S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate Plus membership. Dear Prudence Dear Prudence Gifford 0 prudence dear put putting the approval here. Is.
S2: Think that I should contact him again. Oh how. Thank you. Thank you.
S3: Hello and welcome back to the Dear Prudence show once again. And as always I am your host. Daniel Mallory ort Berg also known as Dear Prudence. With me in the studio this week is a mirror else I had a German slash Egyptian Londoner who advises organizations around the world on how they can have a positive social impact. A mirror welcome. Thank you so much.
S4: Thank you so much. I truly truly hope that every organization can have a positive social impact. I’m thinking of a handful where I’m wondering if maybe they can’t. But that’s not our business today our business today is not to advise organizations but to advise individuals about how to live. In slightly less painful ways if that’s possible.
S5: Slightly less if it’s possible yes.
S6: Some days we have big ambitions. I think today my goal at least is going to be just slightly less painful if we can get through this and I feel like everyone will be in a little bit less pain at the end. I will be happy I will be satisfied.
S7: Yes same here and I mean some of those are pretty painful.
S6: Yes. So speaking of which our first letter is a little long and involved so I’m going to take a crack at it. I don’t want to throw you into the deep end right away. I will let you catch your breath. Get used to everything that’s going on around here. But the subject is overheard hairdressers cruelty Dear Prudence I was recently the man of honor in my very close female friends wedding party. The wedding itself was really beautiful and fun. But there’s one thing that’s been bothering me ever since and I’m not sure how to handle it. At one point I was in a hallway just ahead of the wedding hairdresser and her assistant. They had only just arrived and hadn’t met anyone yet. I overheard the hairdresser complaining to her assistant. I hurt my arm yesterday working on a fat person. I fucking hate working on fat people. Prudie my friend is a beautiful and confident woman but her biggest insecurity has long been her weight. I immediately confronted the hairdresser to let her know who I was that her comments were out of line that she’d better not say anything like that in front of my friend and remind her that she’s a professional who’s been hired to do a job. Her response was dismissive and rude. But when she did everyone’s hair she behaved well enough with only a few side eye glances at me towards the afternoon. Of course I didn’t say a word that day to my friend. My question now is whether I should say anything to her at all. My instinct is to say nothing. I can’t see any good that will come out of telling her what I heard. I thought a better plan of action might be to contact the management at the salon where she works and or to post some reviews publicly. This feels a bit petty to me however and there’s certainly a good chance that I’ll make it back to my friend because this woman is friends with my friend’s mother in law. I certainly don’t want to put my friend in a difficult position with her new family no matter how I think about it. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’ll be wrong to do nothing but that trying to do something about it might blow up in my face. What say you. I think you just want to start by thinking this letter writer like you did some good man of honor. Action on that day.
S8: Yeah. And I mean you say that you’re worried to do nothing but you haven’t done nothing you have done something and you’ve been a really good friend to your to the bride and have you know in the moment reacted and responded and called the the hairdresser out.
S9: And yeah I commend you for that as well.
S3: Yeah. Yeah. If you’re worried that like if I don’t take it further I’ve done nothing. I don’t think that that’s true. I can understand weighing whether or not you want to take it further especially because she kind of made it clear when you said that to her like fine. I won’t say anything else but I think you’re being unreasonable and I think this is ridiculous and I’m not sort of like nonverbally communicate to you throughout the day that I think what I said was fine and that you’re a killjoy or a spoilsport or something. So I can understand why there’s that part of you that’s like. Was that sufficient intervention. But I think if you decided to leave it at that to not let your friend know what had happened. You have successfully and lovingly addressed this situation as much as you need to.
S9: Yeah absolutely and and also really I mean to be honest I almost wouldn’t make this about your friend’s weight or her insecurities around this because that comment is just offensive by itself. Even if the bride you know it is doesn’t have issues around her weight. And so I think you’re right. You were right to be upset about this you’re totally right to say what you did and I agree with you Danny that if you decided not to do anything anymore that that would be fine. However if you did decide to do something I think you know you’re sort of laying out the different options you might want to you know write some reviews publicly or reach out to the manager and I can see the struggle there in like writing something publicly that then will come back to your friend that might cause some issues with her new family. And so I would probably not do that if I were you however I think if you do feel like you want to do more you can always complain to the company or to management and you know not make it about your friend or her weight but just about the fact that you found these comments offensive and insensitive.
