DEAR ABBY: I was recently placed in an uncomfortable situation. "Adam," a 43-year-old married co-worker, was using myspace.com to contact me four and five times a day on my days off. The messages culminated when he told me he was crazy about me and would like to "kiss and cuddle outside of work." Abby, I am 20 and very happy in my current relationship. I told Adam I would be neither interested nor comfortable doing that with him.
He was going through a rough patch in his life at the time, so I didn't report him to management because it would have gotten him fired, and he and his family couldn't afford for him to lose his job. However, Adam has approached every single young female at the company with a similar proposition at one point or another. It is fairly common knowledge, and no one has spoken up about it.
Adam now talks to me at work only when necessary and has stopped contacting me on my days off, but the whole situation feels weird, and I know in the future another girl will inevitably be put in the same situation I was. Adam has already been disciplined several times for saying inappropriate things and, while I don't want to punish his family for his bad behavior by costing him his job, I also don't want any other girl to be made uncomfortable because of him. Any suggestions? -- HAD IT IN DAVENPORT, IOWA
DEAR HAD IT: Considering "Adam's" history, you should have spoken up at the time he began sexually harassing you. It was not your responsibility to protect his family from the repercussions of his bad behavior. If their financial future is jeopardized, it will be because of Adam, not you or any of the other women he has gone after.
One way to ensure that he cannot harass anyone else in the future would be to gather all of the young women he has done this to, and pay a call on the director of human resources or your boss. It's the surest way to ensure he won't act like a fox at the henhouse the day the next young female employee is hired.
DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and a freshman in high school. I have been best friends with a girl I'll call Tracy ever since third grade.
Two years ago, Tracy's father was killed in a car accident, and it's like she hasn't grown since. My problem is, she treats me differently now. She has said it's because I bring back memories of her dad and it hurts her, but I'm the one being hurt.
Tracy and I have only one class together, but we see each other every day during lunch. She rarely talks to me when we're around my friends, and if she does, it's not always a nice comment. She admitted a few days ago it's because she thinks I am smart and she isn't.
My parents have asked me again and again if I really want to be her friend, and I have answered "yes" every time. But I'm tired of the way she treats our friendship. Is it time for us to grow apart? -- SAD IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR SAD: Let me put it this way. It's time that you accepted that you haven't been "best friends" for some time, and you have ALREADY grown apart. It is sad that your friend lost her father and that seeing you reminds her of her loss. But you can't change either of those things, and you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Because you're not getting those things from Tracy, it is time to move on.
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