Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Embarrassed by Sweaty Palms

DEAR HARRIETTE: I suffer from very sweaty palms. Regardless of the temperature or environment I am in, this embarrassing condition follows me. As you can understand, I hate introducing myself to people because of the expected handshake. Is there any way to keep etiquette standards while not wiping my sweat on the other person's palm? -- Soaked, Richmond, Virginia

DEAR SOAKED: For health reasons, I want to encourage you to get a physical. On occasion, sweaty palms could point to health concerns that you should have checked out. Beyond that, get practical. Keep a handkerchief in your pocket, and wipe your hand briefly before offering it to shake -- even at impromptu moments. Before going into the public, wipe your hands, then use a bit of talcum powder on them. Powder can help to absorb some of the excess moisture on your hands.

If you cannot figure out how to get them dry, resort to alternative handshakes. Depending upon the circumstances, you might use the now-popular fist bump, which keeps your palm covered. You could nod and do a slight bow. Yes, these things could feel awkward, but people often figure out alternative ways to engage people in social rituals that can work for them. You can get creative and find your own greeting that keeps everybody dry!

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety

DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to be very chubby. My family and friends teased me incessantly. I think my family made their comments to try to get me to eat better and be healthier. My friends? Forget about it. They were just mean. Anyhow, now I exercise for at least an hour every day. I'm just 17, but it's already paying off. I see real results, even though I have a long way to go.

My sister thinks it is funny to videotape me while I work out to scare me. She posts these videos so her friends can see, and they embarrass me. Sometimes I am not wearing a shirt! I am a boy, so the standards are different, but I still don't know how to get her to stop doing this. The madder I get, the funnier she thinks it is. -- Losing Patience, Silver Spring, Maryland

DEAR LOSING PATIENCE: It's time to engage a parent. Yes, I said it! If your sister is unwilling to draw the line between public and private even after you have made it clear that you do not want to be filmed or shared on social media and she does it anyway -- in your home -- you have to exercise your privacy rights with the leading authorities -- your parents.

Whoever you engage for help, go for it now. You should be able to exercise in the privacy of your home wearing whatever you choose without fear of being publicly humiliated. If your adults don't help you, start locking your door or finding other places to work out.

(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: Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics