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by Abigail Van Buren

Co Worker's Stares Make It Hard to Focus at Work

DEAR ABBY: I work with a pleasant woman, "Kim," who appears to be distracted by my figure. Kim keeps making comments and staring at my large breasts. It makes me very uncomfortable. I've tried to ignore her and have told her that her comments bother me.

Kim has now started trying to see me outside the office, asking me out for lunches and dinners. I've always made an excuse. Last Friday when I was assigned the responsibility of picking out a gift basket for a co-worker who is retiring, Kim volunteered to go shopping with me over the weekend. I simply never called her, and on Monday explained that my weekend was busy. She acted very hurt, but I couldn't think of a more diplomatic way to handle it.

Spending time with someone who cannot stop staring at my chest does not appeal to me. It gives me the creeps. How can I tell Kim she's making me uneasy without causing problems? I have to work with her. -- BUSTY IN TOLEDO

DEAR BUSTY: Tell her once again that her staring and comments are not appreciated -- and if it doesn't stop, you will have to tell your boss or Human Resources about the problem. There is no reason why you should have to tolerate it, or see anyone outside the workplace unless you wish to.

DEAR ABBY: A friend (I'll call her Tanisha) asked me to be matron of honor at her wedding. The event was supposed to take place next month. Even though the thought of flying to a wedding in the middle of winter was not appealing, I did agree to it.

Due to personal circumstances, Tanisha pushed back the date of her wedding to next June. When she notified me, I told her I could not commit to being there. I am expecting a baby in April and don't want to travel so far with an infant. Tanisha has also changed the location of her wedding, so flying is no longer the best option, and the only way to get there is a two-day drive.

She said she understood, but still talks about the wedding as if I'm an integral part of it. For example, she recently informed me she'll be sending me swatches so that I can buy my dress. How do I explain to Tanisha that I cannot be in her wedding? She is a somewhat volatile person, and I'm afraid she'll be very upset and hurt. -- STUCK IN ST. LOUIS, MO.

DEAR STUCK: Your reasons for bowing out make good sense to me, and beating around the bush because you're afraid she'll throw a tantrum is not the best course of action. Tell Tanisha immediately, in plain English, that because you will be caring for an infant, you will be unable to be matron of honor. That way, she will be able to find a replacement ASAP.

DEAR ABBY: I'm almost 32 years old. My life is going nowhere, with two divorces and no kids; the only education I have is a G.E.D.

I'm back on my own again, and I feel like a failure. I've wasted so much time. I have no career to sustain me. By nature, I'm a jack-of-all-trades, but I struggle to master only one. I have little or no family support. I feel that life is getting harder for me to deal with.

Is it time for me to seek therapy? -- JACK

DEAR JACK: I believe you already know the answer to that question. I commend you for making such an insightful assessment of your situation. It's the first step toward a positive change. Now ... make that phone call!

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