Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was given a check by a family friend for Christmas last year, and I just found it. It’s more than a year old. I feel horrible about that, because he is close to our family. I don’t want him to think that I ignored him, and I also want to cash the check. Do you think it’s too late to deposit it? If so, do you think it would be all right for me to ask him to write me a new check? I feel a little uncomfortable because he did not write me a check this year. -- Outdated Check

DEAR OUTDATED CHECK: Sadly, many people misplace gift checks -- and other checks -- only to discover them many months or even years later. Typically, a check is no longer valid after 180 days of being issued. Hence, your year-old check is worthless. This regulation protects the issuer of the check so that money is not being held hostage for too long.

You should shred that check and chalk it up to your mistake. Since this friend did not give a check this year, you should not ask for him to rewrite it. This is your loss, but so be it. Next time you get a check, deposit it immediately. It’s a lot easier to do now that you can deposit a check electronically by using your smartphone, if you have one. If you don’t, just make a trip to the bank right away.


DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is in high school, and she has begun to wear makeup. For the most part, it looks tasteful and appropriate for her age. The other day, she put on a lip color that was way too bright, and it was all you could see on her face. I told her that it was not the right color and that she should change it. This turned into a full-blown confrontation. She accused me of not allowing her to express her individuality. The argument escalated until I put my foot down and demanded that she take it off. That really wasn’t how I had wanted to handle the situation. How can I revisit this? I just wanted her to see that this color was not flattering. -- Bad Lip Color

DEAR BAD LIP COLOR: Keeping a healthy rapport with your teenager is key to protecting and guiding her through life. That means when you have stumbles that include inflamed emotions -- on either side -- you need to do your best to course correct right away.

Sit your daughter down and apologize for the blowup. Tell her you never meant for the discussion about lip color to escalate into a showdown. All you wanted was for her to see that the color she selected was unbecoming. Assure her that you want her to explore her individuality and that you need her to understand that your job is to help guide her steps.

What you could have done is to have her take a selfie and then look at the picture with that lip color. You can encourage her in the future to do color tests by looking at several lip colors in photos that she takes so she can make an informed choice. Remind her that a good guideline for lip color is that it should not be so strong that people notice your lips before your eyes.

(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.)

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