DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently attended my friend’s wedding and made an effort to dress nicely for the occasion. However, I was met with comments from others who said that I was overdressed and outshining the bride.

These remarks made me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious to the point where I decided to leave before the reception.

I am now unsure of what to do. Should I reach out to my friend and explain why I left the wedding early? Should I address the comments made by others and express how they made me feel?

I value my friendship with the bride and do not want this incident to strain our relationship.

— Feeling Judged

DEAR FEELING JUDGED: Do you have any reason to believe that the bride is upset with you? Weddings involve so many details for the bride that she may have barely noticed. You may want to simply congratulate her on her wedding and how beautiful it was.

If you feel you must say something about how you ducked the reception, then tell her that some of her guests challenged you on how you were dressed, so you thought it best to leave rather than to cause her discomfort.

Apologize if she missed you. Tell her you just didn’t want to make her uncomfortable, which is exactly how you felt after several people chastised you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my closest friends recently tore me apart, citing the stark differences in our lifestyles and how we were raised.

I come from an individualistic family where putting personal needs first is the norm, while she comes from a collectivist family where the emphasis is on the needs of the group. This contrast has created a significant rift in our relationship, with my friend accusing me of selfishness.

I value my independence and don’t like being taken advantage of by family or friends, and unfortunately, that is what I see happening a lot within her family.

How do I bridge this gap in understanding between us? Is there a way to help her see that my perspective is not rooted in selfishness, but rather in a desire for personal autonomy and fairness?

I don’t want to lose a friend over our differing backgrounds.

— Yin and Yang

DEAR YIN AND YANG: The challenge before you is one of acceptance.

Can each of you look at the other and believe that you can accept your friend for who they are, including what fundamentally makes the two of you different?

Friendships are like marriages in that in order for them to work, both parties have to be willing to compromise and allow the other the freedom to be who they are. Period.

Stop making assumptions about what you think your friend should do. Ask her to do the same.

When you make requests, explain your reasoning and how her reaction might make you feel. Educate each other on your values and beliefs. Then watch to see if you can grow to respect each other’s differences.

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