DEAR NATALIE: I keep running into an ex’s mom around town. My ex moved years ago, and we are not in contact – I have no interest in a relationship with him. I didn’t spend a ton of time with his mom, but whenever I did, it was always really pleasant. I know that we have a lot of similar interests. We keep seeing each other at the coffee shop, on walks – and while we always say hi — we never chat for long. I’m wondering if it would be weird for me to ask if she wanted to have a coffee some time? I can’t explain why, but it just feels like it would be nice to create this connection. I wouldn’t want to put her in a weird position by asking, but I trust her to say no if she thinks it is weird. Is that totally inappropriate? – HANG WITH HIS MOM
DEAR HANG WITH HIS MOM: As long as there isn’t some underlying desire to get back with her son that you’re not admitting to yourself, I don’t see the harm in asking her to catch up over a coffee or take a walk through a park. (Cue the backlash in my comments.) People can be cynical. I choose not to live that way. If you want to just reconnect, why not ask? The worst thing that will happen is she declines an invitation. Great, then move on with your day. And if she doesn’t? Maybe you’ll both get a pick-me-up during these long winter months by reconnecting and having a few laughs. I don’t see any harm in it as long as the intention is just to hang out with her and not gather intel on your ex.
DEAR NATALIE: Since I’ve started at my workplace, it seems a bit of a “boys’ club” has developed. The team is growing – with mostly male hires. The CEO is a man. My supervisor, who is a woman, told me that he recently bought a cell phone for one of our team members – a man – who he is really friendly with. All of our jobs require cell phones, so I’m a bit confused about how this happened. I spent my own money buying a new laptop and new cell phone this year, but if I had known it was on the table to ask him to help finance this, I would have. I don’t want to be rude, but is it fair for him to buy just one employee a cell phone? Maybe it’s because of this “club” energy, or maybe he has extenuating circumstances that I’m unaware of. Maybe it’s not even any of my business. In any case, should I bring it to my boss’s attention? – WOULD LIKE A NEW CELL PHONE
DEAR WOULD LIKE A NEW CELL PHONE: This is tricky because you don’t know the circumstances around the cell phone situation. If you can get any more information out of your supervisor, I would try that first. See if she knows if there was a particular reason he went out of his way to gift a cell phone to just one employee. If you can’t get any information from her, I would ask your HR department if it’s something that all the employees should be expecting? Is this part of a bonus? Is this a strategy where top performers are receiving electronic gifts? I would have to do some digging because if not – then this is weird. If the boss is playing favorites, you should at least know what you are dealing with. Ask yourself: Is it worth staying or is it time to brush off that resume and look for something better – and more equitable.
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