DEAR ABBY: I manage a group of 15 employees. A few months ago, I hired the wife of an old friend. Until now she has been a great employee, but recently she and a male co-worker have been taking lunches and breaks together in a way that leads me to believe they are flirting or have already crossed the line.
Because we have a small group, I worry about how this will affect my team, who know that she's married. I also feel bad for the husband, who is a very caring and kind man.
As a manager, I don't think I can say anything unless their liaison interferes with their work performance. But I hate to watch this progress and see people end up hurt. What can I do? -- MANAGEMENT DECISION
DEAR MANAGEMENT: Unless the flirtation becomes a distraction for "the team," you should stay out of it. Much as you might like to intervene, your friend's wife and this co-worker are adults and responsible for their own behavior.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend watches the 24-hour news channels and seems to be obsessed with them. It is hurting our relationship and affecting her happiness. She's constantly worried about national and international politics, global warming, the economy, health care, crime, etc. She neglects herself and her family. She seems agitated, anxious and depressed by all the news.
Is this a disease? How can I help her get off this habit? What should I do? -- MISERABLE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR MISERABLE: Your girlfriend appears to have become a news junkie. She's overstimulated and hooked on the adrenaline rush she gets from channel surfing from one tragedy, outrage and horror to the next. While this may not technically be a disease, it IS exhausting and depressing.
When the same thing started happening to me, I fixed it by turning off the news and going "cold turkey." After a four-day news blackout, I felt like my buoyant self again. Now I ration my exposure. Please share this with your girlfriend because it's what I'm recommending for her.
DEAR ABBY: At a wedding, while shaking hands with a friend, I accidentally bumped another friend's wine glass, staining his $180 shirt. The stain is a small one, on the lower portion and not very noticeable. Now the man insists I pay for the shirt.
Is there an etiquette rule on this issue? I feel bad, but not bad enough that I think I should pay for such an expensive shirt. If you have the means to pay for a shirt that expensive, I don't believe you should expect others to replace it. -- CHRIS IN DENVER
DEAR CHRIS: Good manners dictate that you offer to pay for having the shirt cleaned. A good dry cleaner may be able to remove the stain, but it should be done as soon as possible. Anytime a person has a stained garment, it should be taken to a professional and what caused the stain identified so it can be removed. Trying to treat it yourself can make removal more difficult.
If the stain is permanent, then you should pay to replace the shirt. Ask yourself what's more important -- 180 bucks or your friendship?
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