Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Sorority Sisters Reach Out to Isolated Woman

DEAR HARRIETTE: I belong to a sorority that I joined in college. Many of the women have stayed close over the years, and now I wish I had, too. They tried to keep me in the loop, but I was too busy. Now that a lot of time has passed, I feel uncomfortable trying to work my way back into the mix. They keep reaching out to me, but I worry that they are all close and have been for years, and I am the odd girl out. I don’t remember all of their names, and I feel stupid having to reacquaint myself when everybody else is in sync.

Do you think I should try to reconnect with my former sorority sisters? I have spent my life building my career and see that this has made me isolated, but somehow they did both. I’m feeling like my choices weren’t so smart. Do you think I should take my sorors up on getting back together? -- Sorority Life

DEAR SORORITY LIFE: If your sorors are continuing to reach out to you, it is because they genuinely want to be in touch. Believe that their overtures are real. You can re-enter sorority life in increments. Why not reach out to the person you feel closest to? Get together with her in person or on the phone. Tell her you appreciate her reaching out to you over the years, and you want to reconnect. Be honest and let her know that you feel awkward because you don’t really know most of your sorority sisters since you left college. Ask her to help you get reacquainted. Take your time. You don’t have to become everybody’s friend, but it will be nice for you to get close to a few of them and experience the fellowship of sisterhood.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics | Work & School

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom lives thousands of miles away from me, and I visit her once a year. While I’m there, I handle all of the fix-it work around the house. This visit, I noticed that there are some basic things that aren’t getting done. My mom is healthy and strong, but she is getting older -- in her 70s. I see that she hasn’t kept up with little chores like regularly putting out the trash or properly scrubbing the kitchen floor -- things that are important to be handled on a regular basis. I am the only child, and I’m too far away to help her. What do you recommend I do? -- Mom Needs Help

DEAR MOM NEEDS HELP: As our parents age, this is a common challenge. Care starts with the little things and, over time, the needs grow. Look into community support first. Does your mother belong to a church? Perhaps they have a service that supports elders at home. Contact the local government to see what services may be available for your mom. Since she is healthy, the government may not be a viable option.

Look into apps that are available that offer all kinds of a la carte tasks. Check to see if TaskRabbit, Takl or other such services are available in her area. These allow you to order a range of tasks for a particular fee at a specific time. Prices vary depending on the task and the location.

(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 | Miscellaneous