Dear Annie: I need some advice on handling gossips.
There is a woman in my building who goes around gossiping all day. Needless to say, half of what she tells people is untrue. Everyone knows her and what she is like, but I recently had an encounter with her that ended in a shouting match. Now I am her main topic of conversation.
So far, I’ve been ignoring her, hoping her fascination with my life will wear off. Is there any way to get her to stop? – No Gossip For Me
Dear No: Since everyone knows this woman is a gossip and a fabricator, ignoring her is the best way to deal with it. If she gets a rise out of you, it garners her some attention. It is important, however, that you do this in a very offhanded manner. Don’t be upset or brusque. Pretend it doesn’t bother you in the least.
Dear Annie: I was amused by “Cover Up and Learn’s” reluctance to tell her students to “button up.” I also teach at a post-secondary institution, and we have seen many young women who are busting out all over, including some wearing pants that are extremely tight and low enough to show a long streak of naked behind.
Our staff decided to approach the issue with firmness and humor. At the beginning of the year, we pointed out that their education is a steppingstone to getting a job, and that part of being in the work environment is learning to dress in a manner that does not distract others. We requested that students dress in a manner that is respectful, including putting sweaters over crude T-shirts.
Frankly, some of our students had never considered the concept before. They were quite respectful when we pointed out the other side of the issue. – S.K. in Canada
Dear S.K.: Explaining instead of criticizing is always useful, and sometimes humor gets the point across where other attempts fail. Thanks for saying so.
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