DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is an artist. He has worked on many projects, and over the years he has started capital campaigns to get his friends and others to help fund his ideas. I like the fact that he is trying every way he can to pay for his ideas, but I find it uncomfortable to keep getting these pitches from him. I know him. We went to college together. I like him a lot, but I do not have the resources to continue to help fund his projects. I feel guilty for not wanting or being able to give him money when I receive requests from him in very personal ways -- like via text or direct message on social media. How can I handle this? Should I say something to him? -- Pitch Fatigue, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR PITCH FATIGUE: The only reason to say something to your friend directly would be if you want to educate him on his strategy. You could tell him that his requests make you feel uneasy, because you like him but do not like the pressure from him of contributing to his work.
You could also simply not respond. Typically, the response rate for direct mail pitches of any kind is low. People who do broad pitches, even when they reach you personally, do not expect every single person to respond and donate. You can ignore the pitches until and unless something he is doing appeals to you. If you see him at some point, you can congratulate him on his new project and wish him well. If he asks whether you will be able to help him out, say, “not this time.”
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been going out with a nice guy for a few months now. We have had a great time and seem to have similar interests. He is very thoughtful and attentive. I took him to a picnic with some of my longtime friends last weekend because I felt like it was time for them to meet him. I waited for a while because I have brought other guys in the past, but then the relationship didn’t last. This one feels like a keeper.
At the picnic, one of my friends met my boyfriend but was acting kind of strange. I followed up with her the next day, and she told me that she used to date my boyfriend a few years ago, and she was surprised to see him there. She quickly told me he didn’t do anything wrong in their relationship. Actually, she dumped him for another guy. She felt awkward around him. What do I do now? I don’t want to lose my friend or my boyfriend. -- Awkward, Philadelphia
DEAR AWKWARD: Talk to your boyfriend. Tell him you noticed that your friend acted strange when they met and what she told you later. Ask him for his take, including whether he feels OK about being around her from time to time. Some people get over exes easily, even when there was a rocky ending. Work it out with your boyfriend, and incorporate him into group activities accordingly.
(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.)