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by Abigail Van Buren

Hair Salon Owner Is Weighed Down by Clients' Problems

DEAR ABBY: I own a hair salon and love my job. I make a determined effort not to bring my problems to work, to be positive and not gossip. Unfortunately, my clients don't always return the favor.

I understand people need a sounding board, but it's exhausting to hear about every ache, pain and bruise as well as other negative tidbits. How do I tactfully let these people know my shoulders are only so broad, and their complaints are wearing me down? -- PULLING MY HAIR OUT IN IDAHO

DEAR PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT: I urge you to resist the temptation. "Hairdresser as Confidant and Confessor" has been in existence since the cosmetology profession started. If your clients need to get something off their shoulders (besides their tresses), give them the gift of a willing ear. This is so important that in some communities hairdressers are being taught the signs of domestic abuse and where to refer the victims.

Read more in: Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics