DEAR HARRIETTE: I am always the plus-one for a couple of my friends. As the single member of my friend group, they typically call on me at the last minute to go with them to various activities.
I do my best to be available, and usually it’s fun.
My issue is that when I invite them to join me for something — even when it isn’t last-minute — they hardly ever say yes. Either they have a date, or they are tired because they have had a busy week or some other reason.
I’m often tired, too, but I make the effort to have their backs and muster up energy whenever possible.
I’m beginning to see how one-sided this is, and I don’t appreciate it. What can I do to get them to see how unfairly they are treating me?
No More Excuses
DEAR NO MORE EXCUSES: Stop saying yes all the time.
Tell your friends that you do not like the balance of give-and-take in your friendship. You feel like you are the only reliable one, and this hurts your feelings. Point out that you almost always accommodate your friends when they ask you to do something with them, and rarely do they do the same for you.
Ask them how they think they would feel if you almost always said no when they ask you to be their plus-one. If they balk and say they thought you loved being spontaneous, remind them that you love them and want to spend time with them and support them. Of course the activities are often fun, but being in their company is the main driver. That’s also what you want when you extend an invitation to them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a small-business owner, so I work very closely with the few employees that I have.
I had one particular employee who had been loyal and trusted for years, but she took a job offer and left us completely high and dry. She even lost some major files that we are still struggling to do without in her absence.
She is now asking for a letter of recommendation in case she ever needs it. Should I give it to her?
DEAR BAD ENDING: Instead of automatically giving your former employee a letter of recommendation, ask her for her assistance.
Point out how difficult it has been for you since she lost those files. Ask her to search again to see if she can find them or help piece together the data that is missing. Stay calm and positive as you request her help.
See if she can come in to talk to you in person. Find out what’s going on in her life and why she needs a letter of recommendation now. Are things rocky at her job? What exactly is going on?
Also, share with her how challenging things have been due to the way that she left. Express how disappointed you are with how she departed. Invite her to help smooth things out at your company. Tell her you do not feel comfortable making a recommendation until you see her step up to fix the discomfort she created.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.