Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Grumbles About Rumbling Stomach

DEAR HARRIETTE: Like everyone on the planet, my stomach makes itself known by rumbling if I have missed a meal. I know this is normal; however, my stomach frequently rumbles at work. Sometimes I am hungry, other times I guess I am just digesting. Regardless, I know it is loud enough to be heard in meetings and in the office because heads turn. Should I apologize? I know to excuse myself if I burp, but I am unsure what is polite in this circumstance. -- Rumbly Grumbly, Cincinnati

DEAR RUMBLY GRUMBLY: Not eating enough or not eating consistently is likely the culprit of your rumbly belly. One way that you can help your body and quiet your belly is to keep snacks with you and nibble on something every 20 minutes or so. Dried fruit, a piece of fresh fruit, a few crackers -- things like that should keep energy in your body and help you to stay somewhat satiated. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal is filling and healthy as one excellent option. Another good decision would be to drink more water. If you drink water consistently throughout the day, your system will stay hydrated, which can also help to keep the gas down in your body. You may also want to get a complete physical to rule out any digestive problems that might need medical treatment.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am opening a company that has a showroom. Because of the environment I want to present to customers, the company has split into visuals (like materials, furniture and presentation) and finance. I think this is a good setup; however, "Rebecca," a woman on the finance team, has been giving her opinion on everything. Her job is to focus on price tags, not tell me which paint and chair colors she prefers. As an accountant, she should know to care only about numbers, but I can't seem to steer her away from sticking her nose in the design team's business. I don't want to offend her, but I need to get Rebecca out of my hair. -- Nosy Nosy, Racine, Wisconsin

DEAR NOSY NOSY: Use strategy here so that you keep everybody on the same team even as people need to settle into their roles. In start-ups, it is not uncommon for everyone who's part of the company to believe that their input is necessary and important for the positive outcome of the company. It would be wise for you to make sure that Rebecca continues to feel appreciated, even as you let her know that you have your role under control.

Thank Rebecca for being so excited about the showroom. Tell her that it will be easier for you to do your job if you can concentrate on your area of expertise without her input, no matter how helpful she may think she is being. Ask her to help you and the team by staying in her lane and making sure that she has all of her particulars covered so that when the showroom opens, everything will be ready.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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