Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to my ex-boyfriend’s family dinner. I am friends with his family and his siblings, but going there for dinner would make me feel uncomfortable. The thought was there, and they are very nice to me, but they keep on inviting me. I politely decline, but how do I tell them nicely that I do not feel comfortable eating there anymore? -- Ex-Friend, Salt Lake City

DEAR EX-FRIEND: This is an awkward situation, even though some people manage to navigate it without difficulty. My recommendation is to communicate with the family member with whom you feel the closest. Have a direct conversation with him or her, and thank the family for remaining so kind and thoughtful to you. Admit that you are not comfortable coming to their home for dinner, at least not right now. Explain that since you and your ex are no longer together, you need some time before being connected to his family. Ask that the family try to understand.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was in the school parking lot, walking to my car. I was pretty far from my car, but I could still see it from a distance. As I was walking to my car, I saw the person who was parked next to me hit my door. It has a few scratches, but nothing too bad. This person just drove away, thinking nobody saw it. I do not know how to confront this person because he doesn’t know I saw him hit my car. But I know him. He is in one of my classes. I am mad that he thought he could get away with banging up my car and just driving off. How should I tell him? -- Damaged Car, Milwaukee

DEAR DAMAGED CAR: If you are sure of who hit your car, say something to him about it. Without a video or another eyewitness, you may not be able to get him to pay for damages, although you could try. But even if it’s just for posterity and honesty, you absolutely can call out this classmate for scratching up your door and then driving off. You can even speak to the principal about it, pointing out what you believe happened. This will likely embarrass the alleged offender. Depending on his personality and willingness to be honest, he may not ever admit any wrongdoing. What you will have done, though, is to stand up for yourself.

If, by chance, the parking lot has surveillance cameras, you may be able to prove your case. It is worth asking, even if the scrapes are insignificant, as long as you truly believe that this person is lying. Good luck!

(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.)