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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a man who has many more female friends than male. In the past, my friends have never been an issue for me — or for anyone I’ve dated. I am currently in a relationship with someone who isn’t very fond of the fact that I have so many female friends. I can’t tell if her disdain for my friends is legitimate, or if I’m just dating someone who is too insecure for me. The irony is that I asked my female friends about this, and they agreed that they would be uncomfortable dating someone with so many friends of the opposite sex. What am I supposed to do? Should I distance myself from my friends in order to make this person more comfortable, or is this relationship destined to fail? — Tough Decision
DEAR TOUGH DECISION: You have a couple of options here. For starters, invite your girlfriend to hang out with you and your friends, either in a group setting or in different curated moments when you create space where they can comfortably talk and get to know each other. Welcome your girlfriend into your friend group so that she feels accepted and unthreatened by them. Let her know that these are your close friends, and you want her to get to know them.
You may also want to evaluate your friendships to see who deserves to remain in your inner circle and who does not. Often, when people get in serious relationships, they turn away from some of their friends, especially those who are interested only in the single life and are not in sync with the life the new couple is building. Take stock of your friend inventory to evaluate who gets to stay and who has to go. If you want to give this relationship a chance to survive and thrive, talk to your girlfriend about all of this so that she knows your intentions and the actions you are taking to make her comfortable.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My manager is usually very kind to me. I have started to notice a trend of her being less kind to me when our supervisors are around. When the supervisors come to our store, my manager will speak to me with a condescending tone. She will write me up for things that she wouldn’t usually write me up for and will even criticize the way that I work in front of everyone. I’m not sure why she does this. I don’t think it’s right, and I don’t think I deserve that. Should I confront her about this? — Rude Manager
DEAR RUDE MANAGER: Request a meeting with your manager after the supervisors are gone. Tell her what you have noticed, how uncomfortable it makes you and how unfair it seems to be. Ask her if she has issues with your job performance, and if so, what they are. Ask her to teach you how to improve in whatever areas she mentions. Continue by asking her what you can do to support her when the supervisors come so that they are pleased with the visit. Suggest that if you make a plan together, it may be easier for everyone to be at ease.