Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend's Troubled Past Causes Concern

DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor, who has become a friend, was incarcerated a few years ago for a white-collar crime. She did her time and is now living her life. She is very kind to me and would do anything she can to support me. She can be a little rough around the edges in the way she communicates, but so what? She’s loyal.

The problem is one of my business colleagues learned this woman and I are friends, thanks to social media, and she confronted me about it. She said it was bad for my reputation to be friendly with someone who has been in jail. How do I manage this situation? -- Dredging Up the Past, Denver

DEAR DREDGING UP THE PAST: Do your research to be clear about what crime your friend committed and how it was resolved. If you feel comfortable about where she is now and the substance of your relationship, maintain your friendship. You can say to anyone who challenges you that she has done her time and, as far as you are concerned, she is a good friend. For business purposes, whether her reputation can affect yours depends on what field you are in. It is possible.

(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 Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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