Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend's Behavior Causes Reader to Want Distance

DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, one of my friends broke up with her boyfriend. She claims that since she hasn’t been single in a long time, she can do whatever she wants with boys. Her actions have been a little out of control. She is betraying her girlfriends, including me. Every time somebody tells her she has changed, she gets really defensive. I have begun to distance myself from her. She keeps asking me what is wrong, or what she did. I am not sure what to do because I want to simply avoid drama, but I also want her to understand what she is doing. -- Girl 4 Girl, Portland, Oregon

DEAR GIRL 4 GIRL: Your friend is giving you permission to tell her the truth. Do it. This doesn’t need to be a prolonged conversation. To protect yourself and avoid drama, as you have said, limit the interaction about this to one main conversation. Agree to speak to your friend. Tell her that you are concerned about her behavior ever since she and her boyfriend broke up. Give her specific examples of things she has done that have been disturbing. Do your best to point to actions that could be directly harmful to your friend as well as those that can and have hurt others. Include how she betrayed you.

Suggest that she get some professional help to work through the pain of her breakup and the reality of her life today. You cannot do this for her, nor can other friends.

Reader Feels Protective Over Hair Length

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom wants me to get a haircut. My hair is really long -- it goes down to my butt. I haven’t gotten a haircut in over four years because I had a very bad experience. I asked my hairdresser to cut off 4 inches, and she cut off about 8 inches. My hair was so short that it took over a year to grow back to a normal length. I am scarred. My mom is forcing me to go get a haircut but I don’t want one. Since I still live in her house (I am in high school), I have but so much power. What should I do? -- Luv My Hair, Queens, New York

DEAR LUV MY HAIR: Did you know that when you trim your hair every few months, your hair remains healthier and may even grow faster? This is true even if your stylist gets a little scissor-happy, so relax. It is good for you to go to the hairdresser for a trim or cut. Be specific about your desires. As far as length of hair, show your stylist where you want your hair to fall in relation to your shoulder. Implore the stylist not to cut above that line. Bring someone with you who can help reinforce your length limit.

Ultimately, you should get a haircut. You should remember that your hair will grow back. You are fortunate to have hair that grows very long. If you want a better reason, consider cutting your hair more dramatically for a cause, giving it to Locks of Love (locksoflove.org). Many women grow their hair to cut it for this charity that offers hair for wigs for sick children who have suffered hair loss.

(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.)