June 20, 2024
How do I balance my thrill-seeking with her nervousness?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a huge adrenaline junkie. I love outdoor adventures like base jumping, skydiving and really anything that the average person might shy away from.

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I’m dating a woman who is the exact opposite of me in that sense. She is not too fond of stepping out of her comfort zone.

I’ve tried bringing her along with me before, but she tends to get really nervous and ends up cutting our trips short. Eventually, I decided it was better for both of us if I stopped inviting her altogether.

Since I’ve stopped inviting her out on my excursions, she feels left out.

I love her, but I don’t know how to balance my own thrill-seeking with her fears. What should I do?

— Adrenaline Junkie

DEAR ADRENALINE JUNKIE: You can be in a relationship with someone and not spend every night and day together.

You two need to talk. Explain to her that you have stopped inviting her to your adventures because they are outside of her comfort zone. Tell her that you noticed how uncomfortable she became when she joined you, ending up even having her cut the trips short due to her skittishness. Rather than put her in an uncomfortable situation, you decided not to invite her to these activities. That doesn’t mean that you don’t like her. You two will just need do other things together.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I moved out of the United States at the beginning of this year to live in a Latin American country.

During my time here, I’ve befriended my neighbor, who has lived here her entire life. Despite the language barrier, we’ve formed a close friendship.

Recently, my neighbor attempted to give me a piece of “art” that depicts a racist caricature. I found it highly offensive and had to turn down the gift, which upset her.

I’m hurt that she thought this gift would be appropriate, but I’m almost certain that it was an innocent gesture, as perhaps this type of “artwork” is still considered acceptable in this country.

How can I have a conversation with my neighbor about why this is not OK?

— Offensive Art

DEAR OFFENSIVE ART: There is no reason to think that your friend would have intentionally chosen to insult you with her gift. Start your conversation with her from that perspective.

Tell her that you want to talk about the gift because obviously it has hit a sore spot. Ask her to explain the significance of the artwork. Who made it? Is it part of the country’s tradition? What does it mean to her?

After she gives you background enough for you to understand why she thought it was a good idea to give it to you, tell her you now want to tell her what it means to you. Speak slowly and choose your words carefully, especially since you two do have language barriers and this is a sensitive topic.

Address the specific piece of art itself and what bothers you about it. Do your best to describe why it appears to be racist and what racism means to you. You may need to share insights into your views on racism from your perspective so that she can see through your lens what the offense is. Allow space to disagree on this topic.

You still don’t have to accept the art, but your conversation may prove healing between you as you figure out her intention in giving you the piece.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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