Ask Lisi: I have a really good friend with whom I often like to spend time. She’s fun and very smart. But no matter what we’re talking about, even if I’m talking with someone else, she always thinks it’s all about her.
Another friend was reading an Instagram post out loud to a few of us in the room and somehow this woman thought it was about her and her family! Short of yelling, “Not everything is about you!” I don’t know how to deal with her when she gets like that.
Perhaps this woman doesn’t have very good conversation skills and somewhere along the line learned that if she turns a conversation around to herself, she’ll be able to speak easily. She also sounds very insecure, worried that everyone is talking about her all the time.
Try starting your conversations with, “I heard a story about another woman, blah, blah.” If she still turns it around to her, you can gently say, “this isn’t about you, Jane.”
If she still doesn’t change her pattern, you may have to have a quiet talk with her. She may not realize she’s doing that. Or she may genuinely believe that everything is about her. You won’t know unless you ask.
Dear Lisi: My mom works at the school I go to. She has a cool job, and the school is lucky to have her. And I get why she wanted to work there because it’s close to our home and easy for her since she has to get us there every day anyway.
It has its perks, but it can also be so awkward! We’re a pretty huggy-kissy family, which I don’t mind at all when we’re at home. But I don’t like when she sees me in the hall and has to come and hug me every time. My little sister and brother are still young enough that they like it. But I don’t. It’s so embarrassing!
I don’t want to hurt her feelings, and I don’t want her to stop at home. But how do I get her to stop at school? She’ll get upset if I just ask her. She’s sensitive like that.
Right Mom, wrong place
If you don’t think your mom will take kindly to a conversation, I have two suggestions: Write her a letter and put it on her desk at her office, if possible. If not, leave it for her at home. But I think if she gets it at work, she can put your wishes into action without an uncomfortable conversation.
If that doesn’t work, or you don’t think it will work, talk to your father and ask him what he suggests. He knows your mom best and may have some thoughts for you.
FEEDBACK regarding the woman who was hit on by her boss’ husband (Dec. 30):
Reader – “A husband who comes on to his wife’s subordinate at a company party is not safe to be around. I fear for his wife. He knows it places Double Dilemma in an untenable situation, and he is using this to his advantage.
“The strategy you suggest does not address the real issue. The husband was inappropriate, but now DD is modifying her behaviour and worrying about negative impacts on her career.
“The New Year’s party is potentially much worse than the company party. It will be on the husband’s “turf”, plus New Year’s is a time for excessive drinking and midnight kisses. The husband can use all of this to his advantage.
“I suggest an alternate approach: Don’t go. Use an irreproachable excuse, such as, I always spend New Years’ Eve with my mom. Remind yourself that you’re not going because of what happened at the last party, and you don’t want a repeat situation. If anyone questions you, you can allude to the events of the last party.”
Lisi – Fortunately, she has a witness who can corroborate her story, if need be. You’re right in your assessment of the husband: he’s not safe to be around. And he may remember that she “got away” last time, and that may provoke him to come on stronger.
I agree – if you don’t have to go to the party, don’t.
FEEDBACK regarding the mom upset about her daughter’s boyfriend’s parents (Jan. 13):
Reader – “The boyfriend sounds like a good kid. Maybe have a chat with him alone. Find out what he really thinks about the daughter’s wants. Maybe the boyfriend can express to his girlfriend the advantages of having caring parents, and is more than willing to listen and comply.”
Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org