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Harriette Cole: Is it a bad idea to hang out with this man so I can meet his friends?

Harriette Cole: Is it a bad idea to hang out with this man so I can meet his friends?

DEAR HARRIETTE: Since moving to a new city for work, I’ve had trouble meeting people. A former classmate who lives in the same area asked me out for dinner, and I went.

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It was clear to me that he was hoping for more than friendship, but I’m not romantically interested in him. Nevertheless, I’m considering spending more time with him to see if he’ll invite me to join his circle of friends. That way I’ll know people other than just him.

Would you say this is a good approach, or could it end up backfiring?

— Need Friends

DEAR NEED FRIENDS: Yes, you should continue to spend time with this friend, but you must be honest with him.

Tell him you like him as a friend, but nothing more. Ask him if he would consider inviting you to other events where you can meet people. Tell him candidly you have not met people in the area yet and want to expand your network. Find out if he is willing to include you in his circle.

By being upfront about how you feel about him, hopefully he will understand and be willing to open up his circle and invite you in.

But don’t stop there. Pay attention to your co-workers and neighbors. Notice the people who interest you, and reach out to them to do something social. You have to put forth some effort to make inroads into meeting more people.

DEAR HARRIETTE: The other day I was driving home with my husband when he got a call from a good friend of his. His friend was venting about being unhappy with the base salary at his new job.

My husband told him that he should be happy with that salary, and added that it is more than I make.

Though I don’t believe that my husband had malicious intent, I was angry that he disclosed my salary without my permission. I told him then and there that he had no right to offer that information to his friend, and his defense was that he would not care if I did the same to him.

Am I overreacting? I’m still fairly upset that I didn’t get an apology.

— Private Info

DEAR PRIVATE INFO: Don’t wait for an apology. You could be waiting for a long time. What you can do is establish clear lines of demarcation for what you consider to be private about your life.

Think about what else you don’t want your husband to share. Because couples typically talk about everything in detail — including a lot of intimacies that you would never want shared with others — it makes sense that you might need to draw the line about certain things. Finances are likely at the top of the list, as are health issues, family challenges … what else? Make a list and recommend that he do the same. This is something you may want to consider doing from time to time to ensure that you are on the same page.

Also, if you know that your spouse finds it difficult to keep certain information to himself, you may choose to withhold sensitive details as an extra layer of protection. That may seem counterintuitive for a married couple, but you need to know your partner and manage information accordingly.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions toaskharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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