A: And I wonder why I have not won a Pulitzer for this column yet. Nonetheless, I’m here to serve, so here you go: Change to white underwear, or bring in your own toilet paper. You can also offer to shop for the bathroom supplies, and select the brand you prefer. As to discussing with your boss, I wouldn’t bother him with such a “fluffy” concern.
Q: I am a small business owner. A guy came in to inquire about pricing, and he seemed very high-maintenance, so we cut him no slack on the price. A few weeks later, he comes in and says he went to our competitor, and they are much cheaper. He then asked if we would meet their price.
“If they were so much cheaper than us, why didn’t you go there?” I said.
“Because they were not very nice to me, and you all were,” he replied.
My response was that “nice costs money.” So tell me, what should I say in the future that would be more professional sounding?
A: I like it just the way you said it. You were clear and concise. And let’s face it: A difficult client does cost more in terms of your time and energy. Keep up the superb customer service and straightforward communication. I’m glad you didn’t dish out any gobbledygook.
Q: I felt really badly for my friend when her father lost the family business. We’re both in graduate school, and she was in serious financial need. I sold some of my stuff so she could finish the semester. Sounds simple enough, yes? Do I get a thank you? Nope. An acknowledgement? Nope. She said she’d help me with my website, and has she? Nope. Seriously, this woman had me fooled for two years, and now, I don’t even want the money back (not that I did in the first place), but at least she could say “thanks” or something that acknowledges I did something nice for her. So how do you tell a person your friendship is over, and you’re tired of making strides for them when they won’t for you? Or can you just pretend they don’t exist anymore?
A: You can certainly make her go poof, and act as if she is dead. But if you want to speak your mind first, do it plainly and without emotional drama. This opportunist has stolen enough from you; don’t give her anything more when you have that final talk. Also listen closely to what she says. This might give you some insights about the relationship and how the lopsided friendship unfolded.
On another note, be assured kindness is never squandered, even when you feel you’ve been used. What matters is your intention, and it sounds like your intention was heartfelt. Reflect on this situation and learn from it, with special attention to honing your powers of discernment.
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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.