DEAR HARRIETTE: I keep waking up in the middle of the night worried about random things. It definitely has been stressful at my job recently, and I can't say I have handled it the best. Plus, my boyfriend has been less than nice (understatement) when I feel like I need him the most.
I'm a wreck. Please don't tell me to get a therapist. I can't afford it. I do need to do something. What can I do to help myself? -- Sleepless in Seattle
DEAR SLEEPLESS: Carve out as much stillness as you can. When you are at work, give your best effort. Stop trying to get your boyfriend to do anything, since he's unable to satisfy your needs right now. Make your home a safe place. Turn off the TV. Turn on soothing music. Take a bath every night when you get home. Drink water and herbal tea. Recite affirmations that you can find happiness and that you deserve it. This will help.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I read your column in the Chicago Tribune, and I would like to comment on your response to the letter from a writer who listened to her friend tell a bald-faced lie.
Your suggestion was to call him out in front of others. How could you possibly think this was the proper thing to do? It doesn't matter whether or not he was lying, and it is not up to his friend to embarrass him in front of a group of people. Humor certainly wouldn't have applied in this situation, either.
I really have a problem with people who are insensitive and who would humiliate someone in the presence of others. This is a matter where the letter writer should speak privately to the person who is not telling the truth. Think about it: Would you like someone to call you out on anything -- it doesn't have to be this scenario -- in front of a group of people where it makes you look like "2 cents waiting for change"? -- Concerned, Chicago
DEAR CONCERNED: I do not promote insensitivity or humiliation. I do promote honesty. Depending on the nature of the lie that is overheard, I maintain that the most honorable thing to do is to say something in the moment.
I have observed people say and do nothing when someone has told lies or been mean, generally because they didn't want to embarrass anyone. I think that following peer pressure to be quiet and wait for a private moment sometimes has big repercussions. It's not smart for a whole group to remain misled because no one will speak up to clarify the truth.
Of course, there are ways to correct people without humiliating them. Tone has everything to do with how a message is received. If not humor, one could use concerned curiosity. "Jim, I don't think that's exactly how it happened," or, "I heard that scene go down differently." The point is that the group should not sit by and allow inaccurate or hurtful information to go unchallenged.