DEAR ABBY: I'm a 27-year-old professional who works long hours at a hospital. Dating isn't easy for me, so I decided to try an online service. My first time online I recognized a co-worker I see on a regular basis and have always exchanged smiles with, but don't know personally. I wrote him a message just to say hi. I didn't say I was interested in him. I never heard back from him.
Since I sent that message he has checked my profile several times. But when he sees me in the hallways, he turns red and now just gives me half-smiles. I was waiting at the elevator with him the other day, but he was so embarrassed by the silence that I bailed and took the stairs.
He continues to smile, but I'm not sure what to say to him the next time I see him. I think it's rude that he didn't reply to my message -- even with a "See you around!" -- but I'm too embarrassed to do or say anything when I encounter him. Help! -- ON MY SHIFT IN OHIO
DEAR ON YOUR SHIFT: Your co-worker may not be particularly adept socially, or he may be reluctant to become involved with someone where he works. Please don't take his not responding to your email so personally. The next time you run into him in the hall, just say hello. If he has any manners at all, he'll return your greeting and it may melt the ice.
DEAR ABBY: I work for a national tax preparation business, and I have some advice for customers to make the experience better and more efficient:
1. If at all possible, leave the kids at home. At the very least, don't allow them to run around the office. We have sensitive equipment and paperwork that is not there to keep your kids entertained.
2. This is our busiest time of year. Lines can be long and clients are impatient, so please don't hand us a bag of receipts to add up. Plan ahead and do the addition yourself.
3. Before your appointment, ask what's needed to make the process as efficient as possible. There are many resources online to help you get organized.
4. If you have business expenses and mileage, have that information organized and ready.
5. Be certain you have received all your tax-related paperwork (W-2s, 1099s, etc.) before coming in. Being in a hurry will result in your owing the IRS or the state because the income wasn't completely reported. This small step can avoid many problems.
6. And, please don't be angry if you have been waiting and your preparer needs to step away for a short time. It's not unusual for us to work 10 to 12 hours a day helping customers. Like everyone else we occasionally need a break to take our eyes off the computer screen for a little bit, so be understanding.
We want to give you the best service possible and making it easier on us will accomplish this task. -- JULIE IN KEARNS, UTAH
DEAR JULIE: I hope readers will pay attention to your suggestions. Tax season is stressful for everyone involved, but particularly for tax preparation professionals. Being courteous, considerate and as organized as possible will relieve some of the strain not only for the person crunching the numbers, but also for the customer.
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