S3: Yeah I would come down on terms of the public reviews like I do think that if it sounds like it might be a potentially small community like if the hairdresser is a friend of the mother in law and I just think you know since there’s there’s a number of ways in which it could potentially get back to the bride that way. I do think erring on the side of making sure she doesn’t hear about it because that would hurt her deeply is a good one so I probably would not do the public review. You know you could call management usually with salons especially people who like go out and do big events. It’s sort of like like they have a contract to have a chair at the salon it’s not exactly like your direct boss. It’s more like a client contract agreement. So I don’t think she would necessarily be in trouble of being fired or anything but you could certainly call and say like hey I’m worried that you know if I were to ever hire somebody from your salon for an event that they might show up and say things like this and I would just love to know if you ever talk to your hairdressers about this sort of thing or if you have any sort of professional standards of behavior. Yeah I don’t know. I’m on the fence about that. I think you can.
S4: I think it’s unlikely that that will go much further I think he did good.
S9: Yeah I completely agree. I also I also don’t think that it would necessarily go much further. But at the same time I recognize that you seem to still be sort of struggling with it. You know as if that will give you some sort of closure to say OK I’ve done the thing in the moment and then I’ve done the formal thing and spoken you know called somebody and said please make sure that weddings are a place of joy and happiness and love and not you know offensiveness. Then why not if it if it makes you feel better and gives you some closure as well.
S3: Yeah I think you handled it great in the moment. I’m so glad your friend was able to go through with her wedding day and did not have a sense of what was going on and the only other thing I might worry about is if you thought she was likely to use that hairdresser again for a future of what you might want to consider saying something again. But yeah I think you handled it about as much as you need to. Totally huh. All right. And again just I’m happy that your friend has you in her corner. That’s really important. And what she said was just horrible and so unnecessary and just ridiculous.
S10: Yeah. And also I mean how do you hurt your arm like this.
S11: I mean that was.
S4: If you hurt your arm like curling or cutting someone’s hair. Yeah. There were many reasons that I found that statement ridiculous that was absolutely one of them. But I don’t want to get bogged down too much in our very first letter because we have a lot to get through today. Would you be so good as to read the second letter.
S12: Of course the subject line is award points etiquette Dear Prudence two friends from college and I have decided to take a girls trip just the three of us away from kids. We haven’t seen each other in years and we’re going to spend a weekend in Phoenix relaxing and catching up. My friend’s husband offered to reserve the hotel room for us on the points he has accumulated traveling for work. What a generous offer. Now that the room is booked the same friend has told us to buy her meals and a spa treatment in return for the points that are being used for this room. I would rather have just paid my share for the room. Do I have to buy my friend these meals and spa treatments.
S14: So that’s just so ridiculous and transparent. And the only reason she thinks she’s going to be able to get away with it is if everyone feels too uncomfortable to say this is ridiculous. But you just need to say this is ridiculous.
S10: Yeah you absolutely do not have to buy these meals and spa treatments. And I suspect I mean you haven’t seen each other in a long time. And if she hadn’t asked then you might have considered doing something nice because you know these points are worth money. You acknowledge the offer was generous but this isn’t something you’ve agreed to beforehand. So this is such a weird ridiculous and unreasonable expectation. So no you don’t.
S3: Yeah. And the way to say that I think is just like hey there was such a lovely suggestion to offer the points had I realized that you wanted to use it to negotiate a different kind of arrangement. I would have said no and just gone slots on the room.
S4: So knowing that then you can kind of propose to her two other options one is like do you want to rebook or I’m happy to get my own room and just pay for that. And and you can enjoy that room all see yourself. But no you do not need to buy her all her meals and a spa treatment because her husband already had points from work travel that is very silly.
S10: But I mean yeah I mean I completely agree but I also think you haven’t seen each other in years and you do have that trip planned and you surely do want to have a lot of fun. So maybe there is a way to say this you know in a way that’s sort of loving and that you know it still makes everybody look forward to that trip.
S4: Oh absolutely. You could cheerfully say no I’m not going to do that but I’m really looking forward to seeing you. I think I think you’re right. People worry people worry that like saying no to a friend means saying like no. And like you’re a terrible person and I hate you. Or like this is a really big deal. But you could just say like No that’s not an arrangement that I would have agreed to if I’d known about it. So no. Yeah. I there’s I can’t remember now if we have it in the podcast. There’s a letter I got from someone this week where they were worried because they had recently taken a trip with a friend and stayed at a relative’s house for free for a couple of nights. And then after the trip was over they had said oh we should write a thank you note or send a little gift and our friend had said yes. I was thinking something in the neighborhood of 200 dollars.
S7: No way.
S4: By the way this is customary in my family and people are already asked me why we haven’t done it and this person was like Is this normal. It’s just like you know sometimes sadly people use vacations to try to bilk their friends out of cash.
S15: And no it is not normal to demand a 200 dollar hostess gift. It is not normal to offer somebody a room paid for by point and then say buy me a massage and all of my food for a weekend. Those people are trying to take you for a ride.
S16: Yeah. Those people are trying to take you for a ride. And also how is that customary in the family to pay each other to stay over.
