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DEAR HARRIETTE: I haven’t felt confident enough to post a picture of myself on social media in a very long time, but I recently got my makeup done professionally for the first time, and I just had to share the pictures. This might not seem like a big deal to most, but it was major for me. I got a lot of love from friends and followers, and I was thrilled about it. The only person who didn’t acknowledge the photos at all was my own boyfriend. He didn’t compliment me or even comment under my post. I know that he saw them. Why wouldn’t he acknowledge my pictures? — Ignored
DEAR IGNORED: Step back a moment and ask yourself how your boyfriend generally reacts to your appearance. Does he compliment you? Does he make any comments at all about how you look? What does he say? Sit with that for a moment just so you have a clear assessment of how he usually engages you regarding your appearance.
You mentioned that you have not felt confident about the way you look. Good for you that you took the step to take a professional photo and post it! It is a sign of building confidence. The challenge, however, with posting and looking for acknowledgement is that when that affirmation doesn’t come, it dashes your confidence. That’s exactly what happened. So first I want you to accept all of the loving notes you received that celebrate you and the image you shared. You deserve the positive input.
Second, ask yourself how much it matters that your boyfriend didn’t say anything. If it matters a lot, ask him directly what he thinks of your photo. Then ask why he didn’t comment online. Be prepared to respond to whatever he says. Do your best not to take his reaction personally.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am my father’s only daughter, and I think that because of this, he has often had a hard time connecting with me. Even as an adult, I don’t always feel heard or understood by him. He speaks to me in harsh ways that perhaps wouldn’t bother my brothers, but that definitely bother me. I feel a responsibility to let my father know that he shouldn’t necessarily speak to me or interact with me the same way he does with my brothers, but I struggle to communicate with him as well. How do I communicate my issues with my father without causing unnecessary friction? — Only Daughter
DEAR ONLY DAUGHTER: Consider writing your father a letter to share your feelings, hopes and desires for your relationship. Rather than highlighting what you don’t want, focus on what you desire. As his only daughter, express how special you believe your relationship is and can be. Invite your father to communicate in loving, thoughtful ways. Recommend things that you two can do that may enhance your relationship. You can tell him that it hurts your feelings when he speaks harshly to you. Suggest that you two create space just for the two of you when you take time to be together and build a relationship separate from the one between him and your brothers.