Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friends Take Pranks Too Far on April Fools' Day

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a sophomore in college, and I feel like I’m still getting tested by my peers. This past April Fools' Day, my friends dragged my mattress out onto the street, filled my blow-dryer with baby powder and put mayonnaise in my shoes. I enjoy a good prank, but I seriously believe this went too far. My shoes are ruined, my blow-dryer is not back to normal and I had to haul my mattress back upstairs all alone. Do I have the right to be upset, or should I ease up in the spirit of the holiday? -- Too Much, Atlanta

DEAR TOO MUCH: You have every right to be upset by your friends’ behavior. Indeed, these are not the kind of friends you really want -- meaning people who would go to such lengths to embarrass you and damage your property. You should absolutely speak up and let them know, in no equivocal terms, that you think they went too far and that you do not appreciate it.

Further, you have to think about how they behave normally. College is the time when you must make choices about how you spend your time, and with whom. I recommend that you reconsider these friends to determine how much positive engagement you have with them and whether you honestly think they are worth your time.

Extricating yourself from friendships isn’t easy, no matter how old you are. Evaluate your own behavior and that of your friends and peers. What do you value, and who shares your values? Based upon your answers, edit your friend group to those who would most likely choose to treat you with respect, even when they are teasing you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my biggest pet peeves is when somebody plays their music out loud instead of using headphones. When you are on the bus or subway, this is outrageous. I feel like a hostage having to listen to people blasting their music, making a tinny loud sound that nobody wants to hear, even if I happen to like the song. I believe it is rude to assume everyone around you wants to listen to your music or video selection. Is it rude to play your music out loud, or is this just my belief? I have always found it incredibly annoying. -- Bad DJ, New York City

DEAR BAD DJ: Preach! Seriously, it is invasive for someone to play music in public contained spaces without using earphones. I will take this one step further, too: Depending upon your earphones, even when you are wearing them, if they are not soundproof, people around you can still hear whatever you are playing -- and you may very well not realize it.

To all of you who are reading who listen to music in public, pay close attention to figure out if others can hear you. Obviously, you should wear headphones or ear buds, but beyond that, do a sound check to determine if your sound system is doing its job.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)