DEAR HARRIETTE: I am up for a job at a large company in my town, and I learned one of my good friends is interviewing for the job as well. She is so excited, and she confided in me she is trying out for this job. I didn’t have the presence of mind to tell her I am interviewing for the same job. I’m sure we will see each other during the interview process. How can I let her know beforehand that I am also in the running without seeming like I am betraying her? We have both been unemployed for a while, so we both need a job badly. I can’t step aside on this one. -- On the Line, Severn, Maryland
DEAR ON THE LINE: Call up your friend or go to visit her. Wish her luck for the job interview. Add that you want her to know you are also interviewing for the job. Say you suspect many people you know will be in the running as well, because it is a good opportunity during tough times. Admit that you didn’t tell her right away because she was so excited and you didn’t want to dash her spirits. Offer your blessing for both of you to find something.
DEAR HARRIETTE: All my friends are planning to go together to buy the latest smartphone. They are making it kind of a “thing” so they will all be connected through this cool new device. I wish I could join them, but it’s not even a thought for me. I have student loans and other bills to pay. I cannot think of buying a phone that costs almost a thousand dollars. I don’t want to be the only person who isn’t part of the clique, but I can’t do it. How can I make them understand? -- Watching My Wallet, San Diego
DEAR WATCHING MY WALLET: You are smart not to get caught up in the marketing frenzy that has your friends set to jump into the latest craze. Be upfront with them. Without judging them, explain that you will not be participating. You understand how exciting it is to try out the new phone, but right now you have committed your funds to other things. No need to go into detail about your financial woes. You have no reason to feel uncomfortable or ashamed of your choice, either.
As hard as it may seem in the moment, you should feel proud of yourself for making your own decision -- what makes sense for you and your life right now regardless of your friends’ choices. It is not easy standing up for yourself, especially when peer pressure is so intense. Congratulations on standing your ground!
(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.)