipline, focus and consistency. I wish you the courage and conviction to stay the course.
Meanwhile, enroll your friend as a cheerleader. Assure her that you are paying attention to your health, and reveal your new fitness plan to her. Share how excited you are about developing this discipline. Ask her to support you, then describe what support looks like to you. Be sure to tell her that you prefer she not scrutinize your food choices, and that you are uncomfortable when she criticizes you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom signs me up for things without asking me. She recently signed me up for a program that will require me to take two days off of a prospective job and stay in a hotel away from home. I told her I didn't want to do it, but she just ignored me and said she knows what's best for me. I'm legally an adult, yet she's treating me like a child. (I do still live at home, and I think that's why she feels she can tell me what to do.)
How can I let her know that I can make my own decisions about whether or not I want to do something? -- Babied, Lake Charles, La.
DEAR BABIED: You need to have a heart-to-heart talk with your mother in which you share with her your hopes, dreams and plans. Tell your mother that you are grateful you are welcome to live in the family home as you begin your life as an adult, but that you want her to begin thinking of you as an adult.
Tell her that you have been working hard to determine how you spend your time. Signing you up for a program without your blessing, however well intentioned, was not respectful of you. Assure your mother that you appreciate her interest in your success. Ask her to support you by talking to you and engaging you in ideas about your future rather than jumping in and making decisions for you.
Please know that it can be challenging for a mother to recognize that her child has become an adult and should make his or her own decisions. You are in a transition period. When you move, it will be easier.