Dear Annie: I've been employed for two months at a large retail outlet and have gotten to know many of the people who work there.
“Amanda” is in the food section, and I am in the clothing department. I'm a straight woman, and she is bisexual. Two weeks ago, the two of us went out to dinner for her birthday. Since then, I have developed strong feelings for her.
I asked Amanda to dinner the other night, and she turned me down, saying she had plans. Yesterday, another co-worker told me she saw Amanda having lunch with a woman who works in the automotive section. The co-worker said the two of them were very touchy.
This made me really jealous and sad. Should I tell Amanda I have feelings for her? If so, how do I do that?
Confused and Maybe in Love
Dear Confused: There are different types of jealousy. Amanda seems to be a popular girl. If you consider yourself to be straight, you should examine whether your jealousy is romantic in nature or whether it's the type that female friends develop when one of them picks a different “best friend.” If you want a romantic relationship, let Amanda know by asking her again to lunch, dinner, a movie or other entertainment outside of work. If she is repeatedly “busy,” it means she is not interested.
Dear Annie: I hope it's not too late to comment on the letter from “Can't Believe Adults Act This Way,” whose daughter, a teacher, was being bullied by her co-workers. This happened to me when I was younger.
One day, one member of that group gave me some advice. She said, “Play dumb and pretend you don't know they are talking about you. Always be pleasant, say 'hello' and 'good morning' to everyone, even when they do not respond. Join them in the lounge. Make a pleasant general comment, and then turn to your magazine or whatever you have to do. Always have something to occupy your time.
If you have to ask anyone a question about work, ask it in the lounge in the presence of everyone. If they make a nasty comment, just brush it off and pretend that you didn't realize it was nasty. When you really need a breather, occasionally go off on your own, but don't make it obvious.”
This may not appeal to everyone in such a position, but it worked for me. It was terribly hard for the first few months, and then it became a routine. Eventually, the ringleader asked me where I was when I didn't come into the lounge the day before. After that, I was completely accepted by the group.
I have lived by that rule ever since and have passed it on to my children. One cannot fight with someone who will not fight. You keep your dignity and, gain their respect. It works in school, at the workplace and even with your own family.
Yvonne from Montreal
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org