Dear Abby: I am one of nine employees who work in a jewelry store owned by “Tom” and “Carol,” a husband and wife. Tom is having an affair with “Angie,” our bookkeeper. I know, because I have heard him talk about it to my co-workers. Carol is suspicious and has approached each of us to ask if anything is going on between them. So far we have covered for them.
Abby, we are getting tired of covering for our boss. It creates tension to lie to Carol, and personally, I feel a lot of guilt over this.
Some of us have suggested to Angie that she quit, but she has no intention of doing so.
Should we tell Carol what we know, tell Angie’s husband, or just keep our mouths shut and continue working in these uncomfortable circumstances?
In New York
Dear Uneasy: I don’t blame you for feeling uneasy. You have been placed squarely in the middle. It is unfair for your boss to expect you to lie for him, and equally unfair that his wife is asking you to be her stool pigeon.
Carol probably knows what’s what. She shouldn’t be putting her employees on the spot to obtain proof that Tom’s fooling around. If she questions you again, simply say, “Sorry, I have nothing to say.” I assure you, she’ll get the message.
Dear Abby: What do you do with someone who has no manners? A relative of my husband’s has been dating a woman for more than a year. They are both in their 30s, and there’s a strong possibility they will marry.
Whenever a group of us get together to go out for dinner, on vacation or anywhere, she puts a damper on the entire event. She won’t converse (and it’s not because she’s shy), she never smiles, she just sits with her arms crossed and is absolutely miserable.
She has been to our home for dinner on a couple of occasions. Afterward she gets up from the table and never, ever, says please or thank you. She’s the most immature, self-centered, unpleasant human being I have ever met. Even our children comment on her rudeness — in addition to the group of people we go out with. She is even rude to my mother-in-law, but her boyfriend just doesn’t see it.
They say that love is blind — but THAT blind? It has reached the point that we don’t want to associate with this couple. Would I be out of line to say something to her (particularly when she is in my home) about her lack of manners, and if so — what do you suggest I say? (I know what I’d LIKE to say!)
Dear Fuming: From your description of this unhappy young woman’s body language, it is obvious that she’s desperately uncomfortable in social situations with you and “the group.” It is possible that she suffers from a social phobia of some sort.
Rather than confront her about her “bad manners,” make a date to see her alone. Then, in the kindest way possible, try to get her to open up about what’s bothering her.
If that doesn’t work, then talk to your husband’s relative about your concerns. His girlfriend may suffer from emotional problems that could be helped with counseling or medication.
As a last resort, curtail your invitations to them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.