Deal with it
As long as there are relationships, there will be challenges. Here’s how to handle a few of ‘em.
Values are a part of you
Scenario: You’ve always taught your daughter to be open-minded and respectful of other races, religions and lifestyles. She calls home after her first semester in college to announce that her new boyfriend practices a religion that is vastly different from yours. She’s been attending services with him, meeting other members and learning the teachings. She says she wants to learn more. While you sent her to college to broaden her horizons, you worry that she seems to be turning her back on her family’s long-held beliefs.
What would Rockford Woman do?
Solution: “For me, you take a little bit of an ego hit,” says the Rev. Colleen McDonald, minister of religious education at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, who speaks from experience. That scenario may play out more often in Unitarian families, she says.
“We don’t have a church on every corner,” she says. “We do teach respect for all religions.”
Even if your daughter isn’t participating in the church in which she was raised, it continues to have an effect on her, McDonald says.
“For us, religion is the way you live your life,” she says. “You don’t give up your religious values.”
Ultimately, she says, you try to look at the big picture.
“I think it’s a positive thing to be interested in any kind of organized religion, to be a part of a community,” she says. “So you support it.”
Motivation means a lot
Scenario: “I am 30 years old. I work part-time for a staffing company. My supervisor is the greatest! After about six months, she was giving me her shoes — I mean, somewhat expensive shoes that she couldn’t fit into because she was losing weight. I’d ask if she wanted any money for them but she didn’t. She would share her fruit with me in the morning. She is so nice, she even told me that she wishes I was her sister or sister-in-law.”
The problem? “How do I tell my supervisor that I love it here, but I have to — and want to — go live somewhere else?”
— M.B., Loves Park
Solution: “Only you know your boss’s intentions and can determine the best way to handle this,” says Sue Salvi Buckwalter, a consultant with HR Concepts Inc.
If the boss’ generosity has been positively motivated, chances are she’ll want to support your goals, Buckwalter says, especially if you need full-time work or a position better suited to your experience or education.
“Let her know your aspirations beforehand,” she advises, “so she’s not surprised and left feeling out in the cold. She might be able to assist you with this new venture.”
On the other hand, if the supervisor is trying to buy friendship, that’s unhealthy.
“You should move on when the opportunity presents itself,” she says. “In that case, informing her of your goals in advance could create ill will.”
And remember to give at least two weeks’ notice.
Accept gifts graciously
Scenario: You decide to try to shed some of the extra pounds that have mysteriously crept on during the holidays. You mention this to your significant other, who says he’d like to join the effort and lose a little, too. But the next week finds him bringing home ice cream, stopping for doughnuts and surprising you with a box of your favorite chocolates. Not only is he not helping, he seems to be sabotaging your diet efforts.
What would Rockford Woman do?
Solution: “I would NEVER discourage my husband or boyfriend from giving me gifts,” says Paula Chilson, who works in health foods. “Everything’s good – in moderation.”
When her boyfriend indulges her with sweets, she likes to share them with family members.
Or she might suggest taking a walk together and sharing a small treat afterward.
“Split it with him,” she says. “Let him feel special, too.”
Finally, it’s OK to offer constructive suggestions.
“Tell him he could buy organic chocolate,” she says.
Have you faced a challenging or awkward situation? Let Rockford Woman ask the experts how they’d handle it. Send your scenario to email@example.com or Rockford Woman, 99 E. State St., Rockford IL 61104.