Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am friends with a few social media influencers. They are my real friends, but random people I know will call me to try to get in touch with them. They want a hookup for a public appearance or an album or whatever. I do not feel comfortable connecting people like that, for the most part. When it makes sense, I will introduce people, but I’m tired of always being asked. How can I put my foot down on this? These are my genuine friends. I don’t want them to think that I am “pimping” them off to my contacts. -- Drawing the Line

DEAR DRAWING THE LINE: You should speak to your friends and get a read on what works for them. Often, people in the public eye are interested in having their work promoted. What you should figure out with them is what they would appreciate hearing about from your contacts. Be honest with them. Tell them that sometimes people reach out to you because they know you are friends, and you want to protect their privacy and still make introductions when appropriate.

You should get your friends’ professional representatives’ information. That way, you keep your friends -- “the talent” -- out of it. You can refer your inquiring associates to the agents or managers of your friends. If you like the idea, you can make that clear to the representative. If you are neutral but think it’s worth considering, say that.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a colleague who is constantly competing with me for ideas. She and I are on the same level at our job, and over the past year, I have watched her listen to the ideas I pitch in meetings, then rush to plan what I just mentioned. Then she takes credit for it as if it was her idea. She has done this countless times, and for some reason, my boss lets her get away with it. How can I suggest my ideas when there’s somebody at work who is so hungry to steal them? I am so upset by her, but I can’t figure out how to share my ideas without her taking them from me. -- Owning My Ideas

DEAR OWNING MY IDEAS: You may want to wait to pitch ideas until you are clear that you can deliver them swiftly. Be more strategic when you share your inspirations. Consider having one-on-one meetings with your boss where you present your ideas, and find out if you can move forward with your boss’s blessing. Without complaining about your colleague, you should attempt to establish a rapport with your boss that allows you to get your ideas across more privately. If that doesn’t work, be more sparing in the meetings when you speak your ideas out loud.

(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.)