Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend's Social Media Obsession out of Hand

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend "Hana" is obsessed with social media validation. The second she posts on any social media platform, she automatically texts over a dozen of her closest friends to show support of her post. I didn’t see much of a problem with Hana’s texts until I was with her when she posted a photograph; she is glued to her phone for hours afterward! I know everybody wants to be “liked,” but I think she has crossed the line. Should I tell Hana that her social media obsession is unhealthy? -- Glued to Phone, Denver

DEAR GLUED TO PHONE: Good luck with this one. A strange side effect of the proliferation of social media is that it can often lead to disconnection and longing for affirmation. The drive for more likes has led people to mistakenly believe that a computer click is equal to a hug. It is not.

Can you help your friend to recognize that? It is doubtful. The way that many people engage social media today is reflective of addictive behavior. Your friend is caught up. You may be able to ask Hana to put her devices away when she is hanging out with you. Tell her that you think it is rude for her to constantly be studying her devices and engaging social media when you are together. Ask her to be fully present and enjoy your company. This is a fair request. If you can get her to stop obsessing over her gadgets and connect with you, you may be able to find the right moment to tell her that you worry about her social media engagement.

DEAR HARRIETTE: After a wine-filled night with friends, I accidentally told someone I strongly disliked them. Although I was inebriated, I do truly feel this way. I don’t want this moment to cause a rift in our group of friends. Neither of us was sober, and I am not sure if the person, "Dan," even remembers this specific moment. Should I apologize to him even though I don’t know if he remembers my distaste? -- Wine Night, Shreveport, Louisiana

DEAR WINE NIGHT: This is tough. On one hand, it would be great to apologize for getting intoxicated and loose-lipped. It’s always a good idea to acknowledge your mistakes and accept responsibility. The problem is that you do not want to lie to Dan, nor do you want to tell him again that you don’t like him. You could call him and say that you are sorry you spoke so strongly to him at the gathering. You can admit that you know everybody was drinking a lot, including you. Apologize if you offended him in any way. Do not lie. You can honestly be sorry for hurting his feelings even if what you said is true. If, when sober, Dan chooses to ask you if you meant what you said about him, you have to be ready to respond.

(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.)