Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Makes Up Story

DEAR HARRIETTE: The girl I’ve been calling my best friend for years has just done the worst possible thing. She made up a story about me that was horrible and then told it to everybody in our grade. We are in middle school. I am so upset.

My mother told me to get over it, but how do I do that? I have to go to school with all these kids who now think I am a terrible person. I tried to talk to my friend about it, but now all of a sudden she doesn’t want to talk to me. I can’t imagine what I did to make her act like this. I know my mom reads your column, so I was wondering what you think I should do? -- Mean Girl Drama, Cleveland

DEAR MEAN GIRL DRAMA: When your friends choose to hurt you, it can be devastating. To lie about you with the intention of turning people against you is cruel. You should go to your teacher and principal to report what you believe your friend did. Be as precise as possible and bring any backup information that can prove what you are suggesting she did. If you have emails or social media postings that point to the story, bring those. If other students have told you that your friend shared the lie with them, give their names to the teacher and principal. As scary as it may seem to report this behavior, it is important. People should not get away with slandering someone’s name. This is a form of bullying. By standing up for yourself, you create space for support.

You also should open your eyes to other students. It is time to make new friends. I know that isn’t easy to do, especially when you are feeling sad and hurt, but this girl is no friend of yours if she is intentionally trying to hurt you.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Teens | Abuse | Work & School

Healthy Lunch Draws Ridicule

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been on a weight-loss plan for a few months now. What is working for me is eating cottage cheese and fruit in the morning. I sometimes bring it with me to work and eat it at my desk. The people sitting nearby often eat bagels or muffins, and it has been fine.

All of a sudden one woman who sits near me has started to talk about my food. She calls my cottage cheese “grandma food” and finds ways to poke fun at me whenever I am eating. She even went so far as to say she thinks it’s a waste of time to eat such nasty food only to lose a couple of pounds. I was furious. I’m doing my thing, minding my business. How can I get her to back off? -- Healthy Living, Miami

DEAR HEALTHY LIVING: Congratulations on your weight-loss program. It’s not easy to stick to a consistent path of wellness. It takes time to develop discipline. Good for you that you are doing it.

You have a couple of options with this woman. You can ignore her. Eventually she will stop if you don’t react. Or you can offer to share some of Grandma’s food with her! Don’t let her see she is upsetting you. That will only exacerbate the situation.

(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: Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School | Friends & Neighbors