Reader Questions #8, #9, #10, and #11: Short Answer Friday

Mad Men Ladies
"Whenever I go into my boss's office, he sucks me further into his gross emotional problems. Should I be concerned?"

Intern Paul challenged me to write some shorter pieces. I agree that it was getting a bit Cary Tennis up in here, but with 100% fewer references to Burning Man so I’m still feeling ok about it.  Let’s dance.

Dear Captain Awkward:

Why African Violets?

-Just Curious

Dear Just Curious:

African Violets are lovely, but I keep killing them. So for me they symbolize something high maintenance that will soon die despite my best intentions. 

Feel free to give people you don’t like the plant of your choice.

Dear Captain Awkward:

Should I call off my wedding? I am having panic attacks. It’s in two weeks.

Runaway (Maybe) Bride

Probably?  No, it’s just cold feet? Here’s what I know about getting married:  I’ve been to some weddings?  Here’s what I know about being married: Jack shit.

Let me say this:  Don’t marry someone you don’t want to marry just because you’ve already spent money on the wedding or worry about what people will think.  The money is gone, those six twelve eighteen months that you spent pretending to work when you were really on The Knot are gone,  and people will talk about juicy stuff that’s not their business for years.  “She called off the wedding at the last minute” is juicy, but so is “They got divorced before they sent their thank-you notes.”

If you really want to do it right, when they get to the “speak now or forever hold your peace” part of the ceremony, speak up. I’ve always wanted to see someone do that. You’ve already spent the money and even the nicest weddings all run together after a while, so why not invest in making Your Special Day truly unforgettable?

P.S. If you go that route, I’m handy with a video camera and happy to negotiate a reasonable rate.

P.P.S. In all sincerity, the person you’re marrying is probably the best one to answer this question, and if you feel afraid to even broach the question with him that’s good information right there. What do you think  he would do at this moment, when you’re standing before him with tears in your eyes?

P.P.P.S.  Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine yourself the day after you bite the bullet and call everything off. You told him, you told everyone else, you sent back all the gifts, you hashed out all the money – all that logistical stuff is done and it’s the first day of the rest of your life.   How do you feel on that day? Relieved? Like you made a huge mistake?

Dear Captain Awkward:

Your a funny writer but your kind of a bitch.

You’RE nice to say so.

Dear Captain Awkward:

My boss does this thing where, every time I go into his office to talk to him, he gets up to go check the fax machine, or get coffee, or go up front to ask if the mail has arrived yet, or remember an appointment he has to go to and has me walk him to the subway or around the block to “grab a newspaper.”  He does this every single time.  This morning I tried to ask a question and he got up to “rinse out his water glass.”  I am getting tired of chasing him around the office, and it is making me paranoid that he does not like me or I’m about to be fired.  I’m not always the best at picking up on social cues. What’s going on?


Do I Smell?

Dear Do I Smell,

Man, I love that everyone is so good at writing their own pseudonyms.  Not Perfect, But Happy.  Desperately Seeking Sister. Do I Smell?  I never appreciated how much work it takes to collapse human suffering into an apt nickname.

I hope you don’t smell, but it’s possible that you smell. Could you verify that with someone who is not related to you?

Assuming you don’t smell, my hunch is that your boss sees you as a time suck.  That’s why my former boss used to do that to me when I’d try to plop my chatty and complaining ass in his chair made of fine Cordovan leather, and that’s why I used to do that to my former assistant, even though I’m pretty sure that everyone liked everyone okay and no one was fired. My boss was just trying to take care of business and, once interrupted, figured he might as well kill two birds with one stone by stretching his legs and getting me the heck out of there without being rude.

Try not going into your boss’s office for a few days and handling your questions by email or phone instead.  The next time you do pop in for a little visit, make sure that whatever you have to say is 1) three sentences or less, 2) essential to getting your work done,  3) none of those sentences are complaints, and,  4) you’ve made an honest effort to handle whatever it is yourself.   The situation should stabilize in time, and on your next self-review you can put something like “I realized I needed to be more concise and positive in my communications.”

If things don’t improve, figure out if something else about your performance or relationship is lacking and work from there.  “I can’t help noticing that you get up whenever I come in here.  I’m not always the best at reading social cues.  Is there something I need to know?”

7 thoughts on “Reader Questions #8, #9, #10, and #11: Short Answer Friday

  1. I actually came up with my name on a whim cause I was thinking of ways to not put my actual name on the internet since it’s really rare and my father actualfax googles my name to see what I’ve been writing. It’s fucking creepy. But we’ve covered that already.

    And then, Idk, my inner fag-hag came to me, and I was like MADONNA! DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN! Only, my name is NOT Susan, and I have a sister issue and I was pretty darn desperate to find out about the fact that I wanted an opinion that wasn’t from anyone within my social network.

    I thought it was pretty genius. My husband was not only proud of me, but thought you were badass and awesome just because of the name of the site. That’s what won me over most of all.

    1. Good name! Well-played everyone! I am truly glad that people are so good at coming up with those, so in no way was I making fun.

      I really weighed doing this blog under my real name or keeping it really anonymous but decided to just be myself and let the chips fall. If someone won’t employ me because my website has the word boner on it, I probably didn’t want that job.

      1. If a potential employer stumbles across this website and doesn’t hire you because of the word boner, they are entirely missing the point. Clearly there is some common sense and interpersonal relationship savvy going on here, and they would be smart to hire someone with those skills!

  2. I’m a new reader – have just started reading your blog posts – past and present – this week (thanks to Sexy Typewriter). LOVE (especially when you slip lyrics from people like Billy and the Beaters into your answers. Best)!

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