Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Waiting for Meeting Where No One Shows Up

DEAR HARRIETTE: How long do you wait when you are invited to come to a meeting at someone’s office, but when you get there it’s an open working space and you can’t find the person anywhere? I get the economy of open spaces without administrative assistants, but it backfired on this day.

I arrived a few minutes early, tried to figure out where the woman I was meeting could be, emailed her, called the office phone and cellphone that were listed in her email signature, and nothing. I waited for a half-hour before I left. I didn’t have a way to leave her a note, so I sent her an email. Should I have waited longer? -- Disconnected, Chicago

DEAR DISCONNECTED: How important the meeting is for you should determine how long you wait. A half-hour to an hour seems reasonable. One of the biggest challenges in today’s open workspaces that do not have receptionists is that it can be difficult to find people when you are trying to reach them. Next time you could call or email in advance to confirm your meeting. On the back end, you sent the email. Be sure to follow up -- without an attitude -- to reschedule.

Read more in: Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics

Friend's Reason for Bailing Remains a Mystery

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been close friends with a guy for about five years. We used to work together and grew close as strictly platonic friends. He is about 10 years younger than me. I know he has a drinking problem, but it mostly hasn’t affected me. We don’t work together anymore or even live in the same town. I was going out to his hometown for work and contacted him to get together. We agreed about the plan and were both excited. When the time came, he didn’t show or call. I was so mad.

I don’t know if he passed out from being drunk or if he flaked because his girlfriend is jealous of our friendship. Either way, I think it sucks. We are close, and I think I at least deserve a call. We used to think of ourselves as best friends. Do you think a serious girlfriend could stand in the way of us keeping our friendship? He texted me a few days later apologizing, but that really isn’t good enough. -- Stood Up, San Diego

DEAR STOOD UP: The good news is, you know he is alive and remorseful. You need to have a heart-to-heart discussion with him. Give him a chance to tell you what happened. Listen, and then tell him how hurt you were by his unexplained absence. Remind him that you thought you two were best friends and that you believe you deserved at least a call saying he wasn’t coming.

Ask him if your friendship is causing problems in his relationship. Be direct. You need to understand what’s going on. Finally, ask him about his drinking. Let him know you are concerned that he drinks too much and could be putting himself in harm’s way. Discuss the status of your friendship, your hopes and expectations. Decide whether it can continue after your evaluation.

(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.)

Read more in: Love & Dating | Etiquette & Ethics | Mental Health | Addiction | Health & Safety