Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Pushing to Be in Romantic Relationship

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who I am sort of interested in, but I'm not at all ready to be in a serious romantic relationship with. He is very interested in being with me. Nearly every day he talks about wanting to take the relationship further. I do not really see him as husband material right now, but he does have great qualities. I want to take my time to get to know him better before making any kind of commitment. He keeps pressing. Should I continue to see if we mesh well, or is it a complete waste of time? -- Is He the One?

DEAR IS HE THE ONE: Don’t give in to the pressure from this man. If you like him enough to continue spending time with him to see what may come of your relationship, tell him as much. Be sure to state your boundaries. Let him know that you are not ready to be romantically involved. Be specific as to what that means.

Being affectionate is a natural next step in a relationship after spending time together and growing closer. Sexual intimacy is a completely different level of connection. If this is what you are not ready to engage in, tell him directly. For some men, that is a deal breaker; for others, they are willing to wait. You should find out where this man stands and be clear about your position. If he is unwilling to wait, you may have your answer right there.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am concerned with my mother's health. She works for a transit company and is underground most of the time, exposed to chemicals and germs. It takes a toll on her body, and she has developed asthma from this career. I tell her all the time that she should consider doing event planning because she is great at it. She feels that she is too old to start a new career, especially one that would be her own. I am really afraid that if she keeps this job, her health will continue to plummet. What can I do to help her? -- Mom's Health

DEAR MOM’S HEALTH: Your mother is a grown woman and is not likely to change her career at this stage in her life. That said, you don’t have to give up suggesting alternatives. Do some research into event planning companies in your area. Look for larger firms that might have the capacity to hire staff. Call around to see if there are any openings. If your mother could find a job where she wouldn’t have to build a business from the ground up, she might consider getting involved in the field.

Regarding her health, ask her to check with her doctor to see what preventive care she can engage in to support her lungs and her overall health. Even though she works in a toxic environment, there may be some measures she can take to help her a bit.

(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.)