DEAR HARRIETTE: I witnessed my classmate shoplift yesterday. She had invited me to go with her to the mall, and I went. Hey, that's what we teens do after school. I like this girl, but I don't know her really well.
I was shocked to see that she put something in her purse and walked out. I wasn't sure what to do.
I called her on it, and she said it was "light stuff." I'm upset. At the least, I want to step away from her, but she has a big personality. How should I handle this so I don't lose all my friends? -- Angry, Salt Lake City
DEAR ANGRY: Be happy that you are not a shoplifter. It can be a sickness for people. Who knows what your classmate's reality is?
It's good that you already addressed the situation with her. Broach the subject one more time, and tell her that her shoplifting is a deal-breaker for you. You like her, but you do not condone that kind of behavior. Tell her that you don't intend to broadcast what she did to your group of friends, but you hope she will get the help she needs to start making different decisions.
As far as the other friends go, you have to make a decision. You can choose to keep the theft secret and let the cards play out as they will. Or you can privately speak to your closest friends and let them know that you and the other girl have experienced a rift and that you hope it will not affect your friendship. No need to describe the rift. Just get on the front end of it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a freelance gig that was good for twice a month for several years. I did a good job and got great feedback from my bosses. But then new management came in, and I don't get calls anymore. My freelance gig is done. I'm so sad about it. And I don't know if I have a leg to stand on to retaliate. I have called a few times to see if there's a role for me, but I haven't even gotten a response. Don't you think that's rude?
Is there anything more I can do? I get that new management sometimes means the end of the status quo, but I never thought I would be a part of that. -- It's Over, New Orleans
DEAR IT'S OVER: How about another approach? Ask your former boss if you can get a recommendation for the work you did together. This may open up a dialogue. If the person realizes you have been pushed out but cannot do anything about it, chances are the recommendation letter will be filled with flourishes.
Though it's hard to do, I strongly recommend that you attempt to not take it personally. Of course your feelings are hurt, but it may not be about you. Do a self-evaluation on that point. And get your letter to help forge what's next for you!