Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: A lot of my friends are artists, and as they are looking to make new work, they use social media fundraising sites to raise money. I have gotten at least 10 requests recently from people I know well as well as people who are acquaintances, asking me to contribute to their projects. I like the idea of this type of fundraising mechanism, but I also feel like I am being hustled. I respect the fact that people want to make their projects happen. I am just not sure how I should manage this. I can't afford to support all of these people. How do I choose? How do I say no when I don't want to do it or don't have the cash to do it? -- Tapped Out, Chicago

DEAR TAPPED OUT: Why not approach these requests individually? Review what each project is and determine whether it interests you. Do you want to support the particular person? Do you believe in the project? If the answers are yes, then figure out how much you can afford to give.

If you believe in a project but do not have the financial resources, you can say as much to your friend. Send a note or make a call congratulating the person on the creative pursuit in question. State that you wish the person the very best with the project and that, unfortunately, you will not be able to make a financial contribution at this time.

For people who are not a part of your life but who are soliciting financial resources through these social media means, you can simply decline to contribute.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend lost her father six months ago, and she just lost her mother's last remaining sibling. She is so sad. Now she has no parents or aunts or uncles. She has a husband and child, but she is feeling very distressed right now. I am not sure how to support her, other than to talk to her on the phone as much as possible. We live in different states. I attended her dad's funeral. I was not able to get to her aunt's, but I will be visiting her later this summer. What else can I do? -- Friend in Need, Jackson, Miss.

DEAR FRIEND IN NEED: Dealing with loss is tremendously difficult. Your friend essentially has lost all of her family elders. That has to be difficult. It will likely take her time to accept her new reality.

It is a blessing that she has her nuclear family and you to love and support her. What you can do is continue to be a great listener. Call, text and email her with frequency. Check in to see how she is managing. Ask her, with some frequency, what you can do to help her out. On occasion, she may tell you specific things that you can do.