Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a feeling that one of my co-workers is an alcoholic. I work for a company in the food and beverage industry, and we have a lot of alcoholic beverage clients, which means we have a lot of liquor displayed in the office. We are all welcome to take whatever we want, but no one does -- except for one woman. She frequents the company’s liquor cabinet and has a drink every day. She doesn’t drink in the morning, but as soon as it's the afternoon, she pours herself a mixed drink. I feel this is abnormal, and I’m wondering if I should mention it to someone. What do you think I should do about this situation? -- Alcoholic Co-Worker, Boston

DEAR ALCOHOLIC COWORKER: You should leave this alone. Unless this woman is harming herself at work, is unable to do her job or is disrupting things, her drinking is none of your business. Chances are, others have noticed that she is the one who is sipping on the job. She may be an alcoholic, but that is her problem. If you befriend her, you could give her a heads-up that people notice that she frequents the liquor cabinet. But don’t take it to the boss. Let the story unfold as it will.

Read more in: Work & School | Friends & Neighbors | Addiction | Health & Safety

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister recently had surgery. It was an emergency surgery, so everything happened quickly. When she was in the hospital, one of the things she asked me was to not let my dad bring his girlfriend. They do not get along, and my sister didn’t see the need for his girlfriend to be there. I told my dad this over and over again, but he kept bringing his girlfriend into the hospital room where my sister was. I did not want to cause a scene because my sister was still recovering, but I think what he did was selfish. How do I bring up this conversation and my dad’s actions in the right way? -- Unwanted Hospital Visit, Seattle

DEAR UNWANTED HOSPITAL VISIT: Ask your father if you can get together to talk. Tell him how selfish and unkind you thought he was to directly ignore your sister’s request for his girlfriend NOT to come to the hospital. Tell him that you want to have a healthy relationship with him, but he is making it difficult by not honoring your sister's wishes.

It is probably tough for him to tell his girlfriend to stay away. What this points to is the need for a heart-to-heart with him and your sister. What is the issue with his girlfriend? You need to spell it out. Don’t expect your father to walk away from her. Instead, ask him to respect your boundaries.

(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.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics