Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman Irritated by Sister Who Drinks Too Much

DEAR HARRIETTE: My older sister and I are close. We are only 18 months apart, so growing up we spent a lot of time together. Now that we are both young adults, we go out together in the city. The past couple of times we've gone out, my sister and I have gotten into screaming fights at the bars. She drinks too much, and we end up arguing about something stupid. I’ve never been embarrassed by my sister, but recently, I hate being seen with her. How do I tell her that she needs to drink less if she wants to continue to go out together? I don’t want to be harsh with her. -- Stressed Sister, Detroit

DEAR STRESSED SISTER: Choose a time to talk to your sister when you both are sober. This can be in person or through a note. Tell her that you are worried about her because you have noticed that she often gets belligerent and out of control when you two go out to drink. Tell her you are worried about her and want her to know that you think she needs to cut back on her drinking. Admit that she embarrasses you sometimes, but, more, that she embarrasses and endangers herself. Ask her to stop.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in New York, and I am so sick of this cold weather. I am supposed to be flying to Texas next week for work. The weather forecast says there will be another snow storm the day I am supposed to leave. I’m not sure what I should do. I need to be in Texas next week for meetings, and can’t miss my flight.

Do you have much experience with flying during inclement weather or changing flights due to a weather forecast? Should I try to move up my flight in case it gets canceled or delayed? Do you know if there is usually a fee for doing this? -- Nervous About the Weather, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR NERVOUS ABOUT THE WEATHER: You are not alone. This time of year is often difficult because the cold lingers in those parts of the country that have all four seasons.

I do travel a lot, and I have encountered weather challenges in the past few weeks. Watch the weather forecast carefully. Plan to arrive at your destination early, preferably a day in advance of a suspected storm. Stay in touch with the airline, and ask about free flight changes based on weather. While they are not required to do so, some airlines may support you and allow for flight changes without penalty if you establish a good rapport with them. Never forget the gift of kindness.

You must also stay in close touch with your work. Be clear with your contact people so that you can keep them informed of your whereabouts, especially if you are running late.

(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.)