July #AskGretchen: Politics, Bratty Kids, Single Again, Conflict at Work

#Ask Gretchen; Let's get real.Dear Gretchen: My boss is driving me crazy with his political opinions and it is starting to make things uncomfortable at work. He wants to know my thoughts on every political topic and gets really intense when talking about the news. He and I see things very differently. How do I put a stop to these unwanted conversations while keeping things copasetic on the work front? – Trumped, New Orleans, LA


Dear Trumped: During a political year with hot topics and tragic world-events, this can be especially difficult. With varying opinions, and intense emotions, it is best to steer clear of all political conversations while on the clock. Political issues are a private affair. Knowing the political view of someone else can create a bias and make for uncomfortable interactions. The next time your boss broaches the subject, let him know that you would rather not discuss your political views at work. If your boss continues with his rant, listen to what he has to say but avoid making comments of your own. It takes two people to have a political discussion. You can always change the subject by bringing up something related that’s less controversial and move the conversation away from politics all together. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: My friend’s daughter is a real stinker. She back talks constantly, and her mother never makes her listen. The child whines and cries and throws tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. It is obnoxious. My friend always gives in. Is there anything I should say to my friend about this? – Manners Matter, Orlando, FL

Dear Manners: It’s easy to judge a situation when you aren’t the parent and the one who is giving 24/7 care. If your friend hasn’t asked, it isn’t any of your business. Your well-intentioned comments could be met with defensiveness. When you are with your friend and one of these situations occurs, you can ask her if there is anything you can do to help or excuse yourself so that you aren’t involved. Giving unwelcome advice can be hurtful and damage a friendship. Parents struggle to figure out the “right way” to parent their children and can feel the unspoken judgment and criticism of others. A kind thing to do would be to ask your friend if you can give her a break so that she can go and do something nice for herself while you watch her daughter. Rest assured, your friend is as uncomfortable as you are with the public scenes and is doing her very best. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: What is the best way to resolve conflict in the workplace? – Adrienne S. Sherman Oaks, CA

Dear Adrienne: Schedule to have a conversation with the person that you are having a conflict with and let them know that you would like to clear the air. Be sure to prepare for the conversation by defining the real issue at hand and setting an objective. What is it that you want to accomplish? Be specific so that you do not get derailed during the meeting. During the conversation, take responsibility for your part and be sure to preserve the relationship by hearing the other person out. Even if you do not agree with them, it is important to honor their thoughts and feelings. Before ending the meeting, create joint action items that will help move you and the other party closer to your intended goal. Set a follow-up meeting to go over the results. Often, people are willing to get on your side if they know that you are committed to seeing things through and to share in the responsibility. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: How do I ease back into the dating world after years off? – Single Again in Burbank, CA

Dear Single: Entering the dating world can be scary. If you haven’t dated in a while, the pressure to find the right person and to make up for lost time can be overwhelming. Knowing what you want before jumping back in is important and will help you to attract the right kind of dating partner. For instance, do you want someone who only intends to date with no real end-game in mind? Do you want to get married? Are you just looking for someone to have dinner with? Whatever your answer is, honor it. The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to spot it when it comes your way. To find the kind of people who might be a good fit, go out to places that you enjoy and have a good time. Your natural sparkle will come out if you are truly enjoying yourself and will help you to attract the right kind of partner. Ask your friends to set you up with people who they think you will connect with and remember to keep an open mind. Take the pressure off of the date by remembering it is just another experience and may or may not lead to a marriage proposal. The most important thing to remember is to be true to yourself. Don’t ignore the red flags or your intuition. And don’t let fear keep you small. Have fun! – Gretchen

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