DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends and I have lost contact. I could blame this on the fact that she got a job and moved to another state, but something just does not feel right. We checked up on each other while at separate colleges, so I know distance can’t be the single factor in breaking our bond.
She recently celebrated her birthday, and I reached out to her on Facebook and wrote a heartfelt message. I noticed that she viewed my message, but she never responded. This shocked me, and I have no clue as to why she no longer talks to me. I am not sure how to resolve this, but I want my friend back. -- Lost Friend
DEAR LOST FRIEND: Whatever occurred with your friend has prompted her to remain distant from you. You cannot control whether she will respond to you, but you can take one more step. Call her and see if she will answer the phone. If she does, tell her how much you miss her and point out that you know that something is off between you two, but you haven’t got a clue as to what it is. Ask her to tell you what’s going on. Request that she tell you if you have done something to offend or hurt her.
If she doesn’t answer the phone, send her a note that outlines your questions. Do not approach her in an accusatory way. Instead, tell her that you miss her and want to have your friend back, but it is clear to you that something is holding her back. You would like to know what it is. Even if she does not intend for you two to remain friends, let her know you would appreciate hearing from her as to why she has broken from your friendship.
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my good friends decided to let her hair go gray. It looks nice on her, I suppose, but I have no interest in “going natural” like that yet. In my industry, it is hard for women to stay strong and vital after a certain age. Even though that sucks, I need my job and feel like keeping a youthful look helps me. My issue is that now my friend keeps pestering me to be like her and go gray. How can I get her to stop? -- Go Gray
DEAR GO GRAY: You hit a nerve when you start talking about image, age and work, especially for women. On one hand, we live in a time that is more welcoming to women. We have at least six women running for president of the United States. This is impressive. And yet, sexism still exists. Equal pay remains a dream rather than a reality for most women. And ageism, especially for women, is real in the workplace.
The good news regarding beauty and hair is that many women are feeling comfortable enough to choose different looks and colors. That your friend chose to go gray is fantastic for her. That you are making a different choice should be just as fine for you. Tell her that you begrudge her nothing for making her personal choice. Ask her to respect your choice and to stop badgering you to follow her lead.
(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.)