Dear Annie: I work in a large organization and know my colleagues quite well. Though I enjoy working with them, a number of them recently have begun borrowing cash from me. These are usually requests for small amounts to cover the cost of lunch or coffee. Not a single one of them has ever voluntarily repaid me. When I ask, the person inevitably looks surprised, smacks his or her forehead and says, “Sorry, I forgot,” before handing over the money.
It’s not that I don’t want to be helpful and collegial, but I have come to realize that if I don’t pursue those in my debt, I’ll never get the money back. I can’t help thinking that in some way, I’m encouraging irresponsible behavior.
Is there a professionally appropriate way of saying no the next time I’m asked for cash? – California Casey
Dear California: You have apparently been tagged as an “easy mark” in your office. It’s perfectly OK to say pleasantly and politely, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t loan you the cash today.” You don’t have to give a reason. If you say it often enough, they will assume you don’t carry that much money any longer or that you aren’t willing to part with it.
Dear Annie: “Thwarted” was right on the money. Women my age are definitely in a “trapped” situation. We did everything the good girls were supposed to do. But men are looking for someone in their 20s who will take care of their every dream. Their trophy wives will inherit the bulk of the assets that women like “Thwarted” enabled their husbands to acquire – everything from education to taking care of them and their mothers.
It sounds lovely and glib to say just go out there and volunteer, get involved in activities and churches, and hopefully meet other women who are in the same place. But what about the men? The majority are looking for a nurse and a purse once their libidos and bodies start to wane. – 62 Married to a 75-Year-Old with No Reciprocity in Sight