Adult-only pool hours give all a break from crying kids
Q: Would it be rude to ask my apartment complex for adult-only hours at the pool? My one day off and I'm surrounded by moms with crying babies. Come on, the kid doesn't want to swim, and he's probably peed in the pool already! Am I being intolerant?
A: You are, but a lot of those moms, when they get time to themselves, feel the way you do about other people's crying babies — and of course, at one time, you too wailed and peed with the best of them — so don't get sucked into an Us vs. Them mentality.
As long as you don't infringe upon kiddie prime time, arranging adult-only pool hours can actually help build relations, just as fences make good neighbors. There's nothing more dispiriting to a parent than to have to wrangle a crabby kid while crabby bystanders roll their eyes. Compassion for all is ideal, but if you can't sympathize, then by all means, compartmentalize.
Develop a thicker skin to deal with rude contact at work
Q: I have a sticky situation at work. The company I work for often needs information from "Jane's" organization. I have been in my field for a year, while Jane is seasoned in hers.
I feel intimidated by Jane, who can be short and abrasive on the phone, and usually speaks loudly, like she's yelling at me. She hangs up as I am ending my remarks. Like, "Goo . . . (Click) d-bye."
When our conversation is over, I feel small and a bit run over.
I don't know how to deal with her rudeness and present myself as a professional who should be treated respectfully. I don't want to be argumentative and there really is no one above her I could talk to. Any suggestions?
A: Jane isn't your mother, your mate, your close friend, your beauty contest judge, your doctoral review committee, the judge at your custody hearing or even the seen-it-all, public-weary power-tripper at the window of the DMV. You don't need Jane to like you. You just need the information your job requires.
So, put on your business skin (read: elephant hide) over your thin personal skin, state your business and be done with Jane, while expecting the same from her. It's both assertive and pragmatic. And if her hanging up on you shaves your Jane-time to its absolute minimum, maybe that's a gift.
Little to lose by speaking up to perpetually texting friend
Q: How do I address a perpetual texter? We often double date. I first noticed that she texted throughout dinner (under the table, as if we didn't notice!), and afterward at a sporting event she texted till her phone died.
We recently took a road trip with this couple, and she spent 85 percent of it texting — including while she was driving a car full of people at 75 mph. What can I say without an ultimatum? My fear is that she'll resent me, and always be waiting for me to leave so that she can text.
Over the limit
A: That's what you fear? Not oneness with a bridge abutment?
If you can't just say, "Please join the conversation" or "Pull over, I want out of this death trap," then I fear for your ability to stand up for yourself. I realize you don't want to spoil a friendship, but that's on her thumbs, not your conscience.