Dear Carolyn: I play for a high school sports team that had only one senior this year. Nobody is particularly fond of this player, but she is important to the success of the team so we try to get along.
For her senior night, I led the team in making two amazing signs and taking, editing and printing over 30 pictures of her, as well as helping decorate the field. I spent well over 10 hours organizing it. The night went off without a hitch, and at the end she took both signs and all the photos without asking, never thanking me even though she knew I was the one responsible.
I am not sure if or when I should broach the subject. Am I being needy and selfish, or do I have a legitimate case for feeling disowned?
Having a legitimate grievance, which it sounds like you do, doesn’t mean you have to speak up.
When there’s still a chance to make things right or when you have a close or ongoing relationship with the person you believe wronged you, then it can be helpful to all involved to admit your feelings are bruised, why, and what would help you feel better.
In this case, though, the teammate is graduating (bye, teammate!) and you never liked her in the first place; these two details suggest it’s time you made the acquaintance of an institution we all must embrace at some point in life: the thankless task.
That’s how you file away changing a baby’s diaper, paying your taxes, visiting a relative turned cranky from infirmities, throwing in extra toward the tip because everyone else left the table. You do these because they’re the right thing to do, even though babies don’t sit up and say thanks for the squeaky-clean butt.
Organizing her senior night was the right thing to do. Showing yourself you can be counted on to do the right or kind thing is your reward – and it’s not a consolation prize. That’s actually what thank-yous and prizes are. Your own peace of mind is, in fact, the only payoff that counts.
Hi, Carolyn: I am a happily married man for 25 years with a great family. Thirty years ago I had a brief, but great, relationship with a girl from work. Unfortunately it ended when she had to choose between me and another guy she had a longer relationship with.
She’s the only girl from my past that I sometimes think about.
Recently I looked her up online and came across what I think is her phone number. I’ve never cheated on my wife and the thought of calling or texting this girl behind her back just doesn’t seem right. On the other hand, I don’t know too many wives who would like their husbands to ask if they can reach out to an old girlfriend.
Should I call or text her?
NO! No. No no no no no.
When is it easiest to refuse dessert – when you’re walking by the restaurant, reading the menu, or holding pie a la mode on your fork? Stop yourself now, please, while you’re out on the sidewalk having an awful idea. It’s the least you can do for the family you just described as “great.”
Email Carolyn at email@example.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.