S11: Listen I have definite questions about that. I kind of wish I had saved it for the podcasts because I’m now trying to think of whether or not I actually answered it and I feel like I didn’t.
S7: Which is a shame but I just love the thought that nobody would tell that person. Oh by the way we’re going to ask you for two hundred dollars for staying in this room. But then like a day after they’ve stayed in the room everybody’s talking about it.
S3: Everybody’s like how could they not have paid well and like trying to convince that because the person had also said I kind of grew up without getting a lot of training from my parents in terms of this sort of thing and like just imagining trying to say this I’m like oh yeah this is totally normal if you you know you’re a college student if you crash or somebodies aunt’s house for a couple of nights you have to buy them like two hundred dollar lamp or something. I don’t even know how incredibly bizarre absolutely say no that getting this doesn’t mean your friend is like a horrible monster or like a scam artist. It’s not I wouldn’t put it on the same level as like the trip is actually like a timeshare pitch. But she’s just what she’s proposing is not going to work for you and that’s the magic phrase like that’s not going to work for me.
S10: And also I guess we’re not really answering this letter because we haven’t read the letter but just I mean it’s it’s it’s I think it’s completely fine to say that’s no that’s not going to work for me but I do want to write a really nice. Thank you.
S3: Yeah yeah yeah. So in both cases the answer is that’s not going to work for me. Here’s what I can do instead. And then you offer what you can do hopefully at that point your friend will say All right fine and we’ll go along with one of those other options. If your friend says unless you come on this trip and are willing to buy me all of my meals at that point you know you have a decision. Is it important enough to you to see these friends. Do you think that aside from this she’s going to be fun and reasonable to be around. And do you feel comfortable in the moment saying I can’t afford such and such a restaurant I can afford this restaurant and in that case you know go and be prepared to do a little more financial boundary setting than you had planned. And if you think that it’s just going to feel unfun and miserable you can just say Hey Phoenix guys.
S12: Yeah. There’s no point if you’re if you know that you’re going to feel uncomfortable or you know even resentful.
S3: Yeah yeah I think again everybody has their own sort of internal conflict threshold and I think lots of us do have friends where sometimes they can be a little unpleasant around money or shared costs or something and sometimes if it’s low key enough in their otherwise delightful enough it’s like OK I have a friend who I know kind of always underplays on a group Bill but everything else about them is so great that I’m willing to kind of put up with this or sometimes it’s like nope this is representative of years of kind of looking to milk as much as they can out of everyone else.
S6: And I’m sick of it and it’s not worth it to me and you know everybody has to make their own sort of individual call. Absolutely. All right. So we’re moving on to one that feels a little bit more open ended I kind of went back and forth on how I felt about the letter writers mother here.
S10: Yeah. This one’s quite complicated and has reminded me of situations that I’ve sort of experience or at least seen in the past as well.
S5: And I think it’s super difficult.
S6: Yeah. So I think it’s my turn. The subject is my mom needs constant praise. How do I get her to stop needling me. Dear Prudence my mother requires. And to me at least unbearable level of appreciation in my mind if I ask someone to do something and they do it a sincere thank you is adequate. Possibly offering a little more if it’s something big. However my mother seems to expect more even when it’s for something I didn’t ask her to do. That’s not to say I’m not thankful when she does something I didn’t ask for. It just seems worth pointing out that sometimes she decides to do these things all of her own volition in order to demand gratitude from me. Additionally she will often say things like aren’t you appreciative of for example me driving you to the airport. Which sort of kills all the gratefulness that I might have had. It especially bothers me when she asks that after doing something that you’d kind of expect a parent to do. Like when she picked me up or my car broke down. Overall I can’t figure out what she expects from me. And this has led to a lot of conflict over the years. What are your thoughts. Am I really being that entitled slash ungrateful. Is she being unreasonable.
S17: So. So what did you go back and forth on on this one.
S4: Well to me like the examples that were given didn’t seem egregious. So like I actually think you know if your parent comes and picks you up when your car breaks down and you’re not like a teenager learning to drive that’s a little bit above and beyond actually like I would say you know I’m at a stage in my life where if my car breaks down my parents are not the first people I would call if I did. They’re both fairly busy and if they were able to make it out to help me out I would be really grateful. I don’t think I would necessarily be like you’re my parents. You always have to be the person who picks me up off my car breaks down so that to me seems not unreasonable. And again that question of like hey don’t you appreciate that I drove you to the airport. Again if it’s part of a pattern of really egregious stuff I could see how it great. But since these are the only two examples we got and they didn’t. Neither one struck me as really like out of line. I feel a little like I wish I had more examples of the earlier behavior of like at Watts. Like when do you have a history of like not saying thank you until you’re prompted. What are the things that she does for you to ask for praise. I just that I think that’s why I wish I knew more because neither of these felt like yeah that’s really not cool know.
