Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend Stuck in the Middle Wants Reconciliation

DEAR HARRIETTE: Two of my friends have been at a standoff for years, and I’m sick of it. I told each of them that I think it’s time to resolve their disagreement. Whatever they do, I don’t want to have to listen to them talking about each other’s faults anymore. It’s like they are stuck in the past, back when they hurt each other’s feelings, and they can’t let go of that. I know that it can be hard to forgive when bad things happen, but I would hate to see them go to their graves without getting over this. They were very close friends for more than 40 years. A big hiccup in their friendship has led to years now of tight lips. What can I do to help? -- Forgiveness

DEAR HARRIETTE: Have an old-fashioned “talking-to” with each of your friends. Tell them how much you love them and remind them that they used to love each other. Point out your concern that they could leave the planet without making up and how sad that would be. Suggest that they get over their disagreement and decide to forgive each other and move on. Beyond that, tell them that you are unwilling to be in the middle of their feud anymore.

Part of forgiveness starts with the person. They should try to forgive themselves first for whatever bad things they have done in their lives, for any hurt they may have caused others, for any unkind words they have expressed, for any inappropriate actions they may have taken without considering others' welfare. Doing this may soften them, allowing them to forgive each other for whatever transpired between them.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been cleaning out my apartment, and I have come across so many books that my family and I no longer need. I don’t want to throw them out, though. Some of them are really good children’s books. Others are history books and art books that somebody might find interesting. We just don’t need them anymore. Since libraries aren’t open, I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t want to keep looking at them in a pile by my door. I live in an apartment building with a bunch of tenants, but I’m not really friends with anyone. Any ideas? -- Book Club

DEAR BOOK CLUB: Books sometimes find their own friends. Why not make a sign that indicates that the books are free for anyone who might want them, and put them in a common area in your building? Wipe them down to ensure that they are not dusty or dirty, and put them in a box or set them up so that the titles are easily visible. If you place them where people can see them -- near the front entrance or by the elevator -- you increase the chances that they will be seen and collected.

(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.)