DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently learned that one of my neighbors lost his job and is about to be evicted. It turns out, he hasn’t had electricity in his apartment for more than a year. Who knew? I feel horrible. I could have cooked him a hot meal or been more attentive.
I like this guy. Whenever I would see him, he always looked so chipper. I had no idea he was suffering. At this point, it sounds like he has to move. I want to reach out to tell him I care about him without embarrassing him. Is it trite to invite him over for drinks or dinner? I’m not trying to get in his business. I just want to be a good neighbor. -- Extending a Hand
DEAR EXTENDING A HAND: Talk to the person who let you know what is going on with this neighbor to find out about his state of being and whether they think it would be a wise idea to invite him over. Be mindful not to gossip or be more inquisitive than feels natural.
If it seems right to invite him over, do so. You can keep it light. Tell him that you haven’t seen him in a long time and wanted to see him during the holiday season. If he comes, don’t pry. Just enjoy a light moment. If he tells you about his circumstances, be compassionate without asking too many questions. Make sure you have his phone number and email address, and give him yours. That way, you can send him a holiday message no matter where he is and keep your connection if you so desire.