Dear Annie: I work in an office with nine other people. For some reason, my boss likes to share every boring detail of her personal life with us. We smile, listen politely and laugh at her "hilarious" anecdotes. This might be bearable if she showed any interest in our lives, but she doesn't. Occasionally, with one foot out the door, she will ask, "How are you doing?" but it's obvious she wants a quick answer at most. If she joins a conversation already in progress, she takes over and seems compelled to top whoever is speaking. She always has a bigger, better, funnier or more dramatic story, at least in her mind.
Why does she do this? She is bright, talented and accomplished in many aspects of life. Why the need to be the star? She constantly has to send the message: "My life is exciting, your life is nothing."
I hope people will read this and ask themselves how much time they spend talking about themselves compared to how much time they spend listening to others. Is there anything we can do to change this? — Arizona
Dear Arizona: Your boss, like many outwardly successful people, still harbors deep insecurities. This is why she feels the need to prove that she is the most important and interesting person in the room. And because she is so focused on her own behavior, she has few brain cells left to devote to her staff's personal lives, nor, frankly, does she need to. Your personal lives are not her business. But she is still your employer and if this is the worst thing she does, we'd put up with it. You are handling it perfectly - you smile, listen politely and laugh when called for. It's annoying, but harmless. Just try not to roll your eyes.
Dear Annie: In general, I agree that a guest should not put a bride or groom "on the spot" by asking to bring a date. But I'd like to mention a time when it worked.
My partner and his daughter had been estranged for many years. One of the best things to happen was when his daughter's fiance, a wonderful man, facilitated a reconciliation. Part of the reconciliation was an invitation to their wedding.
After receiving the invitation, we had dinner with the fiance. We felt we had
little choice but to confirm that, as the father's partner, I was included in the invitation because my name was not on it. The fiance said yes. We'll never know if that was simply his decision at the time, but had I not also been welcome, it would have undone all the work of reconciliation.
I attended with my partner, everyone was delightful, and a great, celebratory time was had by all. — A North Carolina Gay Partner
Dear N.C.: Your situation is not the same as someone asking to bring a "plus one." Established partners should always be included in such invitations. Nor was your partner asking to bring you. He was only clarifying the situation, which is perfectly fine. That fiance sounds like a gem. We are so glad he helped reconcile father and daughter, and that you are both welcome members of the family.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.