Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Man's Friend and Ex Do Not Get Along

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a guy best friend who has a daughter. Since the birth of his daughter five years ago, his daughter’s mother has never liked me. She thinks that he and I were involved, but that is not true. She has started arguments with him about me seeing his daughter and buying her things. I have never met the mother, but we have had a few conversations over social media. Some have been bad, and other times have been better.

One day, I got a phone call from him, saying that his daughter’s mother wanted me to come meet up with them. I just got the feeling that she wanted a violent encounter. I’m not that type of person, and my best friend knows this. It was weird that he would call me and put me in a situation with his daughter’s mother like that, especially since I really don’t know anything about her. The next day, he apologized and explained that they were arguing and she got the best of him, and he had made a bad decision by calling me. I told him, in the best interest of his daughter and my sanity, maybe we should stop hanging out and being friends. Maybe if we stop being friends, it is one less thing for them to argue about, especially if she is threatening to keep his daughter away from him if she thinks he will bring her around me. Honestly, I am sick and tired of her harassing me all these years. I just want to know if I made the right decision to let this friendship go. -- Had Enough

DEAR HAD ENOUGH: Your best friend should have introduced you and his child’s mother years ago and handled his business so that everyone could be clear about relationships and boundaries. She is not wrong to want to know who is spending time with her child. If your friend decides to fix this by establishing a more mature engagement among all three of you, great. If not, you are right to walk away.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I own a small business geared toward children and family fun. My business generates about a million dollars each year. I employ counselors, usually high school or college students and young adults. We have fewer than 10 staff members. I offer New York state’s minimum wage for a part-time position.

Though I understand that young adults I hire are eventually going to pursue a bigger career and goals, I’ve had an ongoing problem finding long-term, loyal employees. Staff members typically only stay with the company for three to four months before I have to hire another counselor to replace one that has put in their two-week notice. Staff members that do stay and make it to at least six months with us tend to slow down and stop working as hard as they did when they first began the job. Then discussions begin about pay raises, but in my understanding, most jobs offer that after being with the company for a full year. What are your suggestions on keeping staff long-term, how to deal with burnouts, and employees' feelings of deserving more the longer they are with our company? -- Want Loyal Employees

DEAR WANT LOYAL EMPLOYEES: You may want to change your policy and offer pay raises at different increments, based on the rhythm of your previous employees. Consider creating performance raises -- even if they are small -- that will show your employees that you value them. Evaluate your experience over time and adjust your compensation practices to inspire retention.

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