Short Answers: Silence can be an answer, too

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Dear Short Answers >> Totally out of the blue, one of my oldest friends stopped talking to me and I have no idea why. I've asked her and she always says "nothing" but in that tone of voice that really means "something but I'm not telling you." We are both adults. Do I just hope that time will heal this? Or do I send her flowers with a generic "I'm sorry about something" note? I don't want to lose this friendship, but I don't want to grovel either.

— Shut Out

DEAR SHUT OUT >> Write your friend a note telling your friend that you value the relationship. Say that you would be happy to discuss whatever is bothering them. No response is an answer and don't pursue it further.

Measuring up

Dear Short Answers >> I've always liked really tall guys, but I think I'm falling in love with a guy who is even shorter than I am. Is it possible to change one's taste in men? Or do you think this is just a short guy phase that I will grow out of? I don't want to invest too much time and energy if it's just a passing fancy.

— Shortie, Too

DEAR SHORTIE >> You love who you love. A checklist of criteria for selecting a partner sounds like a good idea but your heart doesn't always listen. Go with your feelings.

Blame Julia

Dear Short Answers >> When throwing a dinner party, how much do I really have to pay attention to everyone's dietary restrictions? Between the gluten-free people, the dairy-free people, the fat-free people, the salt-free people, the sugar-free people, the vegetarians and the vegans, I don't know what to cook anymore — steamed vegetables? What's the answer?

— Not Going to Cooking Class

DEAR NOT GOING >> Your responsibility as a host is to provide a warm and welcoming environment, which generally includes some edible sustenance as well. We don't know when it became about the food but most of our friends who have specific food preferences know how to make a meal of it by eating some part of whatever is served — and do so happily.

Probably Nunja

Dear Short Answers >> I work for a small company that employs about 20 people. We just interviewed a young woman for a job in accounting. I happen to know that she is dating (i.e., sleeping with) one of the senior people in the office. Should I divulge this information to other people before we offer her a job? The man in question is single by the way.

— Just Wondering

DEAR JW >> Although we understand that in-office romance especially in a small office has the potential to get dicey, these things happen. You could ask the senior guy what he thinks. He is the one who is potentially most exposed.

One life, many options

Dear Short Answers >> I am almost 60 and wondering if I should retire. How much money is enough?

— Howie

DEAR HOWIE >> There are many financial planning tools available online which will help you arrive at a numerical answer. However, we approach the problem another way. The amount of money you have is what you have. Now plan the rest of your life and figure out what needs to change.

Life is complicated. Short Answers isn't.


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