Dear Annie: I've had the same woman, "Veronica," doing my hair for several years now. She also does my pedicures and massages. I love her shop and all of her co-workers, but I've never been very happy with how she cuts and colors my hair.
It usually takes a week or more to get my hair back to how I like it after each appointment. I've talked with her about it, but nothing has changed. When Veronica was out having surgery, "Kirsten," one of her employees, did my hair, and I liked it a lot better. I want to start having Kirsten do my hair, but Veronica is very sensitive and tends to get defensive. Any suggestions? — Hairy Situation
Dear Hairy Situation: I know that it's the easiest advice to give and the hardest advice to follow, but I'll say it anyway. Be honest. Stay positive yet truthful. Make the focus how much you liked how Kirsten did your hair, rather than the fact that you don't like how Veronica does it. Tell her how much you love her pedicures and massages and would like to keep seeing her for those.
If you feel too bad to speak up, try this useful thought experiment: If you were in her shoes and a customer expressed all that to you, would you be angry? It's your hair. Anyone less than the best won't cut it.
Dear Annie: I recently saw a letter to you about workplace body odor. Years ago, we had a similar situation. We had to work in very close quarters, and one person who worked the very early morning shift had a real problem. Everyone talked about how awful it was; however, nobody did anything but jabber about it. Feeling bad for that person, I went into the small room, asked the person whether they knew that we were friends and all, and got a "Yes, of course, why?" I politely said, "Your day has lasted longer than your deodorant," and presented that person a salt crystal deodorant to try. There was never a problem after that! — Compassionate Sniffer
Dear Compassionate Sniffer: Kudos for resolving an awkward situation using empathy and generosity.
Dear Annie: I would like to add some advice for the 95-year-old man, "Lonely," who has been lonely since his wife died. As someone who has lost a loved one, I can understand how he feels. A support group is helpful and a possible place to meet people, but not people who are ready for a relationship. I wasn't ready for a while and had turned down dates for a long time. I had a friend who encouraged me to join a running/walking club after my loss, and it was the best thing I have ever done. I was not a fast runner, so at first I was hesitant. But after I joined, I realized that no one cared how fast I was. Everyone was friendly, supportive and encouraging. To this day my friends are people from the Manasota Track Club. In fact, that is how I met my current husband. We met on a New Year's Day morning run on the beach.
I recommend he join a club that interests him. In our club, there are people in their 80s and 90s who walk, and even some who run. Walking with people not only improves your cardiovascular health but also benefits your emotional health. You feel better after walking or running with good friends. And it gets you out of the house! — Betsie
Dear Betsie: That last point alone is reason enough to get involved with an organization of some kind. Thank you for sharing how picking up a simple hobby can be invigorating, even life-changing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]