S8: Yeah I think the thing that sort of tipped it for me kind of to be a little bit biased maybe towards the letter writer is when they wrote at the mother sort of create situations where then the letter writer has to be great grateful for something that she does and there isn’t really a good example at all here in the letter.
S10: But it almost sounds like maybe it’s difficult even to name that because there are these like patterns that develop over so many years and from you know early childhood and kind of relationships with our mothers and and so. So that is sort of where I felt for the letter writer and thought okay well maybe this is a way that is almost very heart. Maybe that’s a situation that’s almost hard to call out because the mother creates a situation then does something nice then says Aren’t you going to say thank you.
S4: Right right. No that is a really good point. I do think I don’t want to go so far as to say Your mom sounds great you’re totally out of line here. I agree that like the whole like oh I bought you a jacket that you didn’t ask for this afternoon aren’t I the greatest. Aren’t you grateful that that absolutely is is frustrating and demanding.
S8: Yeah. And you’re right. I mean we don’t really know these situations the ones that are in here like you know aren’t you appreciative of me driving you to the airport. I mean you should thank somebody who’s driving you to the airport. The only reason why they would say that is maybe because you haven’t said thank you. So yeah in this situation.
S18: Just say thanks your mom you know it can be great. Easy.
S3: Yeah but I do I think we’ve kind of addressed that part and I do also want to acknowledge like to you there’s also ways in which she needles or creates situations where she can demand a lot of praise from you like beyond what you think is appropriate and that I think is a legitimate thing to want to set a boundary on. So when it comes to that I think my advice would be twofold. One would be frankly if you need a ride to the airport or if your car breaks down I would develop a network of semi emergency contacts who are not your mom. And you know talk to it like I realize not every kind of like friend or partner is always gonna be available for that sort of thing. But I think to sort of check in with your friends and say like hey I’m getting a little older I don’t want to just like automatically put down my parents for who I’m going to contact when like a car breaks down or I might need a ride to the airport. Would you ever be available for that kind of thing and like if so I’ll try to ask you in advance see you. So you have a sense of like oh these three people said they’d be sometimes available to like you know emergency dog sit or take me to the airport or whatever so that when you need those little favors you know you don’t have to go to your mom. And I think that’s going to go a long way towards making you feel like you have options.
S10: Yeah totally it’s it’s almost like they’re kind of like two things here one is a little bit to reduce the situations like the amount of situations where you have two where you find yourself having to be more grateful maybe than you feel and that’s sort of. Danny I think what what you were saying just now but then there’s also something about the relationship with your mom right and sort of thinking about OK why is it the way that it is and how can you draw boundaries and depending on how serious this is I think this could be a good case for therapy where you get a better understanding of some of these patterns between you two and and understand more sort of how you can push back when need when you need to but also truly appreciate when she does something that’s just nice right.
S3: Right. And I think that that’s you know a great point because like the foundation of therapy is basically like I’m frustrated with my mother. So this is like a classic classic reason to go into therapy. You know I think it’s also really okay like if your mom does or gets you something and you feel like she did it in order to be thanked you can say no you can say you know no thank you my closets really fill up already. I really appreciate you’re thinking of me but I don’t need this. And again I think she would probably at least at first try to push harder or say like but I spent so much time you know picking it out or but like you know I spent all this money on it or whatever you could say yep I hear that. I didn’t ask you to do that. So I don’t know how you’re going to solve this problem but good luck and you can say that kind lead off yeller or or get really sarcastic with her but you can say I didn’t ask you to do that. I don’t know how you’re going to solve this one but this one’s a problem for you to solve and just patiently and gently don’t let that become your problem.
S6: That will feel probably quite new. She will probably not like it. That is OK. And if she is kind of pushing and you’ve already you’ve already felt like you said thank you. I think that might be an opportunity ask her a question. I don’t know if you otherwise have an okay relationship but it does sound like you’re pretty close you see each other a lot. So I think there’s an opportunity to say like Mom as I saw it I think you I thought we were having kind of a nice interaction. Is there something missing going on right now. Like what what part of you feel like you’re not getting a need met or is there something that that you need from me right now that you’re afraid to ask for like what’s going on. Not everybody response that kind of question with an immediate like Oh I’ve thought about it and here’s what’s going on with me like you sometimes the initial response can be defensive or cagey but there may be something going on there that you too can honestly talk about.
S16: Yeah. And I think that what the key word that you that you used just now is need right like what are the needs that the mother has and has had that prompt her to kind of seek that like all that gratitude from you. And you know it might work to us that flat out though I imagine that she might get quite defensive but it might also it might be where it’s sort of like paying a bit more attention to you know like her relationships with other people I don’t know well since they’re in the family like Is this something that she kind of does with people and is there a way for you as a family or a community or you know to to to think about as well around like what what is it that causes her to behave like this. Is there a way that we can help her right.
