Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Teen Daughter Takes a Nap Every Day After School

DEAR HARRIETTE: My birthday is coming up, and I had the thought that I would have a small party. When I started to make a list, I realized that my life is pretty closed off these days. I can easily make a big event with people I know professionally, but when it comes to an intimate group of friends, I come up short. It’s making me feel sad that I don’t spend enough time with loved ones and I can’t even figure out who they are. Should I forgo the party? How can I figure out who my true friends are? -- Feeling Lonely

DEAR FEELING LONELY: Assessing the quality of your friendships is something you should probably do one-on-one over time. That evaluation requires spending time with folks.

For a celebratory get-together, it doesn’t have to be that deep. Make two lists -- one that includes professional and peripheral friends; the other that includes family and others that you call on in times of need. Examine your lists and choose who you would like to share your birthday with. It’s fine for that group to be a mix of both lists. On your special day, choose people you believe will be happy to celebrate you.

Separately, dig deeper to determine who deserves to be in your inner circle.

(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.)