Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Thinks Friend's Body Still Not Bikini-Ready

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend and I have been working to lose weight and get fit for a couple of years now. We are both in our 50s, and it’s not easy. We had let ourselves go significantly, and it takes so much to get back in shape when there’s a whole lot to do to get there. I’m proud of our accomplishments. Both of us have lost significant amounts of weight, and we work out regularly.

Because of all the hard work and some improvement, especially tightening of the skin and strengthening of muscles, my friend has it in her head that she can wear a bikini to a beach party we are going to in a couple of weeks. She modeled it for me the other day, and, I’m sorry, she is not ready. She looks better than she did, but she still has major cellulite and a huge, loose belly. I don’t think she should show off the “new” body that is still in progress. I think dressing more modestly can showcase her new positives without revealing too much. How can I get her to hear me? -- Stripping Down, New Orleans

DEAR STRIPPING DOWN: It is good that your friend is proud of her accomplishments and smart that you want to give her a reality check. Since the two of you have been on this journey together for quite some time, you can use your history and commitment to the cause as leverage to get her to reconsider her position. Suggest that you take pictures of her in her swimsuit so that you can show her what you see. If she agrees, shoot her from all angles so that she has a clear view of how she looks. From there, it is her decision.

I have seen plenty of women and men on the beach or poolside who are perfectly comfortable in their skin even when they are overweight. Your friend may be one of those folks, which is fine. After you show her your view, let her make her decision. Whatever she chooses, you should support her.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am interested in politics and spend a fair amount of time listening to different news broadcasts and reading about candidates as well as local and global issues. I think it is important to be plugged in. It’s frustrating to me to see how few of my friends and colleagues care about what’s going on. I learned recently that at least half of my core group of friends and associates are not registered to vote. We are not young! We are in our 40s or older. How can I convince my friends that it does matter for them to get engaged and to cast their votes? -- Rally the Troops, Chicago

DEAR RALLY THE TROOPS: Listen to what your friends talk about. Notice the issues that they complain about. In those discussions, you may be able to find links to how political engagement could help to resolve some of their frustrations. For example, if potholes in your neighborhood are tearing up their tires, talking to their local and federal politicians might get the government to repair the roads. If gun violence is a hot topic for them, point out which candidates are taking on this issue and how they can support the candidate who shares their views. The key to getting people involved in politics is getting them to realize that it is personal for them and not just a matter of talking heads on TV.

(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.)