DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is in college and has just started dating a guy who is a year older than her. I have met the boy a couple of times and like him. He seems like a responsible person who treats my daughter well. Because he is a year older than my daughter, he has already graduated and gotten a job.
I am worried about how my daughter acts with her new boyfriend. Everything she does seems to revolve around his schedule and what he wants to do. I can see her losing some of her friends and her drive to do anything independently. I need some advice on whether I should intervene and say something to my daughter or leave her alone to make her own decisions. -- Concerned Mother, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CONCERNED MOTHER: Sadly, the chances that your intervention will change your daughter’s course are slim to none. And you know that. Your daughter is flexing her independence. Rather than pushing back, stay in the flow. As long as she isn’t hurting herself, just listen. Learn about how she is living her life. Of course, if she has a boyfriend, she is spending less time with her single friends. Don’t make a big deal about that unless she is totally isolating herself and is showing signs of being in an abusive relationship. Pay attention and learn from her. If your daughter stops seeming happy, jump in and ask more questions. It could be, though, that she is settling down -- for now. Ideally, you should get to know the boyfriend better so you have a sense of who you are dealing with.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have severe anxiety about flying. I’m not sure where it came from because no one in my family has a fear of flying, nor does anxiety run in my family. I have recently started a new job that I am now finding out requires frequent travel. I am supposed to be on a plane every two weeks, traveling to different sites. I don’t want to lose this job, but due to my fear of flying, I would like to talk to my boss about reducing the number of times I have to travel. Is it too much to ask when I just started? -- FEARFUL FLYER, Cleveland
DEAR FEARFUL FLYER: You call your anxiety severe. If this means you do not believe you will be able to board a plane every two weeks, you have to tell your boss. Remind your boss that you were not informed when you interviewed for the job that travel was a requirement.
Tell your boss you believe you will succeed faster if you are able to fulfill the basic requirements without going up in the air. Since this was not a known job responsibility, you have an excuse to bow out. But I suggest that you go for it. Try to see if you can overcome your fear of flying enough to do the job you have been given. Sometimes things become easier thanks to necessity.
(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.)