DEAR HARRIETTE: I live near a major city. My friends and I often travel into the city for a day of shopping or a fun dinner. In the past few months, there have been multiple terrorist attacks in big cities in both the United States and Europe. I am a very cautious person, so this scares me. It is starting to prevent me from making plans with my friends in the city. I think about what could happen while I am there, so I psych myself out about making the trip into town. Do you think this is an irrational worry? I don’t want to live in fear or continue canceling plans with my friends. -- Fear of Terrorism, Lancaster, Maryland
DEAR FEAR OF TERRORISM: Your fears are understandable. When random acts of terrorism occur with frequency in our own country, we, the citizens, get nervous. That said, you cannot let these few people with bad intentions destroy your life. That’s when they win. If you truly feel paralyzed into inaction, you may want to see a counselor to help you sort through your feelings.
Additionally, you may want to take action. Get involved in the political system in your hometown or even nationally. Find an organization that is actively working to thwart hate crimes and terrorist action, and volunteer for it. By giving voice to your fears and trying to find healthy solutions for how to move forward, you create a better chance for yourself to lead a full life.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 22-year-old woman. My best guy friend and I have been close friends for over eight years now. I consider him more like a brother than a friend. Recently, my boyfriend has been hinting that he doesn’t want me texting or hanging out with my friend anymore. We haven’t sat down and talked about it or had a huge argument about this, but it bothers me when he makes comments about how I shouldn’t be as close to my guy friend as I am.
I can see how my boyfriend might be a little jealous, but there is nothing to be jealous of. I need help on how to explain to my boyfriend that my friend will be in my life no matter what, so my boyfriend should learn to coexist with him. -- Boyfriend Vs. Guy Friend, Philadelphia
DEAR BOYFRIEND VS. GUY FRIEND: It is not unusual for a boyfriend (or girlfriend) to be jealous of a close friend. It is also fairly common that one of the two friends has secret romantic feelings for the other -- even if they have gone unexpressed. This is why a partner could feel uneasy about such a close friendship.
Since you feel strongly that you want to keep this friend in your life, you need to work to neutralize the situation. The best way to do that is to have your boyfriend and guy friend get to know each other better. Include both of them in activities so that your boyfriend will come to feel comfortable about this guy friend. Tell them both that it is important to you that they get to know each other. Since they both love you, tell them this is necessary.
(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.)