DEAR HARRIETTE: My colleague invited my husband and me to spend the weekend with her and her family at her country home. She extended the invitation about a month ago, and we were supposed to go this upcoming weekend. I convinced my husband to go with me. He is a homebody, so his preference is always to stay close to home, but he agreed because he really likes my friend.
My friend called me two days ago to say that we can’t come anymore. Some family members had just called to say that they are traveling and will be dropping in to visit with her at the exact time that we were going to be there. I am so disappointed but also angry. We set this plan in place weeks ago. I feel like she should have told her family to come at a different time. She sees them regularly, so it’s not like she couldn’t honor her commitment. Now my husband might never agree to go on a trip like this again. What can I do or say to my colleague? -- Uninvited, Cincinnati
DEAR UNINVITED: I suspect it’s too late for you to get your colleague to reverse her decision again. If it will make you feel better, you may want to let her know how disappointed you are, especially because your husband rarely agrees to venture beyond the homestead. But leave it there. Your friend was caught in an uncomfortable position. You don’t want to make it more challenging for her, especially because it won’t change anything.
Make a focused effort to design a special weekend for your husband and you that includes time at home and also some activity that is outside of your home. Think of something that he would enjoy that might inspire him to want to venture out more.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I met a woman at a luncheon, and she was lovely. We had a nice time talking, and it seemed like she could become a friend. I lost my husband about a year ago, and I have hardly gone out at all, so it was unusual and special to meet someone who seemed compatible with me as a friend. We exchanged numbers, and I called her a couple of days later, but she seemed so different. She didn’t seem to want to talk at all. When I suggested that we schedule a time to have tea or something, she brushed it off. At least that’s how it seemed. Perhaps she was busy that day and didn’t realize she was being abrupt. She still works, while I retired several years ago. Do you think I should give her a second chance and call again in a week or so to see if I get a friendlier response? -- Need a Friend, Charlotte, North Carolina
DEAR NEED A FRIEND: It is good to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. Consider that you may have caught her on a bad day. Give her some space and call again in a couple of weeks to check in. Be casual when you call. Tell her you were thinking about her and wanted to invite her to get together. It would be great if you have a specific activity in mind that she can react to. If she continues to sound distant and uninterested, stop there. She obviously isn’t interested or ready to welcome you as a new friend. If she sounds genuinely interested, even if she cannot join you, don’t give up on her yet.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)