Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Daughter Needs Structure During the Summer

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to a pool party this summer by a woman at my job who has a lovely home and outdoor pool. It sounds like a fabulous party, and I want to attend, but I cannot swim. I am not sure if it is assumed that everyone will get in the pool. We are all adults. I have been to other parties where there was a pool, and many people sat around and socialized. Do you think it’s OK for me to do that? I don’t want to talk about the fact that I cannot swim, but I also don’t want to put myself in a dangerous situation. -- Pool Party

DEAR POOL PARTY: It is very common at adult pool parties for people to enjoy themselves without so much as putting their toes in the water. The pool easily serves as a backdrop for the festive occasion. You will not be alone. Wear something lightweight and summery, but not a swimsuit; in that way, your attire makes it clear that you do not intend to swim.

Chances are, nobody will try to force you to swim. When people go in the water, feel at ease sitting on a pool chair and watching the show. If you are invited to get in the water, say no thank you. Do not say that you forgot your swimsuit, because the host will likely offer you one of hers. Just say no and leave it at that.

(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.)