Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I was out with friends and saw an acquaintance sitting alone in the restaurant. He looked a little uncomfortable, so I thought I would rescue him. I invited him to come sit with us, and he accepted. He spent the rest of the time talking to the other people at the table and ignoring me, even though I was the one to invite him. I was offended. What is the best way to handle a situation like this? -- Snubbed, Philadelphia

DEAR SNUBBED: I'm sorry you didn't say something to your acquaintance at the time. While at the restaurant, you could have attempted to spark a conversation directly with him or even called him on his rudeness (privately) to wake him up to his actions.

Since you did not act in the moment, it is now time to follow up with him. But before you reach out, calm down. Assume the positive -- that the snub was unintentional. Tell him it was nice to see him. Add that you were taken aback by his behavior. Chances are he is oblivious to what he did -- or didn't do. Describe to him how you "rescued" him by welcoming him to sit with your group of friends and how, consciously or otherwise, he proceeded to become absorbed in the conversation without ever remembering to include you. Make it clear that you didn't appreciate it, but do not go on and on about it. Make your point and consider it handled.

DEAR HARRIETTE: After reading the sad letter from "Distraught," I wanted to let you know that Willow House is a wonderful resource for grief support in the Chicago area. Please visit our website ( to find out more. We charge no fees for peer support programs, outreach, education and crisis support. As a nonprofit, we rely on donations, grants and fundraising.

Support is vital to grieving families, and there are so few organizations like Willow House that provide a safe place to share sadness and hope, memories and fears with others who understand. -- Board Chair, Chicago

DEAR BOARD CHAIR: Thank you for your recommendation. What's particularly great about your program is that it is free to anyone in need in the Chicago area.

For those who are suffering in other parts of the country, do your research to find out if free resources are available where you live. Remember that you can reach out to your spiritual home and, in case of emergency, you can go to the hospital if you feel you need immediate help.

So many people are in emotional pain, whether because of bullying, identity crisis, loss or other event. The great news is that you do not have to suffer in silence or in isolation.