DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends are planning a trip to Florida for spring break. As much as I would love to go with them and spend a week in the sun, I am hoping that I will be asked to work that week. My friends keep asking me to book my flights and get the trip organized, but I have yet to do so. Although there is not a guarantee that I will be asked by the family I nanny for to watch their kids that week, I would rather stay home and save the money.
I want to either a) work through my spring break with the family, or b) stay home, not participate in any spring break plans and save the money. With either option, I need to break it to my friends that I won’t be coming to Florida with them. How do I do this without making it seem like I’m ditching their plans just to avoid spending time with them? -- Spring Breaker, Philadelphia
DEAR SPRING BREAKER: You owe it to your friends to be honest with them. It is likely that they need a certain number of participants in order to make the trip affordable. You are clear that you do not intend to go, so tell them you are so sorry, but you won’t be attending. Tell them the truth -- you hope to be working that week and that if your employer does not hire you, you still need to stay home and save money. Though your friends will be disappointed, they all have to understand expenses. Be transparent. Saying you can’t afford it is real. Being responsible for yourself is smart. Being responsible to your friends is thoughtful.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship. We’ve been doing things this way for a while now, and it is difficult. One of the biggest problems is scheduling trips to see each other. I recently returned from a weekend visit with him, but one of the things that has not left my mind is the fact that we don’t have another time scheduled to see each other. This may just be my planner-personality, but I always want to discuss when the next time we will see each other is going to be. My boyfriend, on the other hand, does not think this way. I want him to be the one to bring up scheduling another visit, or make a plan, but I don’t want to push him. What do I do? How do I get my significant other to start making our plans? -- The Planner, Portland, Oregon
DEAR THE PLANNER: You have to manage your expectations and understanding of how the two of you operate in your relationship. If you have always been the one to create the schedule, it is unrealistic to believe that suddenly your boyfriend will become that person. It is unfair to resent your boyfriend for behavior patterns that the two of you have established over time.
Talk to your boyfriend and tell him how you feel. Ask him if he would be willing to plan a visit or at least plan along with you. More likely to be successful, though, is if you speak up and talk about when you might see each other next. Be proactive, and if your boyfriend pushes back, tell him you would love for him to plan it, but since he hasn’t, you just want to map out a schedule.
(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.)