DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been single for about 10 years, and I’m lonely. I have used some of those online sites to try to find companionship, and it hasn’t worked. Recently, I met a man online while on a business trip. He seemed nice enough, but it turns out all he wanted was a booty call. This was before I had even met him in person! I don’t want to give up yet, but I don’t know what to do. I work a lot, so I don’t have a whole lot of free time, but I am willing to make time to meet someone new. -- Lonely Girl, Seattle
DEAR LONELY GIRL: I have talked to too many women like you who wish for a partner but haven’t found one yet. As a long-time married woman, I have not been on the dating scene for years. When I ask friends and associates or read up on the issue, the tried-and-true advice is to make yourself go out to places and activities that you believe you will enjoy, and that men also attend. You have to put yourself out there and pay attention to notice who’s in your space. Be proactive and speak to people who seem interesting.
Be sure to give people a chance even if they may live outside your comfort zone. This could mean considering potential partners outside your race, socioeconomic background or geographic location. You have to think outside of the box and imagine the life you want to live with a partner, and then put yourself in situations where you are living that life. Then notice who else is living it, too. Being authentically you is essential so that you attract people who like the true you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time my mother doesn’t answer her phone, I go into a panic. My family and I moved her into an assisted living facility about a year ago because she wasn’t doing well living on her own. This helps, but when she doesn’t pick up, I can’t help but think the worst. That snowballs into a bad scene. I call everywhere looking for her. So far, I have found her safe each time. What can I do to be less anxious about my mother’s safety? -- Looking Out for Mom, Sarasota, Florida
DEAR LOOKING OUT FOR MOM: Talk to the facility where your mother is staying to learn how they account for their residents. Each place will have its own system of checking on those who live there. One common approach is for the facility to require residents to ring a bell that indicates electronically that they are OK. If the bell isn’t rung by a certain time, the front desk places a call and then sends someone to check if there still isn’t an answer. Find out what happens at your mom’s place.
Build a rapport with the front desk folks. Call them when you are worried, and ask them to find your mom. Schedule specific times each day when you call your mom. If she doesn’t answer or call back, call the building. By defining systems and following those that already exist, you create space for ease.
(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.)