Carolyn Hax: Just ignore vile colleague

Carolyn Hax:

September 16, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: My boyfriend has a colleague who is truly the most heinous person I’ve ever encountered. He’s always been fairly unpleasant to my face (and to others in general, but that’s beside the point), but I recently learned from some mutual friends that he said some nasty things about me and our relationship on several occasions to my boyfriend. My boyfriend brushed it off when I confronted him about it, but agreed to minimize contact with the colleague.

I’m bothered with the fact that I will have to see this person eventually. What should I do?

ANONYMOUS

Slashing his tires is out, and you probably don’t have an opportunity to sneeze on his toothbrush, so your best course is probably just to ignore him.

We all have someone in our lives who says vile things about us, if not many such someones, so the main twist here is that you actually know who he is and what he’s saying. In fact, you’re actually on the lucky side since your smack-talker is apparently nasty to others. When someone who’s normally kind dislikes you, it feels personal; when someone nasty is nasty to you, well, whatever. It’s not about you and you’re hardly alone.

Hi, Carolyn: Our friend’s wife lost her job several years ago and they have had a tough time since then. Because my husband and I are in a fortunate position, we buy them grocery gift cards periodically.

We recently found out that our friend’s wife has turned down several jobs because “they don’t feed my soul.” We are aghast and do not want to continue to help them.

Should we say something or just stop helping them?

Friends in Deed

Happiness is minimizing your involvement with things that leave you “aghast.” Stop helping, say nothing.

I’m not sure whether typing that fed my soul or snatched its plate away, but the answer makes sense to me regardless.

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