Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend wants to get plastic surgery, and I am completely against it. I know it's her body and her choice, but in my opinion, voluntarily going into surgery is purposefully risking her life. I keep trying to talk her out of it, but she's strong-willed and wants to get the procedure done. Nothing is wrong with her. She just wants to be aesthetically pleasing. I am worried that something will go wrong, and I don't want to lose her. -- Anti-Plastic Surgery

DEAR ANTI-PLASTIC SURGERY: As someone who had three nonelective surgeries back-to-back when I was in elementary school, I totally understand your apprehension about elective plastic surgery. You are not wrong to be concerned. There are instances when people have had complications, including death, as a result of surgery -- think Joan Rivers and Kanye West’s mom Donda.

That said, I have spoken to a number of plastic surgeons about how they work, and I do know that the level of preparedness that is required is significant. This includes a complete patient workup to ensure that her or his body is in good enough health to undergo surgery. Though things can go wrong, it is a rare occurrence.

Stop trying to convince your friend of anything. You have already clearly expressed your opinion. It is her life. Whether or not you like her choices, she gets to make them. Instead of being doom and gloom, encourage your friend to be in optimal health so that she will be as ready for the surgery as possible. You can also encourage her to research the aftermath and recovery period expectations. That is being a good friend.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister puts her fiance before her kids. I am not married, so I do not want to judge a situation that I am not in, but I feel as though my nieces and nephews are being slighted. They are not getting enough attention from their mother. She often gives them up to family or finds a baby sitter in order to hang out with her man as much as she can. Even on important holidays, I find out that she is not with her kids and is instead spending time with him. This makes me so upset to see because I fear eventually this will have a negative effect on them. I don't want to blow up the situation, but I do want to help. -- Absentee Mom

DEAR ABSENTEE MOM: Do your best to get your sister to sit down alone with you. Express your concerns about her children and the family’s future. Yes, it’s great that she has found someone she loves. But remind her that if this man is to become part of the family, they need to work together to build the family unit. That means she should be creating opportunities for her fiance to interact with her and the children as well as with the children on his own. It is unlikely that the marriage will be successful if he doesn’t become part of the whole family. Otherwise, the children will suffer. Actually, everyone will.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)