If you readers would like me to include Abby's responses, let me know!
DEAR CRABBY: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brownnoser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people have complained to me about her attitude. Should I address her comments during her next employee evaluation, or would it be better to speak to her privately? -- THE BOSS IN LAKELAND, FLA.
Are you brown nosing? Should it matter? Who signs your paychecks? Who signs their paychecks?You go to work (even jobs you love) to fulfill a role. That role is not to be everybody's BFF. Personally, I would address it directly and in front of my own boss, “What's wrong with trying to anticipate my boss' needs? That's part of why he hired us. I'm not here to be your friend, I'm here to get a job done, same as you. I suggest you do it instead of complaining about other people doing their job”.
The other option is to manipulate this person. Here are a few ways to do that:
Ask them genuinely if everything is okay. Really ask them. Even if they don't tell you, or do tell you, tell them that you are available if they need to talk. This will engender feelings of emotional obligation in them.
Another way is to ask them to do you a favor. Stand beside them (standing in front suggest confrontation) and say “I need your help.” People don't like the guilt of not helping.
Ask to borrow something of theirs. It's the Benjamin Franklin Effect (here)
That should do it. Or you could just do your job and quit worrying about what others say.
DEAR CRABBY: I would like to ask your readers -- especially women -- what is the one thing they feel is "make or break" in a relationship. A few months ago I divorced a man who was so disrespectful I don't think anyone in the world can match him.
As it turns out, I did myself a huge favor. Everything else -- trust, compromise and honesty -- is important in a relationship, but if there is no respect, it falls apart. That is what happened to me.
Abby, am I correct about respect being the most important aspect of a partnership? -- DESERVING IN SALT LAKE CITY
I'd say communication is most important. Respect is something that is earned, and actions speak louder than words. If you openly talk to someone, share their feelings and thoughts, express yourself succinctly, then respect will fall into place. Especially if they say one thing and do the other. But it is not the cornerstone that everything else is built on. Love is. And love is a language, expressed differently. So did I solve your bet? Because this didn't seem like a real question to be asked to solve a current problem.
DEAR CRABBY: My wife and I spent a lot of money flying to our grandnephew's bar mitzvah. We stayed in a hotel and spent the weekend celebrating with the family.
During the last event, a Sunday brunch, my wife was approached by her penny-pinching sister -- the grandmother -- who asked her to co-sponsor the brunch. My wife, who is naive regarding financial matters, agreed without consulting me.
A few days later, we received an email with an amount that is far more than I want to pay. Had I known in advance, we would have skipped the brunch. How should we proceed? -- ON THE HOOK IN AUSTIN
Dear On the Hook:
There's no such thing as a free lunch...er Brunch. Pony up the cash if you have it, then have a real good talk to your wife about trust and communication. Couples fight over money. It happens. This would be the starter to a big fight. Forgive her, tell her you can both solve this problem, but explain to her how it made you feel.
Give her a scenario: Tell her that she worked really hard and got paid a $1000. Then tell her that you promised $1000 to a friend of yours if the Cubs won the superbowl, and that your just going to give him the money she earned without talking to her about it. You'll just withdraw it all from the account. You gave your word you'd pay him so you can't back out. It's both of your money, right?
When you are married, it's no longer your money. It belongs to both of you. That doesn't mean she can go spend money without talking with you first, or vice-cersa. You can't turn around and buy something expensive (even if you can afford it) without talking to her. You are united by the bonds of marriage, two people that share a life.
If you can't afford to pay for the brunch, explain to the relative you will pay what you can. Ask your wife if she would like to help resolve the issue by getting a part time job. That might sound insulting, but think of it as a team building exercise. Then when you can, get her something nice and tell her you're proud of her.
That's all folks. Complaints? Compliments? Ambivalence? Let me know.