Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Sister Tries to Horn in on Spring Break Trip

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a teacher in a Philadelphia public school. Next week is spring break for the students and teachers, meaning we get two weeks off from classes! My boyfriend and I have planned a fun trip down to Florida together for one of the weeks. We've already booked our flights, hotel and some activities.

Last night, my older sister and her husband were over for dinner and asked us what we’re doing for the break. The way they were asking made it seem like they already knew, and were just looking for an invitation to come with us! I love spending time with my sister and brother-in-law, and the four of us get along well, but I was hoping this trip would be just my boyfriend and me.

Do you think I should address my sister’s comments? How do I tell her nicely that I don’t want her and her husband coming to Florida with us? -- No Invite for Sis, Denver

DEAR NO INVITE FOR SIS: You have no reason to feel guilty for wanting to follow through on your plans. You do need to manage your sister’s expectations, though. Speak to her privately and tell her that you have been planning this special trip for you and your boyfriend for some time now, and you want it to be a romantic trip for two. As much as you enjoy spending time as a foursome, this is not the moment for that. Ask her to be understanding, and suggest that the four of you plan a trip together for another time.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am writing to you to ask you about my hair. I am currently deciding if I should completely change my look and get a short haircut. For my entire life I have had long blond hair that everyone seems to compliment me on. Recently, I have been thinking about changing my wardrobe and look altogether, including chopping off a lot of my hair!

Is there a good time to reinvent your look? Have you ever heard any horror stories of someone doing this? -- Ready for an Update, Milwaukee

DEAR READY FOR AN UPDATE: Making a dramatic style change is your prerogative and something that many people do. Since you can grow your hair long, you shouldn’t fret too much if you decide to cut it short. If you don't like it, you can grow it back!

I recommend that you look at some magazines for hairstyles and wardrobe options to see what you gravitate toward. Since you will be investing in a new wardrobe, too, you want to select a new look that complements the way you feel about yourself and your responsibilities. The horror stories come when people don’t think a style change all the way through. Consider your daily life, your activities and duties. Make sure you pick a style that will support your every move.

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