Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Doesn't Want to Engage Trolling Friend

DEAR HARRIETTE: Someone who runs in a similar social circle as me is a nuisance on social media. He is a self-proclaimed "troll," and he adds inappropriate or lewd comments on posts. I blocked and unblocked him (so it seems like he never followed me in the first place), but he has privately messaged me, asking why I won't let him follow me. How can I tell him that he makes people uncomfortable on social media? He genuinely thinks he's hilarious. -- Not My Follower, Philadelphia

DEAR NOT MY FOLLOWER: You have been given an invitation to express your feelings about this person's behavior. Give him the gift of your insight. Definitely tell him that the reason that you have blocked him is because many of his comments on social media make you uncomfortable. Point out specific examples of posts he has made that were inappropriate. Be prepared to explain what you think is inappropriate about them. Be clear that what he thinks is funny, you find offensive. Add that you do not want to be linked to someone whose commentary does not reflect your values. You can also suggest that he tone it down in general. While you cannot speak for other people, let him know you suspect that others find him offensive, too.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Miscellaneous

DEAR HARRIETTE: What is the etiquette for passing down jewelry? Is this just for blood-related relatives? I ask because I have three stepdaughters who have an estranged mother. Would it be uncouth to pass down some of my family jewelry? I love them and want them to have something special that belonged to me. We are close, even though I am not their real mother. -- Pass Downs, Syracuse, New York

DEAR PASS DOWNS: First thing to know is you can give your possessions -- whatever they are -- to whomever you choose. There is no rule around giving. Obviously, if you have valuables, your family will likely expect you to share them within the family unit before you give more liberally. But even under that "rule," your stepdaughters would be at the front of the line.

Some families struggle with finding comfort, finding their place when they are stepfamilies and the other parent is still alive. Claim your stepdaughters as your own, never attempting to replace their mother, but being clear that you love them fully and would do anything for them. By all means, give each of them pieces of your family jewelry. They surely will appreciate it.

Let me add that you don't have to wait until your passing for them to receive jewelry from your estate. Consider giving them an item or several from your collection now. In this way, you can share stories with them of the jewelry's origin, of your youth, of your life. Consider each gift a way for you to connect more deeply with them. Your greatest gift to them may be the interaction that occurs around the offering of the jewelry, which will make the receipt of it that much sweeter.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Family & Parenting