DEAR HARRIETTE: My nephew, who is about to graduate from college, has always been somewhat of a lady’s man. He has good manners, but he has had a lot of girlfriends over the years. His last girlfriend got his name put on a necklace that she used to wear all the time. I noticed that he has a new girlfriend now, and I saw her wearing what appeared to be the same necklace. I’m sorry, but I think this is in poor taste. It’s almost like he’s branding these young ladies. I asked him about it, and he shrugged it off. It bothers me. Should I say something else to him about it, or maybe say something to my brother -- his father -- and try to get him to talk sense into his son? -- No Branding Here, Dallas
DEAR NO BRANDING HERE: You have no authority in this situation. Since you have already inquired and learned that your nephew likes the idea that his new girlfriend is wearing this name necklace, there’s likely not much more that you can say. You could give a “for the record” comment to your nephew that you are concerned that he is not being as respectful as you think is appropriate by doing this. But know that he may not listen.
Look around and you will see people who tattoo their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s names on their bodies. Many do this even before thinking about marriage.
You can speak to your brother. Tell him what your concerns are, and ask him how he feels about his son’s behavior, particularly around this name necklace. If your brother also is concerned about it, he may want to talk to his son a bit more. Ultimately, though, your nephew is becoming an adult and will have to make his own decisions.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother has been out of work for about six months now. He never had a great job, but he was always employed up until recently, when his company went out of business and everybody got laid off. Instead of looking for work, he seems to be moping around feeling sorry for himself. He lives with my parents, so he doesn’t have to worry about a roof over his head, and I think that is contributing to the problem. He doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency about his situation.
I’m worried that my brother will stay in this situation too long and find it impossible to get a new job. How can I help him to wake up and be more proactive? -- Turning the Corner, Philadelphia
DEAR TURNING THE CORNER: It is easy to sink into a depression when you are out of work. That may be what has happened to your brother. Talk to him. Tell him that you are concerned about him and that you want to support him as he gets back on his feet. Talk to him about what type of work he wants to do. Look up job opportunities online in categories where he has either experience or skill. Suggest that he go to the local chamber of commerce to inquire about jobs. Urge him on. Your insistence may be annoying, but it may also help to get him focused again.
(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.)