Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Former Roommates Don't Have to Be Friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: I ran into a woman the other day who was my roommate when I first moved to town. It has been years since we last saw each other. At first she didn't recognize me, but when I reminded her, we had a big hug. I'm wondering if I should do anything more after this. We exchanged cards, but mostly as a pleasantry. We were not friends. We somehow were roommates along with a few other people when we were in our 20s. Do I follow up with her since we shared our numbers? If so, what should I say? I am not trying to kindle a friendship with her; I just want to be appropriate. -- Protocol, Bronx, N.Y.

DEAR PROTOCOL: To acknowledge your reconnection, it would be thoughtful to send a quick email saying how nice it was to run into her after so many years. Add a compliment about her or your exchange, and wish her well. You do not need to suggest that the two of you get together in the future or anything else that is an empty overture. Just honor the moment by commenting on it. If she responds and actually wants to get together, you can do so if and when you have time. There should be no expectation of building a relationship on either side.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Summer is over, and I had a good time. But I feel kind of bad that I did not get to connect with some of my close friends. Time seemed to slip by, and just the other day I called a friend who I have not seen in a long time and we had a great talk. It got me to thinking: Time is so fleeting, and I didn't make time for her this summer. It's too late to do anything about the summer, but how can I make my friends more of a priority? I don't want to be the girl who works all the time and rarely catches up with the people she loves. -- Disconnected, Atlanta

DEAR DISCONNECTED: Getting organized and prioritized can help you to manage your relationships better. For years I have kept a daily to-do list that includes work responsibilities as well as home, family, friends, etc. I used to write down "drink water" every day because I was not making that a priority. Similarly, many people do not make connecting with loved ones a requirement.

Review your friend and family base. Remember the people you speak to often and those who you have been meaning to contact. Write down all of the names that come to mind. Now look at your calendar for the next three months. Pencil in different names on days when you believe you have time to talk for a few minutes. You can choose one evening a week after work or a weekend morning. Be sure to set aside enough time for a conversation if you actually reach the person. You can also send emails or handwritten notes to loved ones, telling them that you are thinking of them. These overtures count!