DEAR HARRIETTE: I know a woman who is active in a multilevel marketing company. She hounds me to become part of her network, and I find it annoying. I like the woman enough, but I think I have to cut her out of my life because she doesn’t know how to just be a friend. She’s all about sales. I understand that we all have to work. I work, too. But in my downtime, I don’t want to be hustled. Is there anything I can say to her to get her to back off, or will I just be wasting my breath? -- Stop the Hard Sell, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR STOP THE HARD SELL: You should know that the training for many of these multilevel marketing firms pushes people to be persistent and to work to get others into their network. The woman in question is likely following the steps she has been taught and may not realize her behavior can seem off-putting and invasive. Chances are, she will continue to try to sell to you whenever she engages you. If you want to give it a try, you can speak to her and be blunt. Make it clear that you do not appreciate the constant sales pitch. Let her know that if you are to even try to become friends, you need her to back off. See if she is willing to make the effort. If not, stop including her in your activities.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to have a serious crush on this guy, but it didn’t work out. The timing was all wrong. That was about 10 years ago. We work in the same industry, and I recently saw him again. Turns out, he is working on a project I will be working on as well. He is excellent at what he does, so I know he will do a great job. My issue is that all of the feelings I had years ago flooded back in when I saw him. I felt like my heart was beating faster when I was in the room with him. I think this is crazy. I’m a grown woman, and this is a work situation. I don’t want to get caught up lusting for him and lose focus on the work. Plus, I’m too nervous to make any overture. Last time I really put my foot in my mouth. How should I handle this? -- Still Crushing, San Diego
DEAR STILL CRUSHING: Throw some cold water on your face and turn your attention to your work. You are an adult and a professional. Let your mature attributes outweigh your libido. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. The tug of the heart and loins is real. Keep yourself in check.
Do not flirt with this man. Do not dress up for him. Do not do any of the things you would naturally do when you are trying to draw attention to yourself. Stay laser focused on the job at hand. Be friendly, of course, but demonstrate you are a professional member of the team and it is your pleasure to work with him. The end.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)