S3: Because like again I’m kind of assuming at this point that she’s otherwise like a pretty reasonable and and good person to interact with and that this is sort of the one big area that’s really frustrating and so I just wonder if there’s an opportunity to say like Mom I love you so much. You’ve been a great mom you’ve done a lot for me. I’m really grateful you’ve you’ve helped shape me into the person I am today. But sometimes you know it feels like the way in which you want or need or ask for things feels really intense or really big or like you’ll you’ll do something that I haven’t asked for and then seem really hurt when I don’t thank you for it. And I just want to know more because I just want an author’s thing that I’m missing or ways in which you feel neglected or left out or instrumental lies and I would would want to hear more about that. So and that might also prompt her to do a little reflecting and you can ask those questions and still say no when she invents something for you to be grateful for you get to do both of those things. I don’t want to suggest that just because you ask her a gentle open ended question that means you have to be completely like bending over backwards to accommodate her it’s also totally ok to start pushing back in some places and opening up and others. Absolutely. I really like that you know good luck. I feel like I often hear about people whose moms have gone so far over the line there’s just sort of nothing to be done but say like I can’t talk to you. So when there’s a relationship where there is an opportunity to learn more or to try to understand one another better. I always want that because I think you know it’s better if you’re able to talk to your parents. I only want to hold that in reserve when everything else has broken down.
S9: That’s that’s so true. And also you know and do check your own like are you do you feel like entitled sometimes to some of those things you know you’re saying like normal parental things. And why not say thank you when it’s nice.
S4: Yeah yeah. There’s hope and I think that there’s room for for growth on both sides. And I just wish you a lot of luck because I also you know I think everyone understands the way it can feel like I just can’t get a perspective you get to their view it’ll be helpful. I hope so.
S18: Ameera this next question yes it has been it’s mind blowing when I first read the questions and I saw this next one I shut down my computer and just didn’t engage with it for a while and then sort of came back and was just I just I’m speechless I mean even speechless now I guess I’ll just read it. I don’t think we can prepare our listeners anymore. No no. Do you. Do you want me to or will you read this right.
S11: I read the last one please. Sorry. I just wanted to because it was so intense but yours.
S18: Ok I’m ready. I’m not gonna be speechless.
S19: The subject line as I was accused of urinating in a chair by my boss. Dear Prudence I just got out of a meeting with my manager where some very odd allegations were leveraged against me.
S8: I was asked if I had ever urinated in a chair at my station. If I had ever used a derogatory slur for gay people towards another employee and if I had ever called a specific co-worker after hours asking if he was gay I don’t even have his co-workers. No. This is beyond mortifying because I’ve never done any of these things and I’m unsure what my next step should be.
S6: Help. Yeah. Let’s just start with.
S13: I’ve never received a question like this.
S4: I’m a little stumped because what’s so weird about this is either your manager is making this up or someone else and not just making this up but made up. Okay I’m gonna say they pissed in their chair and then they called a co-worker after hours and said Are you okay. And then the other option is someone else has done this. Yes.
S6: Else like pissed in your chair you didn’t notice but your boss did that. That’s the part that’s wild to me as like Surely if anyone had urinated in your chair at work you would be the first to know because you would sit down in your chair and you would say Oh it smells and feels as if someone has recently peed all over this.
S5: And also how is it that it’s such a random collection of things. It’s like so you’re somebody peed on your chair or you or or nobody did.
S16: I didn’t even consider the idea that the manager might have like me.
S13: I mean who makes that up. I mean no I don’t think that that’s extremely likely but is already so unlikely that you know so.
S5: So there has been some urination also at work that there has been a use of a derogatory slur for gay people but then also somebody called a specific co-worker and it’s not clear if that’s the same person as the first person to ask if he was gay right. So the only way I mean this is completely wild and I’ve never heard anything even remotely like it. I imagine that the manager is trying to do some weird kind of investigation and Shorty asking other people to. I sure hope so.
S4: Yeah I mean at this point. Like just in terms of what do you do. Because until you find out the origin of these accusations there’s not a lot you can do about speculating.
S3: So like as bizarre as this is I think you know hopefully you were able to make it really clear with your boss like no I didn’t do these things. If you want to like revisit and just say like you know again I can assure you I don’t have this person’s number I have never called them. I’m happy to answer any other questions about this. Not not in the sense of like please ask me a lot about this but just in the sense that like can absolutely clear this up.
S10: Can I have a new chair maybe.
