DEAR ABBY: It has recently come to my attention that at work I am considered "bossy." It came as a shock to me. I'm hurt that my co-workers and department manager think of me this way.
I know I come on strong sometimes when it comes to helping customers, but I view it as helping. When I suggest to co-workers that they keep their areas clean and orderly, it is perceived as bossy. I'm just trying to help them not get fired for slacking off.
I'm older than some of my co-workers and my manager. I tried for the manager position, and was initially angry when someone else got it. But now I see she does a good job, and I respect her. It seems, however, that my actions have sent the wrong message. What can I do to mend fences? Or, should I just forget about it and look for something else? -- MISJUDGED IN ALBUQUERQUE
DEAR MISJUDGED: No, you should apologize to anyone you might have offended. And, as well-intentioned as you are, in the future resist the urge to correct your fellow employees. Your job is to be part of a team, not a scolding schoolmarm. Sometimes it's how you say something, not necessarily what was said, that's the problem.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Alana," has a 7-year-old son my husband and I have helped to raise while she got her life together and pursued her lucrative career. "Tristan" excels in school and is a great little man. The problem is, every time Alana gets a new boyfriend, she rushes to make the boyfriend Tristan's "daddy."
The men my daughter chooses are crude, rude and, without fail, feel a need to "straighten out" Tristan. My grandson does not need straightening out because he is polite, engaging and a good soul. The newest guy in Alana's life, "Jeff," told me point blank that if Alana doesn't stop babying her son, Tristan will grow up to be a girl! This man is homophobic, sexist, racist and controlling.
Alana claims she's "in love" and fails to see the potential harm this guy could inflict on Tristan. We do not employ corporal punishment, but Jeff has already said (several times) he would "beat his butt"! What should we do? -- FEARFUL NANA IN GEORGIA
DEAR NANA: Where is your daughter meeting these people? It appears her taste in men is atrocious, and she has serious self-esteem issues. You and your husband need to get across to her how harmful it is for her to repeatedly introduce men to her son as "daddies." Parents should wait until they know their prospective mates well enough to be assured they won't injure the child physically or psychologically.
If Alana insists on marrying Jeff, offer to take Tristan to live with you. If that's not acceptable, the next time Jeff says he'll "beat Tristan's butt" respond point blank that if he lays a hand on your grandson, you'll report him to Child Protective Services.
You could also point out to your daughter that now that she has her life together and a "lucrative career," the last thing she would need is a scandal because she tolerated such a thing happening to her son. And while you're at it, make it plain that trying to "toughen up" a 7-year-old the way this man is suggesting would not only be counterproductive, it could damage him in ways she can't imagine.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)