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DURING HALLOWEEN, USE CAUTION AND GOOD JUDGMENT

Q: Please help me. I wasn't sure how to handle an uncomfortable situation last Halloween, and your answer will help me be better prepared this year.

I took my 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old niece trick-or-treating. As we approached one house, an older gentleman was waiting at the open door, handing out candy to the kids.

Before I could process what was happening, he whipped out a camera and took a picture of my daughter and niece. I was not comfortable with it at all. But what could I have possibly done or said without being rude?

Do you think it was inappropriate for an older man to take pictures of someone's children? What would be the proper way to handle it this year?

Halloween Escort, San Diego

A: If the children were wearing cute costumes, I don't think it was inappropriate for the gentleman to want to take their picture. Of course, it would have been better had this neighbor first asked permission. But since he didn't, avoid his house this year and in the future.

She wonders how to help her husband while his mother is ill

Q: My husband and I have been married for three years. His mother has become very ill and is dying. My problem is, I don't know how to comfort him in his time of need. I am trying my best to console him, but he gets angry. I try to talk to him and he tunes me out. What can I do to help my husband?

Heartbroken in Arizona

A: You are a loving, caring wife, but please stop trying so hard to "help" your husband. Everyone must deal with death in his (or her) own way, and the things you think might console him may only make him feel worse.

What you can do is be there for him. Do not push him to express his feelings. If he wants to talk, listen. If he tunes you out, stop talking. Tell him you love him, but give him his space.

An ambitious professional is learning how to be tactful

Q: I was recently promoted and now work closely with presidents, CIOs, CEOs and COOs and a lower-ranking member of an executive team. During meetings, some of these high-ranking individuals issue statements of fact that I know are incorrect.

I care deeply about this company, and I want a long and prosperous career here. How, when and to whom should I point out these errors for the good of the company? I have no desire to embarrass, hurt or make anyone look bad.

Little Fish/Big Pond in Los Angeles

A: Frankly, much depends on the temperament of the executives with whom you're working. If the person is a self-important blowhard who needs to feel he or she is infallible, it might be better to keep your mouth shut. If, however, the misstatement could come back to embarrass the person at a later date, then correct him or her quietly and privately. To do otherwise could be perceived as trying to "one-up" the senior team member - or worse, stab the person in the back.

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