Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Wonders About Giving Opinion to Sick Man

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I went to visit good friends we hadn’t seen in a year. We'd heard that the husband wasn’t feeling well, but I assumed he had a cold or something. When we saw him, we were shocked. He has lost a ton of weight, and he looks frail. We were as loving as always, but it shook us to our core. We don’t quite know what to do to support them during what is obviously a difficult time.

His wife told us that they are waiting to take tests and see what’s going on, so she acknowledged that something is wrong. I have seen the look that he has in his eyes before: My friend who looked like that eventually learned that she had cancer and died a few weeks later. Should I say what I think? How can we be of help right now? -- Friend in Need

DEAR FRIEND IN NEED: Keep your stories to yourself. You do not know what’s wrong with your friend, and even if you did, it would not be helpful for you to say.

They have to go through this cycle of life together. If he leaves the world soon, your role will be to support his wife in every way possible. For now, your support can be to let her know that if she needs anything, you are there to help her. Be specific with your availability. Just offering may be something she will appreciate.

Often when people are facing their mortality, time stands still, and they don’t know what to do. Stay present and in touch with your friends. Make it clear that you don’t need to ask questions; you just want to help. Chances are, they will need it.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am debating whether I should move to another state. My life feels stagnant. I haven’t been able to find a job since I graduated from college almost two years ago. I live in a big market that is highly competitive. The new city I'm considering is much more low-key, and I hear that they have way fewer college grads. My family is recommending that I get a fresh start.

I am scared of change, but I feel it could be a good next step for me. I have family in the new state, but I know it won't be the same or easy to adapt. How can I best decide if this would be the right choice for me? -- Time for a Change

DEAR TIME FOR A CHANGE: If you have family in another area who are willing to take you in and support you as you look for work, this may be a good idea for you. Talk to them about job opportunities in their area. Do extensive research on the job market before you move. Know that a smaller market could be beneficial to you, but you have to be ready and motivated to search for a job. Changing environments will work only if you work it. Make the decisions with your eyes wide open.

(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.)