S4: I would also consult a lawyer at this point. Not because I think you’re going to need to hire one right away but just because both of these could potentially involve like you know pissing on a chair at work could potentially fall under sexual harassment in terms of like making a workplace really hostile as well as using gay slurs.
S6: So this is just serious enough that I think you should contact a lawyer. Ask a couple of questions. Find out what they would encourage you to do if you all have an H.R. department you know check in with H.R. tell them that you’re distressed by these accusations and that you just again like would like to go on record as denying them. But I think that’s my best advice is go to H.R. and contact a lawyer.
S5: Yeah. I mean I would you would have loved to know a little bit more detail or maybe not.
S16: But like I would have I would have really liked to understand sort of how the manager reacted when you said I have not done any of those things because it depends a little bit. So it depends a little bit on the relationship with the manager because if the manager is kind of you know accepted that and believe that and and you have a strong relationship then you might be able to approach them and instead of you know Danny I’m not sure if I would go in and be like please do ask me more questions about this. These are horrific allegations and that person has said very clearly you know I haven’t. The letter writer is afraid clearly I haven’t done any of this.
S4: So I would maybe even go to the manager and just tell them that you know that you’re more you were mortified to hear these allegations and if maybe the manager could provide a little bit more context and if there is yeah yeah I think that the thing that I was curious about there is sometimes when it comes to internal investigations like it’s company policy not to reveal anything about where the accusations are coming from because they’re concerned about retaliation. Yeah. Or you know. So I don’t know if your manager would be able to disclose that. Certainly I think if there’s any more light they can give you about like what you know. Can you tell me what first brought this to your attention like hopefully yeah hopefully your manager is aware of your character which I hesitate even to use because it’s just like you know hopefully it would go without saying that your boss doesn’t think that you would do those things. But I think I would mostly advise this person not to try to get in touch with that specific co-worker.
S10: Yeah and say like hey you know it wasn’t me right because yeah I did think about that at the beginning I thought OK well maybe depending on the relationship you might say something like You know I’m very sorry that this happened to you. This isn’t. I don’t have anything to do with this but I just don’t feel like in a way I don’t feel like the colleague even needs to be pulled into these things it’s sort of like bad enough that this happened and I don’t know what good would necessarily come out of it.
S3: Yeah I think as weird and intense as all this sounds and feels right now and this person wrote it as they just walked out of that meeting so I totally understand feeling just totally shell shocked.
S4: But I would say you know you didn’t do it. These are pretty specific allegations. There’s no evidence that you did it. I think it’s going to be reasonably easy to clear your name. That said like take the necessary precautions consult a lawyer talk to H.R. and do your best to just focus on work to the extent that you can. Right now I can certainly imagine just feeling like Oh this is just go to work knowing that somebody here thinks I did this. I think your name will be cleared in time hopefully very very soon. I would love to hear back from you. I would love to hear more if you find out anything else about either who did it or why someone thinks someone else did it or what.
S8: Yeah and I mean it’s it’s completely normal if you don’t feel comfortable being at work and frankly also being sort of asked straight on if you peed on your chair and if you you know it is a very unusual way of of having these conversations in a workplace. So if you feel weird about it that’s because it is weird you should feel weird about it.
S4: Yeah I totally understand. I would also feel totally baffled totally at sea if anyone listening has any sort of expertise in this sort of thing and wants to offer some advice please get in touch let me know. I will happily read it on the air the next time we record. Good. Good luck. I really do think that it is you know unless there is evidence that you peed on that chair or that you made that phone call you’re not going to get blamed for it. Officially that’s your name will be cleared definitely. Man oh man I am so excited about this.
S10: Laughs My God I can’t wait. I love it so much. It’s so ridiculous.
S15: It is. I also like I just saw hustler. So I’m very much like in a particular sort of mood which is just like you know you this is a hundred percent on you.
S13: You have created this situation. You have nothing to complain about.
S6: So it’s already subject I’ve been letting a hot personal trainer live in my condo rent free for three years. Lately I feel as though it might be a bad idea and just you know thank you for writing such a wonderful subject line. I’m grateful to you for that dear Prudence when real estate was cheap during the last recession. I bought the condo next door at auction. My adult son that lived there rent free while he attended college. He stayed there until he graduated then moved out and moved in with his mom and sister in another city. A female acquaintance in the community called and said that she was being evicted from her condo and was desperate for a place to live. She was single nearly my age and very attractive so I offered to let her move into the extra condo. She’s a personal trainer with few clients and couldn’t afford to pay even the electric bill for the place let alone the rent. She was needy and I was infatuated so we began a relationship that lasted just a couple of months before we broke up. Upon finding out that we had nothing in common when we had the final break of conversation I told her she could stay in the condo rent free but that I would expect her to move out when she found another guy. Unfortunately it’s been three years and she hasn’t found a new relationship. I don’t think she’s even looking. She seems to prefer solitude and free housing to having a mate. Since the condos are so close to each other I could hear a male voice if she had a visitor but that hasn’t happened. I’ve tried to convince her to move in with one of her family members in another city but she says that all her clients are in our city and it would be super tough to start over. The condo has nearly tripled in value since I bought it. I’d like to sell it but it’s beginning to look like I’ll have to listed in my will so my kids can evict her.
