Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, one of my so-called best friends took a vacation with another of our mutual friends and didn't tell me. I was hanging out with her the day before she went on vacation, and all she said was that she would be out of town for a few days and would catch up with me when she got back. Then I noticed on her Facebook page that she was somewhere on a beach with our other friend. That really hurt my feelings. I can't understand why she wouldn't tell me. I get that friends don't always have to do things together, but why would she keep it a secret from me? What can I say to her without seeming like a baby? -- Unfriended, Philadelphia

DEAR UNFRIENDED: The next time you see your friend, be ready to bring up the subject of the vacation. Do your best to be even-tempered. Start off by asking her how she enjoyed her vacation. Tell her you saw the pictures on Facebook, and it looked like she had a good time. Add that you were surprised to see that she had gone with your other friend and hadn't mentioned it to you. Ask her why she chose not to tell you.

Listen carefully to what she says. Then, be sure to tell her that it hurt your feelings to be excluded from the information. Let her know that you didn't necessarily expect to be invited but that you think of her as your best friend and find it hurtful that she would choose to not tell you.

Depending upon her answer, you will gain insight into how she perceives your friendship, including if she considers you to be as close to her as you thought you were. What will be important for you is to figure out where you stand. By listening carefully, you can do that.

DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to the church leadership person who had been hospitalized for two weeks without any of the other church leaders being aware of it, I wonder if perhaps the church member might have not wanted to be visited. If he had, someone in his family certainly could have called. When my husband was in the hospital he really didn't feel like having company. He told the hospital NOT to notify the church. His wishes were respected. -- Private, Chicago

DEAR PRIVATE: You make a good point. Many people wish to maintain privacy when they are ill and/or hospitalized. Managing privacy can be a challenge, especially for some in a leadership role in a church community.

I will add that many churches appoint a particular person to be aware of such situations, and that person keeps such information confidential when requested. In this way, if an individual or family needs support, it can be easily accessed because the lines of communication are already open.