Husband Believes Appliances Make Good Gifts
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband often buys new items for the household (appliances that will benefit everyone in the house) but presents them as gifts to me. He doesn't understand that buying a new washer and dryer is not a gift for me if we will both benefit from the appliance. How do I get him to understand why this isn't acceptable? -- Bad Gifts
DEAR BAD GIFTS: Your husband's gesture is not unusual, nor is your reaction to it. When a household needs appliances in order to function, they often become a gift because they can be pricey and take extra effort and money to procure. Yet, an appliance is not the same thing as a personal gift for you.
Be gentle as you attempt to make this point. Thank your husband for buying the appliance that the family needs. Point out that you appreciate him making this purchase for the home, but that it is not the same as getting something special just for you. Tell him you would appreciate something that is not tied to housework or the overall functioning of the home when he gives you a gift. You wish he would do something more personal for you.
Give him ideas. For me, it could be as simple as a bouquet of flowers, an invitation for dinner at a local restaurant, tickets to a performance by an artist I love, tickets to a film I am interested in, a scarf in my favorite color or a bottle of perfume.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a terrible falling-out with my previous boss. She treated me horribly, and we parted on a bad note. I was respectful and loyal to her for the entire time I worked with her, but we don't speak anymore.
She is the only boss I've ever had. Is it wise for me to keep her as a reference on my resume? I don't have any other reference to use. -- Need Reference
DEAR NEED REFERENCE: I always say that endings are more important than beginnings because the reverberations of endings last a long time. Ideally, you want to close out relationships so that both parties feel good about each other when they walk away.
If you need this woman's reference, it sounds like you need to mend that relationship somehow. You need to find it in your heart to forgive her for her bad behavior and to recognize what happened at the breaking point. Then reach out to her. Ask to see her in person. If possible, gauge how she is doing and what is happening in her business. Tell her you are sorry that things ended the way they did. Remind her that she was your first boss, and therefore, she will always hold a special place in your life. Then be direct and ask her if she will write you a letter of recommendation, as you are looking for a new job and would appreciate her support.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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