DEAR HARRIETTE: I was expecting a package for a while, and eventually got it delivered … by my sheepish neighbor, who had opened it! What? I was not here when he dropped it off on my porch, but he left a note saying, “Sorry, I thought it was for me – Dave.” I was so confused, and I couldn’t believe he had opened my mail. Did he want to know what I was ordering? Was he so excited to get a package that he didn’t look at MY name plastered on it? I am not one for confrontation, but I am definitely fuming. I want to march right over there, but I do not want to accuse him of anything. Maybe he did make a mistake, but my mail has the right to remain private! I’m worried about this happening again. Should I just leave his note with a response on the back on his door? I want to tell him to check his mail, and I’ll check mine, too. – Mail Bandit, Milwaukee

DEAR MAIL BANDIT: Take a few deep breaths and calm down before you do anything. Know that your neighbor could have opened your box and kept it without ever telling you of his error. While that would have been illegal, it happens all the time. Take your neighbor at his word. The next time you see him, thank him for returning the box to you. Tell him you are grateful that he figured out his mistake, and offer up that you both should be more mindful before opening the mail.

• • •

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my good friends, Kate, and I finished working on an island for the summer season. As the season ended, we had a talk about how although we love each other, we could never be in a relationship without everything going up in flames. We are great friends to each other, and we keep in touch the whole year until we reunite for the summer season. This year ended any hopes that each of us had of being together. It feels like we always used to be each other’s backups for life partners, but now that safety net has been cut. It’s been a few months since this conversation, and I’m wondering if we made a mistake. On one hand, we get along well and feel a deep connection to each other; however, we are very similar and fight often. I don’t want to string her along, but I always want to be close with Kate. Is there any way to do that without falling back into the talks of being in a relationship? – Summer Season Love, Portland, Oregon

DEAR SUMMER SEASON LOVE: Ask yourself if you sincerely want to be in a relationship with Kate. In order to consider requesting more from her, you have to be sincere about giving this relationship a shot. If you are, contact her and tell her that you think you two made a mistake by putting boundaries around your bond. Tell her that you want to see what comes of you two as a couple. Ask her if she feels the same. The fact that you talked about it this summer suggests that one of you was already thinking about it.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.