DEAR HARRIETTE: I am so embarrassed. I sent a series of text messages to a woman I reconnected with at a conference recently. Nothing untoward, but messages talking about how much fun we had at the event and inviting her to come with me to another event that's coming up. Well, it turns out I was sending the messages to the wrong person. The texts were going to her husband. He is a nice man but very proper, and my notes were very familiar. He wrote back to tell me my mistake. Now I wonder if I need to do anything other than apologize for making the mistake of sending the messages to him. It was an honest mistake, but it feels weird. -- Mistaken Identity, Bronx, N.Y.
DEAR MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Unless you have left something out, I do not see why you need to do anything other than return the text with a simple apology. Thank goodness you did not say anything rude, revealing or inappropriate in the text messages. As a general rule, I recommend that no one make that mistake. If you have something to say that is sensitive, it is best said face-to-face, not through an electronic transmission.
But if what you did was basically invite this woman, his wife, to an event, only you sent the invitation to the wrong address, take a breath. You made a simple mistake. Close the loop and let it go.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I hung out with a group of women recently, and we all got to talking about how much we want to get fit. All five of us are at least 20 pounds overweight, and I believe that all of us have made efforts here and there to do something about it. But I know for me that so far nothing has lasted. I long to be the size I was in my 20s. I suppose that is unrealistic, but I believe that I don't have to be stuck in what I know is an overweight body. How can I stop longing for a change and make one instead? -- Fat and Frustrated, Los Angeles
DEAR FAT AND FRUSTRATED: You need to make a plan that includes the proper support system. Start by going to your doctor and getting a complete physical. Make sure that you are clear about your overall health. If there are any particular concerns that need to be addressed, figure that out so you can add any to your checklist. Ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist. Sometimes you can work with a nutritionist using your insurance, especially if you are discovered to have a pre-existing condition that requires you to lose weight.
Join Weight Watchers or another of the programs that supports you in your attempt to lose weight. Ultimately, you need to manage how many calories you put in versus how many calories you burn each day. It is wise to exercise as well. Start at home using fitness programs on TV or DVD. Join a gym. Walk with friends. Pick a physical activity that you can commit to, and check in with your friends. Be one another's motivation.