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Ask Amelia is back with her Friday column to help all of you resolve your interpersonal quandaries!
My friend keeps wanting to hang out. She just commented on my latest post on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to come over this weekend for a craft. The problem is that her husband is the biggest jerk on the planet, and I want nothing to do with him. He could watch football with my husband while we craft, but he wants nothing to do with this jerk, either. How do I handle this?
— Frustrated Friend
It can be hard to maintain a relationship with a friend who is married to a jerk, but it can be done. Try inviting her over during the day when your husbands are at work so you can spend some one-on-one time without him making you (or your husband) miserable. As she’s already taken you up on the invitation this time around, you have a couple of options.
The first option is to deal with them this one last time, but your husband would bear the brunt of that. The other option is to tell her that this weekend won’t work out, and suggest pushing it back to next week as I said above.
To prevent this from happening in the future, I’d suggest putting her on a restricted Facebook list so she doesn’t see these invitations unless you want her to.
My boss’ wife is officially one of my assistants. The problem is she is making decisions that I don’t approve of and is making my life pretty miserable. I’ve been there for over a decade and have a great relationship with my boss but I also know he adores his wife and thinks she is great at what she does. I am tempted to just walk away from my position and try to find a different job but I was wondering if you have a suggestion as to whether it is a bad idea to try to fix this and if so, how should I approach addressing it.
— At the End of My Rope
This really is a tough situation, but it is not hopeless. Before you walk away, give your boss (and his wife) a chance to make things right. If it doesn’t work out, you will be able to walk away, knowing that you did what you could.
Treat her as you would another employee, as tough as that might be. I would suggest having a conversation about discuss roles and responsibilities, boundaries, and how you would have made different decisions in certain situations. Be professional and respectful, set expectations for the future, and see if you can move forward from there.
If that doesn’t do the trick, then it’s time to talk to your boss. Ensure he understands that you respect him personally and professionally, but that having his wife as your assistant isn’t a good fit. Don’t assign blame, don’t get angry or frustrated about it, just calmly tell him how you feel about the situation. It probably wouldn’t hurt for you to compliment her strengths, too, so that he knows you appreciate his wife and are not putting her down. This is simply a case of a poor fit between an assistant and the person she is meant to assist, and you need to discuss how to remedy that to get the support that you need.
In this economy, it’s certainly worth giving it your best shot before walking away, but if you exhaust every avenue, and can’t work something out, perhaps it’s better to look for another opportunity. If he and his wife are reasonable, though, it shouldn’t come to that. If it does… well, you were thinking of leaving anyway, so what have you lost?
So, should I go ahead and shag my mortal enemy, just ‘cause he’s pretty?
— Confused in Quebec
No. No no no no no.
First, look at why you would even want to go there with a man whom you call your mortal enemy. Why is he in your life in any capacity? No need to spend any more time with him than necessary (which might be none, depending on how you know him).
As you have given him such a remarkable moniker, one can assume that you’re not going to feel too good about yourself should you get it on with this guy. Respect yourself enough to walk away.