Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Needs Help Dealing With Family Issues

DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend has been fighting with her parents more than usual. This friend likes to keep her life very private, but we can tell she has a lot of thoughts bottled up. She doesn’t like to talk to us -- her friends -- about it because she wants us to think that she has the perfect family. She doesn’t understand that every family has their fights and every child fights with her parents. We can relate. She needs someone to talk to who can keep it confidential -- maybe even a therapist. My friends want to tell her, but we know she will get upset and offended. What should we do? -- Stargirl, Providence, Rhode Island

Dear STARGIRL: Sometimes the greatest gift in friendship is risking the longevity of the relationship for the greater good -- in this case, your friend’s mental health. If you firmly believe that your friend needs psychological support in order to be healthy, make the recommendation. Frame it as you did here by pointing out that everyone has family challenges. Give an example of yourself or a mutual friend to make it real for her. Preface your next statement by saying that even though you know she will be upset by what you need to say to her, you have something that must be said. Tell your friend that you are worried about her and that you feel strongly that she should see a therapist. Explain that a neutral professional may be able to help her sort through her feelings and issues and support her in figuring out how to handle what’s on her plate.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Prom is in a few weeks, and I am finalizing my dress, hair and makeup. My dress is dark blue, and my date keeps asking me what color tuxedo he should wear. He also wants to wear dark blue, but I want him to wear black. Will the blue on blue clash or look bad? What should I tell him? -- Blue Couple, Omaha, Nebraska

DEAR BLUE COUPLE: It’s sweet that your date wants to match his tuxedo to your dress. The range of choices for male formal attire is so limited that he should get credit for wanting to be a bit creative. What you should know about dark blue is that it will likely read as black in many pictures if it is really dark. In terms of deciding whether it will clash with your dress, go to the rental store and take a look at the color. If you can bring your dress, that’s great. If not, take a good look at it -- and a photo. Then you can compare to your dress.

Chances are, the tuxedo will look great with your dress if both are dark blue, even if the colors aren’t identical. Plus, your date will feel great because you trusted him to do his best to complement you with his attire. It can be a win-win all around!

(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.)