DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is trying to marry me off every chance he gets. I asked him why he was so concerned about my personal well-being. His response was, "You're a good guy, and I don't want to see you alone for the rest of your life."
I know he means well, but how do I tell my friend to slow down and quit trying to get me married? -- Not in a Rush, New York
DEAR NOT IN A RUSH: I've heard a lot of women with your complaint. Loved ones worry about the "good guys" and "good gals" who are single, often thinking it's unfair that they are alone. I'm sure your friend means well, but he has stepped into your business.
Be direct with him. Tell him that although you appreciate his concern and respect, you are comfortable as you are. If you choose to add more, you can explain that you are trying not to jump into anything before it feels right. You may have other reasons as well.
What's actually more important is for you to give clear thought to why you are single. Are you content with your choice? Do you want to find a partner? If so, what's standing in your way? Finances? Living conditions? Health? Go deep in your contemplation to figure out if anything is holding you back from seeking a partner. If so, examine that.
You don't need to report all this to your friend, by the way. But this could be a wake-up call for you to evaluate your life and make a conscious decision about how to proceed regarding dating. Food for thought, eh?
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has a teacher who is toxic with her speech. She never gives her students any positive affirmations when they answer questions correctly or when they express their dreams for their lives. I tell my children that if you dream big, you can do anything your heart desires. All I want is for my daughter's teacher to express the same feelings toward her students.
How can I address my displeasure with the performance of this teacher? -- Unhappy Mom, Salt Lake City
DEAR UNHAPPY MOM: Start by requesting a meeting with your daughter's teacher. Tell her that you are concerned about some of the things you have been told about how the class is functioning. Be careful not to place blame. You want to learn what her position is and not put her on the defensive. Also, as much as you trust your child, her interpretation of what's going on in the classroom may not be fully accurate.
So tell the teacher what you have heard and, more, what you want for your child. Ask if she would be willing to notice positive characteristics and behaviors in your daughter and point them out. Tell her that you are counting on her to motivate the students.
Can you get her to instill your values into your child? Maybe. If the school shares your values, you may be able to enlist support from the principal. But your particular approach to teaching values needs to remain your role. You cannot force the teacher to teach your lessons.