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DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t want to support my friend’s YouTube channel publicly because I don’t like their content. I have a lot of followers, and I only co-sign things that I absolutely love. Should I be completely honest with them about this? I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings, but I think their feelings are already hurt by my lack of public support for their channel anyway. — Bad Content
DEAR BAD CONTENT: This is a great question and extremely challenging. On one hand, you can “play dumb” and say nothing, but as you point out, that doesn’t mean your friend will stop wondering why the dis. You can be honest as well. The question is, how much honesty is right for the moment? When you look at your friend’s channel, what bothers you about it? Is the quality of the content poor? Is it in poor taste? Is it amateurish? Is it salacious? What about the content bothers you — specifically?
When you are crystal clear about what bothers you, you can decide what information is worth sharing with your friend. If your feelings are purely subjective, you can say as much: The content doesn’t appeal to you personally; therefore, you do not feel comfortable aligning with it. If your evaluation is that the content is somehow negative, be prepared to say what exactly falls into the negative realm.
Choose a time to talk to your friend that is private and safe. Tell them that you know that you have not publicly supported their YouTube channel, and out of respect for them, you wanted to say why. Apologize if your thoughts make them uncomfortable, then share highlights.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Is it strange to start traveling by myself? I’m single, I don’t have any children and I don’t plan on having children any time soon. My New Year’s resolution was to see the world this year, but I don’t have friends who are readily available to travel with me. I want to do it all alone. I’m self-employed, so I don’t really need to stay in one place. Is this a good idea? — Lone Traveler
DEAR LONE TRAVELER: Good for you that you are not waiting on anyone to pursue your dreams. When one is passionate about something, getting buy-in from others is not always necessary. I’m a big believer in traveling. It helps to open your eyes and consider other people’s ways of being. I fully support your idea.
I also want to point out that traveling in the age of COVID-19 is no easy undertaking. You must do your research with even more vigilance and be prepared to pivot when needed. Just in the past few weeks, I have witnessed several friends have to shift their travel plans because of closed borders or canceled flights.