Life Advice



Co-Worker Crises

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My boyfriend of five months has a female co-worker, "Leslie," who he has known and been close to for five years. She is also a single parent of two kids under 10.

I have met Leslie several times, and she has always been kind. I've never felt threatened by my boyfriend's relationship with her.

Last week, he asked me to meet him at his work so the two of us could go to lunch. When I got there, Leslie was in a panic because her sitter was sick and needed to go home. Leslie was trying everyone she knew who could babysit.

My boyfriend turned to me, right in front of Leslie, and asked if I would mind going to her apartment and staying with the kids until she got off work.

I don't know these kids, and they don't know me. Leslie seemed fine with this, however.

I instantly felt angry. My boyfriend was putting me on the spot, not caring that it was my day off, and other than lunch with him, I had other plans.

I said no. I apologized to Leslie but said for several reasons, I was not willing to do this. My boyfriend couldn't understand why I wasn't willing to help her out.

We got into a big argument in the parking lot. I told him I didn't appreciate being put on the spot like that and him being willing to use me to fill another woman's needs. -- Am I Right?

Dear Right: Yes, you are correct that putting you on the spot to babysit his co-worker's children when you were supposed to have lunch was inconsiderate. With that being said, remember that a good relationship isn't really looking to blame the other person but rather to compromise. If you didn't have anything to do, and this single mom was in a pinch, then yes, it would have been really kind of you to help out with her children. But you are right that putting you on the spot was wrong. You also had other plans for your day off, so you were right to say no.


Dear Annie: I just saw your advice regarding a co-worker who talks too much, and your advice was to go to human resources.

I have a degree in human resources and would advise your reader to try to have a conversation with the employee first, as this may open the door to communication between the two of them. The writer only stated she is not engaging and is more annoyed.

Maybe that is why the co-worker keeps trying to engage in a conversation. If the conversation between the two of them doesn't solve the issue, then their manager would be the next step, and then HR.

There is a chain of command in the workplace that facilitates great relationships. I am sure you would rather a co-worker approach you with a problem rather than go straight to HR. -- Works in HR

Dear HR: I always love hearing from professionals in their fields. Thank you for your letter. You bring up a great point, especially for issues in large corporations. Many smaller businesses with fewer employees than yours don't always have the same type of chain of command.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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