Optimist finds it difficult to work with worrywart
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DEAR HARRIETTE by Harriette Cole
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am working on a project with a woman who is what my mom used to call a worrywart. No matter what is happening, she is constantly looking for the dark cloud. I am the exact opposite. I gravi- tate toward good news. I like to surround myself with people who are positive as well, so this relationship is hard for me. Just as things are looking great and our project is doing well, I can count on this woman to find a flaw. How can I either get her to see the other side or stop complaining to me? — Optimistic
DEAR OPTIMISTIC: Try this: When your co-worker starts complaining, suggest that she puzzle it out on paper. Encourage her to write down her concerns and map out a plan to solve them. Be her cheerleader, pointing out that she is great at finding problems before they get too big. Rather than taking the time to talk about it, redirect her to pen and paper (or computer), where she can figure out a solution to whatever is troubling her about the project and move forward with fixing it. You can also recommend that she speak to other colleagues who seem better able to welcome her negative comments.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been going through old papers, and I just came across a lovely note that my next-door neighbor from home wrote to me when I was little. She is long gone, but I had the thought that her adult daughter might appreciate seeing it. In the note, she wrote nice things about me and my potential for the future. She also said how happy she was that I was close to her family, including her daughter. These people were pretty quiet and didn’t have many friends, but I used to visit them a lot when I was a kid. I haven’t talked to the daughter since we were young, though. Do you think it would be OK to make a copy of the letter and send it to her? — Fond Memories
DEAR FOND MEMORIES: It seems like a thoughtful thing for you to do to send your friend’s daughter a copy of the letter, especially since it is uplifting and mentions her. Of course, you should attach your own per- sonal note sharing how you came upon the letter, along with a memory of your own of the times you used to spend together. Tell her a bit about your life and ask her about her own.
This may be a spark to ignite an acquaintance with the daughter. It doesn’t mean you have to become close friends, but it might be nice for both of you to communicate a bit with each other. Isn’t it interesting what a bit of cleaning can do for your life?
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.