Carolyn Hax
Carolyn Hax

Reader advice on office attraction and interacting with kids

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of “relationship cartoonist” Nick Galifianakis. She is the author of “Tell Me About It” (Miramax, 2001), and the host of a live online discussion on Fridays at noon.


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On noting that a husband’s chummy female colleague is single:

Believe it or not, we single women are not perpetually on the prowl for other women’s husbands.

If a spouse’s co-worker is crossing boundaries, then she’s crossing boundaries, whether she is married, single, in a polygamous relationship, dating around, dating a box turtle or whatever. That she is single is beside the point, and to assume the risk level goes up because she’s single is an insult to single people. Just had to get that off my (voluptuous, Jessica Rabbitesque, husband-stealing) chest. — J.

On protecting young children from germs:

I still watch little kids with shock and awe when they do my favorite urky thing — running their hands all the way along any handrail, escalator rail, wall, row o’ spittoons that they encounter at hand-running level, in any of our planet’s finest sinkholes, then on faces, PBJs, etc. And no one ever got cholera in my household, astonishingly.

My second-favorite “watch what happens” involves those rope-line things in banks, pharmacies, airports, etc. I believe I’ve seen maybe one or two little girls who don’t swing on ’em (20 percent?) but that’s okay, the other girls and 130 percent of little boys will: Unfasten them, try to do gymnastics on them, refasten them, and if it is your own child, knock over the one closest to the person in the air-cast who is waiting for his pain-pill script. Onto said person. — P.

On one of the many fantastic reasons to get over yourself by the time your children reach adulthood:

My sister was the first grandchild and therefore golden, and I was the disappointing second girl. My parents were adamant that two children was the limit barring any accident, so there was never a grandson to carry on the family name and it was my fault for being born the wrong sex.

I give great credit to my parents, my mom especially, for teaching me to respect my grandmother but to see the ridiculousness in her attitude, understand it was her problem not mine, and not take her rejection to heart. My grandmother was a very difficult person in many ways, and while we were not cut off completely, the visits were infrequent and often short.

As we got older, my sister became more aware of the favoritism and she often would get more incensed about it than I did, and it spoiled the good relationship they had.

My grandmother has been dead many years now, but it still saddens me to think how her bitterness drove a wedge between her and her only two grandchildren, and how lonely she must have been. — Anonymous

On relatives who blow off your kids:

We all tend to be very protective of our kids, rightly so. But I always told my kids that not everyone will like them and they will not like everyone, that’s life, and they need to attempt to be polite. I would just caution parents not to influence their children to think ill of absentee relatives, and to just lighten up a bit. — Been-There-Done-That Mom

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