DEAR HARRIETTE: I was walking down the street and noticed that many groups of people -- three and four deep -- didn't move out of the way at all. If I hadn't moved, they would have run right into me.
I was so disturbed by this. The sidewalk is not meant for one group of people versus another. I was always taught that if you are walking in a group or even by yourself, you pay attention so there's room for everybody. People are so rude these days. Part of me wanted to keep walking and bang into them. Shy of that, what else could I have done? -- Ruffled, Harlem, N.Y.
DEAR RUFFLED: I'm sorry to say that I know exactly what you are talking about. I have witnessed it many times.
I think people have become oblivious to others in many circumstances. Being self-absorbed can cause all manner of uncomfortable situations when people are walking, including the straight-up rudeness you experienced.
What can you do? Upon approaching such a group, you could say in a loud voice, "Excuse me!" That could be an alarm for the others to move over a bit. You could even say, "I need a little room, please." But the truth is that people who aren't paying attention or who feel entitled to take up the whole sidewalk may remain unaware of you.
As tempting as it may be to bump into others who are taking up room, I do not recommend it. I witnessed such an incident the other day. Two men were walking on a crowded street and didn't make space for another man who was walking toward them. Instead, they bumped into him. He dropped his bag, doubled back and started a fight.
Readers, take a moment and ask yourself if you have ever been at fault in a situation like this. If so, pay closer attention to your surroundings. And make the conscious choice to share space with others rather than presuming that the sidewalk belongs to you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a party and ran into a woman who had on the exact same dress as me. I was mortified. Worse still, she wanted to hang out with me all night and take pictures. No way. I'm not a fashionista or anything, but I do like to have my own style.
Was I wrong to not want to hang with her? She's not my friend or anything. She was a guest at the event just like I was. -- Body Double, Washington, D.C.
DEAR BODY DOUBLE: I would be uncomfortable if I ran into someone dressed identically to me at a party, and I certainly wouldn't want to become her instant twin as a result. You were perfectly right to want to move on. It could be that the twinning was her way of dealing with an awkward situation.
Your choice to enjoy the party without her was a perfectly fine option as well. (I'm glad you didn't go home and change. It's better to keep it moving and have a good time.)