Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to adopt a dog with my boyfriend. I think it will be good preparation for a child. We are not going to have children soon, but a dog would be a nice addition for both of us.

My boyfriend tells me he’s not ready for the responsibility and he doesn't know how to take care of a dog because he's never had one. I have had dogs my whole life, and I know how to do it. I’m waiting for him to become ready for a dog, but I know I will become impatient if he keeps waiting. Should I talk to him about it again? -- Wanting a Dog, Milwaukee

DEAR WANTING A DOG: Pressuring your boyfriend into getting a dog is not the best way to begin this process, especially if your goal for having a dog is to lay the foundation for having a child. It is important that the two of you work together and get on the same page about your future. Talk about your goals and dreams, and plot your course. Perhaps a dog will figure into the picture, but there is no guarantee. Many people successfully have children without ever having pets.

Figure out what each of you is willing to do as it relates to building a family. Funny enough, if you ever do get a dog, you may find yourself shouldering the lion’s share of responsibility there -- at least sometimes. You have to decide what you are willing to do.

Reader Frustrated After Lending Money to Co-Worker

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work with my friend at the same hair salon, but he doesn't get as many clients as me. We both make good money and are very close, but my friend has been asking me to borrow money more, and the amounts have gotten bigger. His reasons include his car needing to be fixed and having past-due bills.

I have a big problem with my friend because he goes out to eat and buys small gifts for himself, like new shoes and jewelry. It upsets me that he is still asking for money while occasionally buying things for himself. How do I tell him I'm not giving him any more money without losing our friendship? -- Not Your ATM, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR NOT YOUR ATM: Just stop. There is no rule about friendship that suggests that to prove your loyalty you must supplement your friend's income. Close your wallet. If your friend asks why, tell him that you can no longer afford to supplement his bad habits. You, too, have bills and responsibilities, but you've figured out how to work within your budget. He is going to have to learn to do the same.

If your friend points out that you make more money, point out that you also spend less money. Remind him of the accessories and restaurants that he pays for. Suggest that he cut back on those items so that he can learn to live within his means.

(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.)