DEAR ABBY: I work in an office with many other women. Over the years, the happier in life I have become, the more jealous and petty these women have become toward me.
Abby, I come to work on time, do my job, try to be pleasant to everyone and go home. I adore my bosses, and I cannot understand the serpent's tongues of my co-workers.
Another woman in the office has mentioned the meanness of some of the people we work with, so it isn't just my own perceptions. I am not a confrontational person and I do not wish to return ugliness for ugliness, so I don't know how to defend myself against these sharp-tongued women. Sometimes the nastiness is very subtle -- it can be a smirk or the tone of voice -- and there isn't any obvious thing to address.
My job pays extremely well and I have been here for many years. I have many benefits and prefer not to leave. Have you any suggestions? -- "LOIS" IN SANTA ANA, CALIF.
DEAR "LOIS": Yes. Keep your private life completely separate from your professional life. Give these women nothing to fuel their jealousy. When something good happens to you, do not discuss it at the office. Be pleasant, but restrict your conversation to subjects that are work-related only. If you do this, they will have to find someone else to be the target of their sniping.