Money­grab­bing co­worker drives col­league into hid­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY >> A wo­man I’ll call Betty Jo works in my of­fice. We are only ca­sual ac­quain­tances. We speak in pass­ing when time per­mits, but she has never in­vited me to lunch with her or sug­gested any in­ter­ac­tion out­side the job.

About three months ago, Betty Jo men­tioned that she and her hus­band were plan­ning a re­newal of wed­ding vows and said she was go­ing to in­vite me. In my mail­box at work, I found a poorly pho­to­copied ver­sion of a for­mal in­vi­ta­tion, with the fol­low­ing hand­writ­ten at the top in large block let­ters: CASH GIFTS ARE CHEER­FULLY AC­CEPTED!

I did not plan on at­tend­ing, since I felt that if Betty Jo re­ally wanted me, she could have at least sent me an orig­i­nal in­vi­ta­tion to my home.

Two weeks ago, while knit­ting dur­ing my lunch break, Betty Jo came up to me and asked about the item I was work­ing on. She then in­formed me that since I hadn’t yet given her a gift, I could com­plete my knit­ting project and give that to her! Abby, I was flab­ber­gasted. It’s a cus­tom-de­signed an­gora sweater, a gift for a cher­ished friend.

I mum­bled some­thing about being “busy as a bee” with projects to com­plete, and since that day I have gone out of my way to avoid any con­tact with Betty Jo. I’ve even man­aged to find an of­fice with a door that locks in which to take my breaks.

First, am I be­hind the times or is re­quest­ing money on an in­vi­ta­tion a new trend? Sec­ond, why would this rude and clue­less wo­man re­quest such an elab­o­rate gift from some­one she barely knows? Third, how do I han­dle fu­ture in­ter­ac­tions with her at the of­fice? Please don’t re­veal my name, city or state.

— Both­ered and be­wil­dered

DEAR BOTH­ERED >> You are not be­hind the times. To re­quest a gift of money (cash, yet!) is still re­garded by most peo­ple as bad man­ners. Your co-worker asked you for the sweater you were knit­ting be­cause she ei­ther has a lot of nerve, or doesn’t know any bet­ter.

Please stop try­ing to hide from her. You don’t have to feel de­fen­sive for not at­tend­ing her re­newal cer­e­mony or giv­ing her a gift. Just main­tain a po­lite and con­sis­tent dis­tance, and con­tinue to so­cial­ize with oth­ers as you al­ways have.

DEAR ABBY >> I am 50 and about to re-en­ter the dat­ing scene. I’m fi­nan­cially sta­ble and look for­ward to a nice re­tire­ment in the fu­ture. I hope to find a wo­man for a last­ing re­la­tion­ship. How­ever, I would like her to also be fi­nan­cially sta­ble and build­ing her own re­tire­ment fund.

When is it ap­pro­pri­ate to ask ques­tions about some­one’s fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity and re­tire­ment funds/goals? — Se­cure Texan

DEAR SE­CURE TEXAN >> Good ques­tion. I don’t think it would be ap­pro­pri­ate to ask on a first date, so con­sider rais­ing the sub­ject right around the time you start talk­ing about sex and pol­i­tics.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her fa­vorite recipes in two book­lets: “Abby’s Fa­vorite Recipes” and “More Fa­vorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money or­der for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cook­book­let Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

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