Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Vexed By Man’s Accolades

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just saw an announcement for a promotion and award for a man I have known for many years. When I knew him, he was a cheat. Among other things, he “bought” something from me and never paid for it. I followed up multiple times, and he just blew me off, saying he was broke and he would pay me when he could. Now I see his face glowing with his accolades, and it turns my stomach.

Should I reach out to him and say something? Should I ask him for my money? I wonder what is the right thing to do, all things considered. I don’t mean to be petty, but he is hardly an upstanding citizen in my book. On the other hand, it’s not like he is running for president. His accolades don’t really make a difference in my life. I just hate that he’s being lauded as this perfect person when I know he is not. -- Liar

DEAR LIAR: Evaluate your knowledge about this man and the award he is receiving. Are the transgressions you know about him worth exposing him at this time? This is important in gaining perspective. For example, when someone has committed a heinous crime like sexual assault or money laundering and is running for president of the United States or even president of a company, it would be wise to say something -- even though often the one speaking up gets maligned rather than the one being accused. Your moral compass has to guide your steps on this.

In your case, if this man did commit a crime by not paying for goods received, but you think it was a small transgression, you may choose to forgive him. Even with forgiveness, the time may come when you communicate with him and let him know that you are happy for his current success, but you still remember when his behavior was dishonorable, specifically toward you. You can ask him to right those wrongs. My recommendation would be to do so privately.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

DEAR HARRIETTE: Your advice to “Luddite” about using her off hours to get up to speed on technology was spot on. I'm an IT professional, and sometimes look for technology updates and tutorials on YouTube. Another excellent source of free tutorials that provides feedback on learning is Free Online Learning at GFCGlobal, edu.gcfglobal.org/en. -- Computer Help Desk Professional

DEAR COMPUTER HELP DESK PROFESSIONAL: I am a big believer in taking action to improve your life. It can seem daunting to approach simple technology when you don’t understand it. But we cannot give in. Instead, do the research, figure out what you don’t know and seek out help to learn. Nobody is expected to naturally know how to use various programs. Your downfall is if you do not take the steps to get educated. Thank you for the resources you have offered.

(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.)