S20: There’s no graceful way out of this situation is there. Oh my God. You know you just silly silly silly person. You have done a very silly thing and I love this lady.
S21: She’s all she’s do it like you offered her a plum deal. You said to her you can live here until you find another boyfriend and she is abiding by every word of that agreement. You don’t have a leg to stand on here pal. You offered it. She took it. You’re just now realizing you might have made a bad deal. I’m I’m on team hot personal trainer all the way. I hope she lives there until she dies.
S7: Erin I mean this would have to be an amazing amazing mate as you say for her to give up a free apartment with Erin.
S17: And also you are wrong. You’re in the wrong from beginning to end and also you don’t have a real problem. Actually yeah. You already have a place to live.
S13: You’re fine. It’s just I could make a ton of money. Oh well you’ll have to contain yourself with the money you have.
S21: You know that if anything this letter in the last letter just convinced me what we need is like universal housing so people don’t have to rely on somebody else finding them attractive to offer them an affordable place to live. Like all of us even people who no one finds attractive should be able to live like have a housing security and it should not rely upon like people with bad judgment being like sure I have my condo just don’t get a boyfriend.
S22: Yeah absolutely.
S10: I mean this this is this is just it’s it’s kind of an amazing situation. I mean yeah we’re on the side of the hot you know personal trainer but there is also just a huge power imbalance there right. And it’s it’s actually I mean apart from the fact that the letter is sort of silly in a lot of ways. It’s also quite upsetting when you think Oh my God.
S13: Yeah absolutely.
S21: No everything about like this woman’s like ability to have a roof over her head could change at any moment depending on the whim of this guy who made her really ridiculous like sort of indecent exposure as a proposal type of offer like three years ago. Yeah absolutely.
S10: Yeah. I mean so you know like. So when when when he’s asking you know if or when he said I feel as though it might be a bad idea on the subject I’m like Yeah it was a bad idea not because you lost money but because you behave like a dick.
S21: Absolutely. It’s like making somebody is like a housing offer contingent upon as long as you’re not fucking another dude. Yeah it would be one thing if you two were like divorcing and you were like OK. It’s really hard to sell the house we’ve been together a long time. We’re gonna cohabitate until one of us gets in a serious relationship because that would be difficult and awkward like that kind of arrangement I totally understand. This is like we hooked up for a couple of months but like rather than offer you either like a sensible rental agreement or just say yeah stay here whatever you went with you know you must be celibate with men in order to live here.
S10: Yeah. And they hooked up for a couple of months after he gave her the apartment. Right. So that’s that’s just it’s just so messed up. He’s like Yeah you can stay in my condo. I’m also infatuated and you seem needy. So they hook up for a couple months. Then she’s like oh I don’t think we have anything in common. And he says well OK. But you can’t have any other boyfriends. It’s so weird it’s so weird.
S21: Like either you could have either offered her a lease you could have said sorry acquaintance I don’t have a place for you to stay. Best of luck and like let her solve that problem on her own. Or you don’t like I don’t know if you bought this condo and then like you like well my son lived there rent free and then this hot lady lived there rent free like what did you buy this car for if you were just going to put up couch surfers for years at a time.
S7: The most outrageous thing is that you’ve taken all these really bad decisions and meanwhile your condo has tripled in value.
S13: This makes me so sad. Yeah. You have really bungled them having a valuable condo. Yeah.
S21: I don’t want to assist you. I want this woman to win. I don’t want you to get one over on her. I’m not going to help you. I hope she stays there forever. That’s my answer to this question.
S7: Wow that’s harsh. Should I. Should I offer an alternative. Or should we just leave it there.
S11: I don’t I don’t find it harsh. But yes but all means offer your alternative. So what do you say.
S7: You know there’s no graceful way out of the situation is there. I think none of this has been particularly graceful. Nothing you have done so you are not concerned with whether there is a graceful way out of this situation.
S12: So maybe the way out of this situation simply is to say to that woman I will sell the condo I need you to move out by this date and then you can sell your condo and live happily ever ever after and maybe not make that same mistake again because you don’t sound very nice.
S4: I mean I’ll just throw this out there. The fact that she’s lived there for the last three years and a number of states have laws protecting tenants rights not to be suddenly evicted.
S20: She may very well like be able to take this to court. I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to be as easy as just saying Get out.
