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by Abigail Van Buren

Warring Employees in Office Must Be Brought to a Truce

DEAR ABBY: I own a business with just two employees, my husband and a very old friend. The friend has been in the business for 15 years, and he is critical to running it. My husband has been with me for 11 years, but in the business for only three. He is not critical to running the business.

Their relationship is a constant strain. Neither one likes the other, but they generally tolerate each other. When tensions arise they become emotional, and I end up caught between them, unable to put an end to it.

How do we work and live in peace? Their conflict is affecting the smooth functioning of the business. What should I do to end the hostility? I'm a quiet type, which probably feeds the situation. -- WALKING ON EGGSHELLS

DEAR WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: You may be a quiet type, but you are also the boss. The atmosphere you describe is unhealthy for your business. For it to continue to be successful, your business must be nurtured as a separate entity apart from your friendship and your marriage.

Because the present situation makes it difficult for all of you to function together, I'm suggesting that you tell your husband you love him, but either he must get along with the longtime employee or leave the business -- because it's the business that is paying the bills, feeding and putting a roof over all of you!

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Marriage & Divorce | Work & School