DEAR HARRIETTE: During the quarantine and shutdown, I closed my small nail salon for 10 weeks. I had all the ups and downs, fears and frustrations people talk about. One huge one was based on the fact that we were told to close for two weeks to flatten the curve, but they only picked certain industries.
So while we small businesses complied 100% in the fervent hope of reopening as soon as possible, the big box stores packed in the customers. The garden centers, grocery chains and hardware stores were completely crowded with no regulations, leading to the 10-week shutdown for the rest of us.
Unfortunately, my frustration bubbled over onto a friend when I called to see how she was faring. We have been friends on and off for years. She lives a few towns away and has a similar small personal services business. She reported that she’d found a loophole and gotten her business deemed essential so she could stay open. She has a face-to-face business where she touches people’s bare skin.
As carefully as I could, but through clenched teeth, I asked her how she could justify elevating her services above mammograms and dental exams and such, which were all suspended. I was incensed because I felt she put us all at risk of staying home longer when we all needed to work. I could hear that I highly offended her, and the rest of the call was strained. We haven’t spoken since.
I am now sorry, even though I firmly believe what she did was the height of bad ethics. I’m afraid to initiate an apology that could devolve into explanations and make things worse. But I do want to try to apologize. — Sorry in the South
DEAR SORRY IN THE SOUTH: Call her. Check to see if she is well. Tell her you are sorry that you blew up when you talked a while back. Don’t revisit the reason for your argument. You can maintain your belief about her choice and rekindle your relationship if you both want to do so.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two questions regarding texting etiquette. First, I have relatives who have made the decision not to respond back to texts. One of them told me they are not generally responding to anyone because it is time-consuming. I find it irresponsible and rude. What should I do?
Next question: I have a dear friend who will send a text that consists of 10 questions. “How is Sissy doing? Did you go to church last week? Is your daughter in town? Did you see your son on Friday?” and on and on, all in one text! Can you please give some guidance on how to conduct such a text conversation? — Navigating the Texting World
DEAR NAVIGATING THE TEXTING WORLD: Texting has become a primary method of communication for many people, yet it can be overwhelming for a variety of reasons. I think that the best way for you to come to a peaceful relationship with texting is to know your own comfort level and those of the people with whom you communicate.
In the first instance, if you have relatives who refuse to text back, stop texting them. It clearly doesn’t work for them. Instead, pick up the phone and call them when you have a need or desire to be in touch. In the other situation, if the barrage of questions is too much, answer what you can and leave the rest for another engagement. You could also tell your friend (not in writing) that it’s hard for you to answer so many questions at a time. Perhaps you should pick up the phone to call that friend when the list of questions is too long to write back.
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.