Annie's Mailbox: Frustrated Co-Worker
Dear Annie: A few months ago, we hired a lovely young woman to work in our office. "Jen" soon moved into a duplex in the neighborhood and says she loves the area. She has a boyfriend, works full time and goes to school online. She is busy and rarely gets enough sleep.
Jen lives close to the office, so she often goes home to nap at lunchtime. The problem is her neighbor in the adjoining duplex, an older single woman who has become a huge pest. She will knock on Jen's door as soon as she walks in, no matter what time it is. Jen has tried to be nice to her, but is getting fed up with having to "come over and sit" with this woman.
This woman knocks on Jen's door at least five times a day, more on weekends. She asks Jen or her boyfriend to change light bulbs and batteries, fold tablecloths and sheets, you name it. She is not frail or incapable of doing these things on her own. She drives and goes out for dinner a lot. If Jen doesn't answer the door, the woman just keeps knocking, no matter how long it takes.
Jen is chronically tired and at her wits' end. I know she doesn't want to hurt the woman's feelings, but the fact that they live in adjoining duplexes doesn't turn them into best friends. Jen has no interest in hanging out with her. What can she do? --
Dear Frustrated: We understand that you feel sorry for Jen's situation, but you seem overly involved in her dilemma. If Jen wants this woman to leave her alone, she simply needs to tell her in plain English that she needs her rest and does not want to be disturbed. It would be a kindness for Jen to set aside a time when she is willing to entertain this woman, but otherwise, she should make herself unavailable, no matter how much knocking goes on, and say "sorry, no" when asked to visit or be of assistance. No one can take advantage of you without your permission.
Dear Annie: I was wondering whether you knew of any guidelines regarding how to address mail to unmarried couples, families with multiple last names, and same-sex couples. This has been a problem for me when mailing Christmas greetings, and I will soon be sending out bridal shower and wedding invitations.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I like to do things properly. -- Still Buying Stamps
Dear Still Buying: Unmarried couples are addressed as "Ms. Jane Doe" on one line and "Mr. John Smith" on the next. (Adults who live in the same household, but are not couples, receive individual invitations. Teenagers, too.) Married couples with different last names would be "Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith" on the same line. Same-sex couples are done the same way, with the names listed alphabetically. If the same-sex couple is using the same last name, it is "Mmes. Jane and Mary Smith" or "Messrs. John and Richard Doe." For informal invitations, it's OK to use first names and "and Family" where applicable. Thank you for reminding us that some folks still care enough to do it right.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Sister-in-Law," who complained that her sister-in-law makes comments about her food. The last straw was when she said, "If they put that in front of me, I would get sick to my stomach immediately."
When I am faced with large servings of food, I feel not just overwhelmed but actually nauseated. It's a genuine physical feeling. So maybe the sister-in-law was not making a negative remark about her companion's food, but rather about her own sensitivities.
Hopefully, they will mend fences and stay on good terms. A good relationship with a sister-in-law is to be treasured. I know because I have a great sister-in-law. -- Feeling Better
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.