DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I hang out with my friend, he leaves random things in my car. A month ago, it was his glasses, and today he told me left his hat in my car. I never saw it because it was in my back seat, which is odd because he was never in my back seat. I don’t want to return his hat because I think he’s doing it on purpose so that he’ll have an excuse to hang out again. If he wanted to hang out, he could just say that. I don’t appreciate being tricked. Should I say something about this? -- Feeling Tricked
DEAR FEELING TRICKED: Think about your friend. Is he shy? Does he seem timid around you at all? Could he secretly like you and be uncomfortable about expressing that?
More important: Do you like him? Is there any potential for sparks from your perspective? If so, you can playfully ask him why he keeps leaving stuff in your car. You can confront him about it with a pleasant, inviting approach.
If you are not interested in him, you can confront him more sharply. Ask him directly why he keeps leaving stuff in your car. Tell him he can get his hat whenever you see each other again, but right now you are busy. If you head off the reconnection, it will show your friend that his strategy is not working.