Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I have begun to get weird friend requests on Facebook that I think are kind of creepy. I keep my communication there on the up-and-up, but I just got about 10 requests from women who are dressed like hookers. Well, that could be an exaggeration. One had on only a bra. Another had a close-up breast shot. Others are holding onto poles and stuff. Really gross.

I have no idea why these people are trying to friend me, but I find it disgusting. What can I do? Is this considered spam? -- Grossed Out, Shreveport, La.

DEAR GROSSED OUT: You may have accepted a friend request from someone who was friends with one or more of these people. Often that precipitates a stream of requests from unknown people.

What's great about Facebook is that you absolutely do not have to accept any of these people as friends. You can say "no" to them when they request friendship and delete their requests.

I'm sorry that you have to even see their photos. You can write to Facebook and report someone you believe is behaving inappropriately. In this case, though, it seems that simply not friending them is enough. How they choose to dress may not be to your liking, but although what you described is perhaps in bad taste, it is not illegal.

DEAR HARRIETTE: The woman who sits at a cubicle across from me is unhygienic, in my opinion. She picks her nose and then uses the telephone without ever cleaning her hands or the instrument. She picks her teeth and leaves her used dental floss on her desk. Then she wants to come into my space and touch things. I don't want her hands on anything that I touch. Even when she goes to the bathroom, at least when I have been in there with her, she doesn't wash her hands. Who can imagine that kind of behavior in these days and times?

What can I say to her that won't seem rude but lets her know she can't cross the invisible line of my area unless she cleans herself up? -- Cleanliness Crusader, Jacksonville, Fla.

DEAR CLEANLINESS CRUSADER: You have to state the obvious; otherwise, your office mate will never pick up on your cues. For whatever reason, she doesn't realize her behavior is unhygienic. She is oblivious to how her actions can make the environment unsafe for others.

When no one else is around, tell her that you have noticed things she does that concern you. Run down the list. Tell her that especially now, during flu season, you do not want to catch any illnesses. Implore her to clean up her desk area, sanitize it and wash her hands when she uses the restroom.

She will likely be embarrassed and even angry, but at least you will have said it. If she does not comply, ask her to stay out of your work area. You may have to remind her from time to time.