My husband and I were friendly with a couple six years ago. The woman did some freelance public relations for the company where I worked, and I was in position to hire her.
We were occasionally invited to their home for dinners, where the guests were all involved in related businesses.
We reciprocated and invited them several times to our place.
Then the contact faded. She wasn’t that warm when I bumped into her a couple of times, but there’d been no incident between us. Only that I’d been promoted to another job that wasn’t involved in hiring her anymore.
My husband and I concluded that the “friendship” had been opportunistic.
Recently, I saw her at a social event. I hadn’t heard until recently that her husband had died, so I offered my condolences.
She was briefly hesitant, then warmed up and became talkative. Towards the end of the party, upon hearing that I was now working with another company, she started pitching a public relations bid to me. I was taken aback.
Do I treat this like any other pitch I might get, or pass on it, since I suspect it’ll lead down the same insincere path?
Be professional. Treat her pitch on its quality; knowing her work was acceptable in the past.
Don’t make assumptions about why she was distanced awhile. Perhaps her husband was ill for some time before he passed, preoccupying her.
Also, don’t judge her too harshly on having had a “business friendship” with you. A freelance career necessitates making and pursuing new contacts. The couple was hospitable to you and your husband several times, so they didn’t take advantage.
Have compassion. The full, sociable life with her late husband has undoubtedly changed somewhat.
You don’t have to become “friends” again, if you don’t choose. All she’s asking for is professional consideration of her work.
FEEDBACK Regarding the couple wondering if they should take in their son, who’s divorcing, and his kids (November 26):
Reader – “Please remember that it takes a village to raise a child.
“I’ve faced this situation, and I believe you oversimplified the issue. Grandparents care very much how a divorce will affect the children - changing schools, moving to another community, losing their sports affiliations, the clubs they attended, etc.
“Their adult child will also be impacted financially in a world with very little "wiggle room."
“He’ll be operating from a budget where once there were two incomes, to try to provide the same level of kids’ activities from two separate households.
“If he isn’t emotionally prepared to handle his own issues, plus keep a positive face for the children, he’ll need emotional support.
“I don’t have a “solution” for these particular grandparents. But I do know there are many factors and options for them to consider and the choice they make will not be easy.
“My decision was the correct one for our situation. Know that there’s a light at the end of any tunnel they choose.
“However, for awhile it’s a dark and sad place for everyone. But if they work together, the grandparents, their adult child, and his kids will eventually see light.
Very Involved Grandparents
Ellie - Divorcing adults and their children are lucky to have grandparents like you who provide wisdom, patience, and support.
Each family has different circumstances, so there’s no one solution for all. Other than the understanding and determination to help in whatever way is possible, that you describe.
Last month's events in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of a black youth, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, came up at a family gathering.
I volunteer with underprivileged youth and have opinions about the systems and circumstances that led to these events.
My liberal-leaning family revealed surprisingly blatant racist views. It’s severely affected me as I’m very passionate about my work. Is it possible to put this aside without feeling like a hypocrite?
You won’t forget it, but you can try to influence their attitudes.
There are levels of racism in many people, often out of ignorance or fear.
“Liberal-minded” people will also sometimes overweigh the particular circumstances or differing accounts of a case like this, and refuse to see the pattern of racism that’s threating young lives.
Perhaps you can describe to some relatives, individually, some of these patterns and how they’re perpetuated by people remaining blinkered to ongoing issues.
Tip of the day:
Friendships arise from many circumstances. When they fade, there are often reasons you don’t know.