February 26, 2024
It seems like she did what she's accused of, but I want to support her.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who has been involved in a bit of controversy in our hometown.

I haven’t lived there for decades. She moved back recently, and because of what happened, people are talking badly about her.

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I feel for her. While it seems like she did do what people are accusing her of, she still deserves support. I want to be there for her, but I do not want to get in the middle of politics in our town. How can I manage this?

— In the Middle

DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Talk to her about the situation, and ask her how she is feeling about things.

Tell her that you want to support her behind the scenes. Be honest and admit that you are not interested in getting involved in what feels like a local scandal. Find out what she feels she needs to help her navigate this situation.

Offer to be a private sounding board. Promise to always tell her the truth, but draw the line when it comes to being publicly involved.

If others find out that you are supporting her, do not lie. Tell the truth: You believe everyone deserves support. That’s what you are offering to her — without judgment.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a university student going into my junior year. I have wanted to study abroad in Spain since I was in middle school. My sister recently returned from her semester abroad in Spain and said that she felt at peace there.

I recently set up a meeting with my financial adviser, and she made me feel defeated because my family’s EFC (expected family contribution) has changed for this school year, significantly reducing the aid I might receive. I now have to raise over $20,000 in scholarships.

I don’t know if I will be able to do this because I am no longer eligible for most of the scholarships I was planning to apply for.

I am still going to try to raise the funds, but I’m crushed that I might not be able to do something that I have been dreaming about for years. How do I prepare myself for the fact that I may not be able to fulfill my dream of studying abroad?

— Longing To Go Abroad

DEAR LONGING TO GO ABROAD: Don’t give up so quickly. Get creative instead.

Consider creating a crowdfunding campaign where you appeal to people about your desire to experience a semester abroad. Write a compelling pitch and set a financial goal. Then share your campaign broadly. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and ask for the money. You just might get it.

Also, talk to your school and investigate different opportunities to get scholarships. What you first thought was possible may not be, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is available. Look for large scholarships as well as smaller ones.

Apply for everything. Go to civic organizations in your hometown as well as houses of worship. Set an intention that you will raise the money, and go for it.

Get a job to help raise money.

If, for any reason, it doesn’t happen, you will survive. You will feel good about yourself, too, that you gave it all you had to make that dream happen.

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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Harriette Cole: My neighbor won’t listen to what I’m saying about the dog

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