Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Politics Getting in the Way of Family Time

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am so tired of politics. My husband seems to live and breathe it. From the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep, he has the TV tuned to cable news programs, and he devours whatever they have to say. It’s like life has become its own reality show, and I just want it to stop. At the same time, I want to spend time with my husband. How can I get him to take time off from the news to spend more time with the family? -- No More Politics, Alexandria, Virginia

DEAR NO MORE POLITICS: You need to get realistic about your expectations. You will not be able to wean your husband entirely off his political lifeline. You can, however, suggest that he reserve time for you. Be direct with him. Tell him that you miss talking to him and wish he would turn off the TV sometimes.

Perhaps you can agree to watch the news with him regularly if he agrees to turn it off after an hour. You can also remove the TV from your bedroom if one is there and tell him you want your room to be a TV-free zone.

Think of activities that your husband may enjoy, and invite him to participate in them with you. Implore him to choose you and your precious moments together at least sometimes. Tell him you miss him. You may also want to offer him a moment of intimacy if he chooses to turn off the news.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am friendly with my boss’s niece. I didn’t realize they were related at first. My friend and I have known each other much longer than I have worked for her aunt. This might not have meant anything, except that my boss, her aunt, is a pain in the butt. She complains and is negative about everything. She picks at me constantly, but she also picks at other employees.

I need my job, but I appreciate being able to unload about the stuff that bothers me at work with my friends. Do you think I should keep my feelings from my boss’s niece? I usually talk to her about everything, but I don’t want to jeopardize my job or make my friend uncomfortable. -- Mum's the Word, San Diego

DEAR MUM’S THE WORD: You need to be practical. You know already that you should not tell your boss’s niece about your gripes with her aunt. It is unfair to the niece and dangerous to you. You cannot expect your friend to keep your secret -- even if she promises to do so. If she has a relationship with her aunt, she will want to tell her at some time, possibly to help her to improve her employee relations. Resist the temptation to talk about your boss with this woman. Stay neutral or let your friend know that conversation about work is off limits now, given that she and your boss are related. Then don’t bring it up. Choose other friends to talk to, if needed.

(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.)