S10: Oh well if that’s the case then I will immediately support that woman and then I hope she wins in court.
S4: Yeah I mean at this point if you’re going to try to evict her you should probably talk to a lawyer about what her rights are in this state because if you try to illegally evict her she could you know that would give her a real advantage and as much as I want her to be able to stay here forever.
S3: Yeah. You also not want to put you in a situation where you’re in this lengthy stupid legal battle because you have failed to ask the right questions. Right.
S4: So yeah consult a lawyer find out what her rights are as a tenant follow them. Abide by them. Give her as much notice as she is entitled to and then sell your damn condo. Yeah but that’s not hard. No
S10: it’s not hard. And also be honest to your lawyer about the full agreement that you had. Just because it will make a big difference in how your case will be viewed.
S3: Oh God. Can you imagine if she’s like Well I was told by my landlord I could stay here for free as long as I didn’t have a boyfriend like he gave me a free apartment and then we started a sexual relationship.
S12: And after that was done he said I couldn’t have a boyfriend. Yeah I. It’s no good. It’s like it’s not a good look.
S15: Man So you definitely got to talked to a lawyer. Yeah. He’s super upfront super honest and then you know take whatever advice that lawyer gives you. And maybe in the future don’t buy condos. I don’t know that you’re suited the landlord lifestyle. I mean I don’t think many people should be like going into the landlord lifestyle but just like you seem pretty bad at it.
S23: Yeah you suck at that don’t don’t do it. I’m sure you have have. I mean you did give the condo to your to your son which was nice. Yeah it’s great. And that’s it. We. We did it. How do you feel. Yeah. Yeah. Feeling. Feeling great. I mean there was some absurd crazy stuff in here today. Super super fun.
S3: I was trying to save though just like really intense out there stuff because sometimes you just need an episode where everybody swings for from the fences and has really strong feelings really really strong feelings and I wish everyone the best possible version of their own future.
S12: Yeah. And good luck with your mother as your tenants your landlords and your girlfriends.
S14: Yeah and I wish you the best. How are you doing. Has your day been. What. What’s next for you after you’ve given all these people all this advice.
S12: Well we. I’m sitting here in my apartment in London surrounded by stuff because I’ve just moved in here. So after this I’m gonna start unpacking some boxes.
S14: Congratulations. Did you sign a lease.
S10: I did sign a lease with very normal and clear terms and I am allowed to have boyfriends and girlfriends if I want to.
S13: That is just terrific. That’s frankly an ideal situation.
S15: I know and I just hope that everyone is able to have that. Just have a reasonable amount of rent charged at them reasonable expectations from their landlords and none of this you can have my condo as long as by the way like she also either either is just enjoying being single where she has a girlfriend and you’re a chump or she has a boyfriend that she visits and you’re a chump like. Either way you offered her a very jumpy agreement. Definitely I need to leave that guy alone. I’m just he’s just doing a lot. He’s doing a lot.
S12: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. You took some bad decisions there but yeah.
S14: Yeah I mean like I think if you look back and like how did I get in this situation. You’re like I can see clearly when I offered to let her live here for free as long as she never had a boyfriend that was the start of my problems. That’s the origin story. Yeah.
S21: Oh OK. Well I want to leave you to your boxes. I wish you the absolute best with them. I’m gonna go see the movie Double Indemnity and I’m really excited about it.
S23: Exciting. I hope you have a great time. Enjoy the movie. Well thanks so much for having me on your podcast. Yeah absolutely have a great rest of the night. Thank you. I.
S24: Thanks for listening to Dear Prudence. Our producers Phil circus theme music was composed by Robin Hilton and don’t miss an episode of the show had to say dot com slash. Dear Prudence to subscribe. Remember you can always hear more prudence by joining Slate Plus.
S25: Good Slate dot com slash pretty pumped to sign up if you want me to answer your question. Call me and leave a message at 4 0 1 3 7 1 dear. That’s 3 3 2 7 and you might hear your answer on a episode of the show. You don’t have to use your real name or location and at your request we can even alter the sound of your voice. Keep it short 30 seconds a minute tops.
S26: Thanks for listening.
S1: And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday. The question is sort of like how do I or in what order do I have a breakup conversation. We’re worried about you. And we hope that you can seek treatment for your depression conversation and potentially an eviction conversation. Three very different conversations and whether or not you want to have one would sort of inform the other like if you’ve decided I want to break up. I’d be willing to be supportive as a friend but that’s it. That’s one thing. If you’re like I want to break up and I actually don’t really care and I don’t think I’d be able to be there for her to support her as she got treatment for her depression it’s better to be honest about that to listen to the rest of that conversation.
S3: Join Slate Plus now at Slate dot com forward slash Prudie pot.