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DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got my license, and now that my sister is home from college, we have to share one car. We live in the suburbs of New York City, so we can really only do fun things if we have a way to get there and back. Lately, my sister has been using the car much more frequently than me, which isn’t fair. I suggested creating a schedule to avoid arguing and yelling at each other, but she didn’t seem to like the idea. What should I do? — Two Siblings, One Car
DEAR TWO SIBLINGS, ONE CAR: Now may be the time to ask your parents for an intervention. Your sister seems to be pulling rank as the older sibling. She is accustomed to being on her own now that she is away at college, and that includes being able to come and go as she pleases. You, on the other hand, are just beginning to enjoy the benefit of being independent of your parents. If you two cannot come to terms together on car use, speak to your parents and ask for help. Be sure to calmly explain what is happening and how you have attempted to resolve the matter.
Unfortunately, some sibling issues can be difficult to manage without parental involvement. Your sister may get mad at you for bringing your parents into it, but this may be exactly what’s needed. Rather than trying to sway your parents to your side, invite them to talk to the two of you and help to create a schedule that allows both of you to use the car equitably.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend and I always have so much fun — we go on joyrides, grab dinner, watch movies and go running. Lately, she’s been busy with things like college touring and swimming, and I feel like she has no time for me. We have been trying to make a plan to get together for the past two weeks, and I’m tired of feeling like she needs to schedule me in. I often wonder why I’m not a priority and whether the friendship is worth maintaining when it feels so one-sided. What should I do? — Trouble in Friendships
DEAR TROUBLE IN FRIENDSHIPS: Don’t write off your friend so quickly. Being a teenager isn’t easy, as you well know. Learning to manage evolving priorities can be incredibly difficult, even when you are close. It sounds like your friend is busier than you are right now, which only makes it more challenging for you to be patient.
I recommend that you step back for a bit. Your friend is busy. Rather than pressuring her to make time for you, focus on your life and your responsibilities. Also, look around and see if there may be other schoolmates with whom you can spend some time. This may be the moment to broaden your horizons so that you are not as dependent on this one friend for your social life.
Don’t be mad at her, though, for living her life. When she comes back around, make space for her. Rather than guilting her about ignoring you, welcome her back. You can let her know you missed her and are happy to be spending time with her again.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.