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by Abigail Van Buren

Familiarity Breeds Aversion to New Friend, Co Worker

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest so he could attend grad school. Neither of us had a job, and we have a 1-year-old son to support. Through providence, I met "Maggie," a woman at our new church. She asked if I needed a job. I interviewed at her office and was hired immediately. I felt truly blessed.

The problem is, after getting to know Maggie better, I find her to be unbearable. She is a bad manager -- bossy, noisy and a poor communicator. On top of that, I think she is also a compulsive liar. My co-workers tend to shy away from me because they think I am "Maggie's good friend." Abby, I honestly don't like her any more than they do. She asks me to lunch often, and I am always making excuses not to go. I am grateful for the job, so what should I do? -- FEELING TRAPPED IN TACOMA

DEAR FEELING TRAPPED: Since you are not happy working with Maggie, start looking for other employment immediately. It is easier to find a job when you already have one. When you submit your resignation, thank Maggie for the opportunity you were given. Tell her you've found another job more to your liking, and that you'll see her in church.

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Denise," and I have been together for 21 years; married for 11.

When we first moved in together, we lived in a studio apartment. Her parents would visit us twice a year and never hesitated to make themselves at home in our cramped space. They even slept in our bed.

Now that we have a house and kids, my in-laws visit for at least a month twice a year. Denise says I treat them "badly" because I don't talk to them much. Well, I don't have anything in common with those people.

I've tried to tell Denise that the length of time her parents are underfoot is way too long for me, and that I'd never impose on anyone like that -- but she insists that because her parents live 1,500 miles away, it "wouldn't make sense" for them to cut their visits short.

This situation has taken its toll on me, Abby. It has also caused marital problems. I have tried to reason with Denise, but she won't budge -- and now she's giving me the silent treatment. I think her mother is in on it, too.

All I ask for is a little common sense and courtesy. I've spoken to a number of friends and family members. They think I'm nuts for having allowed this scenario to repeat itself year after year. I think visitors are like fish -- they start to stink after a number of days. What do you think, Abby? -- JUST A PRIVATE GUY IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.

DEAR PRIVATE GUY: The quotation is, "Fish and visitors stink in three days." It is from "Poor Richard's Almanac," written by Benjamin Franklin -- a very wise man, indeed.

By allowing her parents to overstay their welcome, your wife is discounting your feelings. If Denise won't agree to shortening their stays, perhaps she should compromise by going to visit them, instead of them intruding upon you. That way she would have as much time as she wants with her parents and you would have your peace of mind.

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