DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently focused on building my savings account and becoming financially secure. I work a 9-to-5 job, and I bartend on the weekends, so this doesn’t leave much time for myself. Recently, my friend "Alec" told me that he sees me as something more than a friend. I could see us in a relationship, but I am honestly too focused on creating stability right now. Do I let this opportunity pass me by? I barely have time for myself, let alone a relationship. -- Riding Solo, Dallas
DEAR RIDING SOLO: I believe in creating a well-balanced life. From my perspective, that includes a partner with whom you can share your victories and challenges. Sure, it’s important to become financially secure. This should be a goal for every person. But to what end? I don’t think you need to consider financial independence as mutually exclusive of having a loving relationship.
Instead of shooing Alec away, talk to him about your goals and dreams. Ask him to share his as well. Express your focus on building financial security. Find out his perspective on finances and the future. As you talk to him about the things that are important to you, you will discover whether you two have compatible interests and goals. If you do, consider sharing some of your time with Alec as you continue with your life’s plan.
I met a couple recently who met when they were young and each dreaming about designing a better life for themselves. They started out as friends, and ended up getting married and being business partners. From nothing more than talking about the future, they built a life for themselves and a business that was worth millions.
DEAR HARRIETTE: "Sean" and I have been friends for a few years. For most of the time we’ve known each other, he’s been in a serious relationship. That recently ended with his now-ex breaking his heart. At first, I became his confidant because I wanted to help him get through this tough time, but now I am hearing that he is staying close to me to try to use me as a rebound.
I am very put off by Sean right now, and I want to know if he ever saw me as a friend. Should I confront Sean about what I’ve been hearing or just let his messages go unanswered? -- Friends?, Boston
DEAR FRIENDS?: Talk to Sean directly. Tell him what you have heard about his intentions and how upsetting these rumors are. Speak about your feelings. If you like him as more than a friend, tell him. But know that people typically need time to heal right after breakups. Often, the person who is there immediately after does become the rebound person, even if it isn’t intentional.
If you want a real chance with Sean, you may need to step back or at least draw the line as to what boundaries you are willing to cross with him until he is on solid ground. By all means, be honest with him about where you stand and what you want from your friendship.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)