Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Must Decide Between Two Parties on Same Night

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to an after-work event about a month ago, and I agreed, primarily because I am trying to put myself out there more. (I tend to be a homebody.) It is a cocktail party to launch the fall season in my industry.

The crazy thing is, I just got another invitation for the same evening to another event, and the second one sounds way better than the first. The second one has an amazing guest and sponsor list. It looks great. Both are receptions, not sit-down dinners. I really want to go to the second one. It feels like a better fit. I suppose I could go to both and split my time, but I don’t really want to do that. What do you think is best? -- Making a Choice, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR MAKING A CHOICE: Ideally, you should go to the event that you first accepted. If there is enough time between now and that activity, though, you can reach out to the organizer and say that you can no longer attend. Thank them for the invitation and wish them well. As you mentioned, you can also choose to spend a bit of time at both events. If they are not too far apart, why not go to one for an hour and to the other for the second hour? Many people attend multiple events in an evening during the busy season. If you can manage that, you may discover two different groups of people and may make some meaningful connections at each. Plus, it’s great that two different entities want you at their events. Get out there and go to as many functions as you can. This can be beneficial to you socially and emotionally.

Read more in: Work & School | Holidays & Celebrations | Etiquette & Ethics

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an acquaintance who is always complaining about not having enough money, yet she doesn’t work. Her husband is the principal breadwinner in her family. It is true that she stayed at home to take care of the kids when they were young, but they are now grown and married. It seems to me that she could figure out some way to earn a little money to help her household. She is accustomed to having a certain status, but that is long gone. Instead of doing something about her circumstances, she moans on and on about what she doesn’t have. I am tired of listening to it. Should I say something? -- Enough Already, Silver Spring, Maryland

DEAR ENOUGH ALREADY: Your friend sounds stuck. She once enjoyed a lifestyle that she and her husband can no longer support. Living in the moment can be hard when the present feels uncomfortable.

When she starts her moaning, point out that she does have options. If she needs more money, suggest that she look for a part-time job. She can think about what she is good at. Is she creative? Does she have administrative skills? There has to be something she can do that others would appreciate and potentially pay for.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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