DEAR HARRIETTE: Spring is in the air, and like clockwork, my allergies are kicking in. I have asthma plus allergies, so I get all messed up until summer starts. I have medication and follow my doctor’s directions in terms of treatment.
My issue these days is my friends. Because I sneeze a lot and it can seem like I’m sick, they don’t want to hang out with me when I’m dealing with my allergies. I’m not sick, and I keep telling them that, but they get annoyed when I’m suffering with the symptoms around them. I think this is messed up, but I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t want to stay home for two months. How can I get my friends to lighten up? -- Allergic
DEAR ALLERGIC: Start with a trip to your doctor. Find out if there is more potent medication that you can take that may help to diminish your allergy symptoms. If you are constantly sneezing and coughing, that has to be uncomfortable for you -- never mind your friends. There are so many medications available today that chances are, you can get on a regimen that will better manage your health during this season.
As far as your friends go, do your best not to sneeze or cough when you are close to them. Maintain a bit of distance when you are especially vulnerable. While your friends may seem harsh, it is understandable that they are uncomfortable having your mucus flying all around them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to have long hair, and I decided to cut it really short. I was ready for a change in my life, so I went for it. I found a hairstylist who gave me a great cut, which is still professional but very different than it was.
When I went to work, I got so many comments. Some were complimentary, which I appreciated. But others were awful, including men saying that I made a huge mistake and will never find a man with such short hair. I was shocked. That was so inappropriate. When other people have cut or colored their hair, I haven’t noticed so much drama around it. Should I say something or just ignore the negative commentary? -- Bad Reaction
DEAR BAD REACTION: Your best bet is to ignore the offenders. Clearly, you work in an environment where the men, at least those who made those comments, are sexist. It is wrong for them to judge you in such a way and to taunt you with their comments, but there is little to gain by striking back at them. If they don’t let it go and continue to the point where you can’t easily avoid their nasty words, you can tell them that they are being sexist. Warn them that if they don’t stop, you will report them to management.
In general, it’s best to focus on the positive. The people who complimented you noticed your change and affirmed it. Remember that rather than the hecklers.
(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.)