Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Gymnast Thinks Coach Isn't Involved Enough

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who expects me to put all of my attention toward her. We are very close, but I have things that I have to do during the day, such as school and hanging out with my other friends. When I don’t see her, she gets angry with me and won’t talk to me, making me feel guilty, but she isn’t my only priority. This is an ongoing issue, and I’m not sure how to deal with it. How do I tell her that I care about her but can’t spend every second of the day with her without getting into an argument? I have a few friends in school and from a couple of social clubs. She doesn’t. -- Charismatic Friend, Cincinnati

DEAR CHARISMATIC FRIEND: Your challenge is that you and your friend have different ways of engaging others, and you have different ways of understanding friendship. You have to educate her so that she will not feel abandoned and you will not feel overwhelmed.

Remind your friend of how much you love and appreciate her. Tell her that you never mean to hurt her, but you do have hobbies and other friends. Be direct and let her know that you will not spend every free moment with her, but that does not mean that you are rejecting her. Instead, it means you are living your life. Encourage her to branch out and build additional bonds.

(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.)