Office entreaties receive cold shoulder from co-worker
DEAR ABBY: A woman where I work refuses to acknowledge me. Every day for the past nine months, she walks by my desk and ignores me even after I've said "Hello" or "Good morning." I hate to seem petty, but I don't get how someone can be so rude.
Has workplace culture become so impersonal that people no longer have or employ basic social skills? It costs nothing to say hello or to smile — it's the least she could do.
— FEELING INVISIBLE IN LOUISIANA
DEAR INVISIBLE: Of course the woman's behavior is rude, and even somewhat hostile. You might ask her if you have offended her in some way and see what kind of reply you receive. I agree that there has been a general decline in basic good manners over the last 10 years. However, one never knows what burdens those we encounter might be carrying. Depression, anger and stress can affect the way we treat others. My advice would be not to take this personally and, because you know she's not open to exchanging social amenities, to stop what you have been doing.
DEAR ABBY: Four years ago, I lost my husband of 20 years. After it happened, I told his younger brother, whom he was closest to, that I was going to write about him. However, some things have stopped me. I lost our dog six months ago and watched her follow a similar path as my late husband, which hurt me deeply. The other reason is, I believe his family may not want to know the truth.
His brother thinks my husband was a great man. He did have good qualities, but he wasn't the saint his brother thinks he was. He was emotionally abusive and he raped me numerous times. He often yelled at our dog for simple things, and he wasn't faithful, either. So -- should I write the story they don't want to hear?
— PEN IN HAND IN TEXAS
DEAR PEN: They say the pen is mightier than the sword. But if you want to continue to interact with these former in-laws, refrain from the temptation to use it to cut their brother down to size.
DEAR ABBY: My grandson's ex-wife is instructing their four children to "be mean" to his new 6-year-old stepdaughter. The children are all under 12. We do not speak to the ex-wife, but what can we do to stop this destructive behavior?
— APPALLED IN GEORGIA
DEAR APPALLED: I am so glad you wrote. Your grandson's former wife is behaving like a vengeful witch. That she would use the children to hurt a blameless child is appalling. You may be able to defuse some of this by sitting the "grands" down and explaining what you expect of them. Tell them that the little girl is not to blame for their parents' divorce, and that you expect them to treat her the way they would like to be treated. Then enforce the rules, as their father should.
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