DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I have used up all of my political capital. I have been in a funk for a few months, and my friends have really been sticking by me. I am so grateful, but I can tell that they are getting tired of me. When I call two of my friends, they don't always answer the phone. That never used to happen. When we do talk, they jump off quickly if I go into one of my stories. I don't mean to be a drag on them, but I need them so much and they are always there for me. I don't want to lose my friends, but I don't know how to deal with my stuff without their help. -- Pushing Them Away, Philadelphia
DEAR PUSHING THEM AWAY: Give yourself credit for noticing your effect on your friends. Awareness is the first step in making a difference in your life. You need to realize that your friends are not a professional support system. Even though they love you, unless they are professional therapists, they do not have the skill to walk you through challenges and effectively help you to make different decisions in order to climb out of your bad space.
Stop trying to make them be what they are not. Instead, get a professional therapist to help you. Talk through your issues in that space. Let your friends know that you have gotten a psychologist, and thank them for attempting to help you for all this time. Tell them you miss hanging out and will do your best to be able to be a friend without dumping your stuff on them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A young woman at my job has been wearing skirts and dresses recently that are see-through. I really don't think she knows it. In the regular office light you can't tell, but in the sunlight or any strong light you can see right through them to her underwear. I know I am kind of old-fashioned -- I still wear slips when they are called for. I know that young people hardly even know what slips are. I want to tell this young lady how sheer some of these garments are so that she can at least decide if a slip is worth considering. She doesn't seem like the kind of person who wants people looking at her privates, but the men at work definitely do when she is not looking. -- Peek-a-Boo, Washington, D.C.
DEAR PEEK-A-BOO: As you already know, this young lady may or may not welcome your comments. Share them anyway -- privately. Pull her aside and explain that you have something sensitive you want to share with her. Tell her that sometimes you can see her underwear through her skirts and dresses. Acknowledge that you weren't sure if she was aware of it and recommend that she consider a slip when she is wearing sheer garments. Leave it at that unless she asks you for specifics about which clothes you mean. If she asks, tell her. Good looking out!