Awkward, cubed

But at least there’s nowhere to hide: “I work for a small, family-owned business. The woman who first trained me is not someone I care to spend time with socially or even on my lunch hour. She persists in asking me nearly each day about my lunch plans hoping I will extend an invitation. Often times she’ll follow up with me later in the day and ask where I went and with whom.

“The owners are very fond of her yet barely acknowledge my existence so I would like to handle this in a diplomatic manner. Can you help me find the words to let her know that while I may go to lunch with a friend, I don’t want to go with her?”

Any suggestions, when daily hints aren’t enough and when workplace peace is at stake?

- Carolyn Hax

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