Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Whose Boyfriend Is This Anyway?

DEAR HARRIETTE: My "best friend" has me upset. I recently reunited with my boyfriend, and she has been communicating with him too much, in my opinion. She friended him on Facebook and comments on all of his postings. She writes to him more than I do!

She has her own boyfriend, and I don't really think she's trying to steal mine. I think she is jealous and possessive and wants me to herself. I don't know what to say to get her to back off. I don't want to hurt her feelings. -- Annoyed, Orlando, Fla.

DEAR ANNOYED: If she is your best friend, that means you have had meaningful conversations in the past. Now is the time for one more.

Tell her that you feel uncomfortable about the frequency with which she communicates with your boyfriend. Tell her that although you don't think she's trying to get in the middle of your relationship, you would like for her to give your boyfriend a little distance. Tell her you want her to be your friend and to let you be his girlfriend.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My family raised me that piercings and tattoos are not acceptable. My mom threatens that if I get a tattoo, she will remove it while I sleep -- and I'm 30 and living on my own. I think my body is a temple and ink is decoration.

I think it would be good for "Inkless" to tell her daughter to come up with an idea that is unique and has special meaning. She can save her money and have a tattoo artist draw up the design. Then she should hang it on her wall, where she will see it every day for the next few years. When she is old enough, she can get it done with her own money.

I had a design in my head at age 16. I paid a tattoo artist to draw out the design (a full back piece) and lived with it for four years. Needless to say, I changed my mind and am still ink-free.

Don't get wall art done. Choose something with meaning, then go as far as having it done in henna ink, which disappears in a few weeks, to make sure you really love the design and the placement before committing to a tattoo. Removal is painful and does not always work in the long run.

Plan the decorating of your temple well. It's hard to repaint stone. -- Thoughtful, Lake Geneva, Wis.

DEAR THOUGHTFUL: Thank you for sharing your insight into this practice. I have already stated my opinion, which essentially mirrors your parents'. I am old school about permanently altering the human body, and I am practical.

Your approach can serve as a thoughtful bridge for those who are considering tattoos. Taking your time, doing your research and living with the image in your room can help you to make a conscious decision as to whether this is a step you want to take.