DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started a business and work out of my home. I need to have client meetings to get things going, but I don’t have a place to go. I have been inviting people to meet me for coffee or drinks at various locations, but that is getting expensive. I don’t have much disposable income right now. If I invite someone to meet with me, I feel like I have to offer them something. I don’t know what to do. I get that you have to pay to play, but I can’t keep paying at these prices. -- On the Path, Philadelphia
DEAR ON THE PATH: Do a little research on your spending patterns. How much do you typically spend per month to entertain clients? Count every cup of coffee, doughnut, lunch, drink or dinner. Be specific so you can assess what you have allowed yourself to afford thus far.
Next, consider some of the popular temporary workspaces popping up in your area. Often you can rent a desk with access to a conference room for a relatively low monthly fee. Then, voila, you have an office and can invite people to meet you there. You can also look for free public spaces to meet, including the library -- if there is a room where you are allowed to meet. Look for enclosed public spaces that are opulent and that attract a professional population. This could include open space that’s attached to a business. You have to get creative to identify an opulent space you can afford, which is why the rented desk and conference room could be the answer. Don’t give up!
DEAR HARRIETTE: When do you stop trying to keep a friendship going? I ask because I made friends with a woman a few years ago, and we spent a lot of time together initially. I met her through a mutual friend who remains friends with both of us. But whenever I contact this woman to get together, she’s busy. I have been sending her notes every few months for about two years. Sometimes she writes back to say hello, but nothing has happened. I know how busy our lives can get, which is why I don’t necessarily think she’s brushing me off. But still, it has been two years. Do I give up now? -- Distant Friend, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR DISTANT FRIEND: How important is this woman to you? You must decide. If you believe she adds value to your life, you can continue to check in on occasion. What she is making clear to you is that you are not a priority for her right now. I recommend that you cultivate the relationships that feel ripe for the harvest. One day, this friendship may feel more favorable. Until then, you will likely be left unfulfilled because she is not choosing to make time for you. Never forget your own value; you are worthy of respect and thoughtfulness. If you aren’t getting that from someone you like, step away until you believe you will be welcomed.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)