DEAR HARRIETTE: I travel a lot for my work, but the schedule is so tight that it rarely works out for me to catch up with friends or family when I am in a particular city. Because of this, I rarely even let people know I am going to be in their town -- it just makes them mad if they know I’m there but I don’t have time to call or see them.
On my last trip, I had a moment when I was eating and noticed how beautiful it looked outside, so I took a photo and posted it on social media. Well, that wasn’t a good idea. Next thing you know, my friends and family who live in that area blew me up on Facebook and on my voicemail saying how hurt they were that I didn’t call. I’m sorry that my schedule is so crazy, but I feel like I deserve to have a few moments when I can share highlights of my life. Otherwise, I will feel like a total recluse even though I am seeing the world. How can I handle these people’s expectations? -- Out of Touch
DEAR OUT OF TOUCH: I’m sorry that your schedule is so tight that you have no time for loved ones, but I understand that some jobs are that taxing on their staffs.
One solution for this situation is the next time you post on social media, add a caption that acknowledges that you are in a place where people you love live, you are sorry you don’t have time to see them, but you are thinking of them and wanted to share this moment that you captured as you were heading to your destination. If you can include them, even if it is through cyberspace, this may help ease their longing to connect with you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I borrowed money from a friend years ago when I was down and out, and I wasn’t able to pay it back. This caused a rift in our friendship; I knew he didn’t have much, but he still shared what he had with me. Now I’m doing better in my life and have a stable job. I don’t have much, but I do have the money to pay back my friend. It has been a long time. There’s a chance he won’t even remember, or worse, that me bringing it up with dredge up old feelings, but I feel like I should do my duty and pay him back. What do you think? -- Pay It Back
DEAR PAY IT BACK: By all means, you should give your friend the money you owe him, even though it’s from years back. If you are still in the same town and still connected, arrange to see him and give it to him personally. Otherwise, write him a note and a check. Tell him how grateful you were way back then when he was able to help you and how sorry you are that it took so long for you to reimburse him.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)