Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Invitee Wonders if It’s OK to Double-Book

DEAR HARRIETTE: The busiest season of the year has begun, and I seem to be getting a lot of invitations for events. I realize that I have gotten more than one invitation for a particular night, and I wish I could attend both events. One is a cocktail reception, and the other is a more formal dinner. Is it OK to go to the cocktail party briefly and then head to the dinner? I would be early for one and a little late for the other. I don’t want to be rude, but both are important for my work. -- RSVP

DEAR RSVP: Look closely at the invitations to see what is reasonable for you to do. If there is enough time for you to drop by the cocktail hour briefly and still arrive at the dinner before the meal will be served, go for it. What you don’t want to do is hold up the meal service at the formal event because you are tardy. You should also speak to the host of each event to explain your plans in advance. In this way, you will have managed their expectations.

When you go to the events, be strategic. Survey the room at the cocktail party. Figure out who you want to greet, and go directly to those people so that you use your time effectively. Be sure to greet the host. Since you will have already indicated that you will be leaving early, there is no need to say goodbye, which might disrupt the flow of the event.

At the dinner, arrive discreetly and do your best to insert yourself into the activities without calling too much attention to yourself.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband constantly flirts with other women when we go out together. I find it annoying and rude. When I mention it to him, he says I am being too sensitive and that I need to lighten up. If his behavior makes me uncomfortable, I don’t want to overlook it.

For example, if we are out for dinner at a nice restaurant, he will take his eyes off me and notice the woman walking by or sitting at the next table and stop to compliment her on what she is wearing or even her fragrance. I think that’s going too far. He says he is being friendly. I would like for him to be friendly to me. How can I get him to understand how I feel? I hate this. -- Notice Me

DEAR NOTICE ME: Draw a line. Tell him how uncomfortable it makes you for him to constantly flirt with other women when you two are out together. You are not being too sensitive. You believe he is being inappropriate. Ask him to stop. If he refuses, perhaps you should stop going out with him.

This does point to a bigger issue, though. If your husband is unwilling to stop paying attention to other women when he is with you, perhaps there is a problem in your marriage. Do your best to get him to talk about what’s going on in his head.

(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.)