Dear Ann Cannon • I think a good friend of mine has a crush on my husband. She lights up whenever he walks into the room, and when we all go out, she pays more attention to my husband than she does to me or to her own husband. To be fair, my husband doesn’t seem to notice. Should I say something to him? To her? If so, what should I say?
Dear Suspicious • Hmmmm. Here’s what I think. While I often advocate openness and “using your voice” (as the therapists say), sometimes saying a thing out loud gives it a life it doesn’t really deserve. Does that make sense? In other words, talking about this with your husband, who’s apparently oblivious, and to your friend, who isn’t actively pursuing him, might make whatever it is she’s got going on in her head feel more real to everyone involved. I COULD BE SO WRONG ABOUT THIS! But still. That’s what I think, so my inclination at this stage in the game would be to keep mum.
Meanwhile, how do YOU feel about your relationship with your husband? Are there things the two of you can do to strengthen your bond? If so, I’d focus on those for now.
Dear Ann Cannon • My mother-in-law is generous — to a fault! She’s always buying my kids clothes and toys and more clothes and more toys. They already have too much stuff as it is, and to be honest, I’m not crazy about her taste. How can I tactfully tell her to stop showering her grandchildren with things they don’t need?
Dear DIL • Generosity is a lovely trait. In your case, I’d choose not to discourage it but to redirect it. Can you tell your mother-in-law that while you truly (truly! truly! truly!) appreciate her kindness, you’d rather she shower your children with experiences instead of objects? Maybe she can give them memberships to the zoo or take them to plays or go on a vacation or provide dance lessons or whatever.
This approach may or may not work. It’s possible that your mother-in-law gives your kids gifts, not only because she loves them, but also because she likes to shop, in which case you just might have to rent a storage unit.
Dear Ann Cannon • I work in an environment where my co-workers sometimes say racist and/or sexist things. I like and generally respect my co-workers (a lot, actually), but some of the things they say make me uncomfortable. How do I handle this situation?
— I Promise I Am Not a Snowflake
Dear Not a Snowflake • In addition to being just plain wrong, saying racist and sexist things anywhere — but especially in the workplace — can get people into trouble with HR, so it’s not a bad idea for you to speak up and save your co-workers from themselves. How you do that, of course, depends on your particular work environment. My friend’s son, who found himself in a similar situation, had a good enough relationship with his co-workers that he could just float a “Wow! That was sexist!” comment out there when somebody said something inappropriate. Another alternative would be to talk to your coworkers one-on-one and express your concerns that way. Would that work?
You’re in a tough position. I wish you the best.