Dear Amy: I have been a member of a book club for the past few years. Recently, the composition of the book club has changed. My close friends have moved away and new members have joined the group. The problem is that I work with all the people in the group and am their boss.
They are nice people, but not people I want to socialize with.
How can I resign without making it difficult at work?
— Book Club Blues
Dear Blues: Book clubs can be terrifying. Some of them are run like a mysterious cult in a Dan Brown novel. Once you get in, you can never really get out. You can try to resign using the same no-nonsense attitude that you've probably employed in your work life. Assume the supervisory demeanor and use tactics that have made you an effective boss.
When that doesn't work, lie to them and run off before they have a chance to pour you another glass of chardonnay.
Tell the other members that you're overextended with work and other duties, so you're regretfully going to have to bow out.
This situation will only become difficult at work if you let it.
Dear Amy: I am 22 years old and in my last year of college. I have never done the whole spring break thing before because it is so expensive, but this year I really want to go to Mexico for my last spring break.
My best girlfriend from high school and I have talked about going to Mexico with some other female friends. The problem? My boyfriend doesn't have plans of his own — last year the two of us hung out at home together for spring break. I would love to have him come with us, but I know he would feel uncomfortable being the only guy.
Is it wrong for me to go off on spring break and leave my boyfriend behind?
I don't want to be a jerk, but I also don't want to miss out on the fun. What do you think?
— Girl For Fun
Dear Girl: You don't need to decide on your boyfriend's behalf whether he would have fun on your spring break vacation. That's his job.
It sounds as if you don't want to include him in this group holiday, so you're going to have to tell him that and face the personal consequences.
When you talk about this, keep in mind how you would feel if he presented you with the same scenario.
In my view, he should be a gracious boyfriend and send you happily on your way, but that's the vexing thing about people — they have a tendency not to behave the way I want them to.
Dear Amy: I love your no-nonsense yet compassionate advice.
Please let me add a bit to your response to "Recuperating." Her in-laws brought dinner to the house the day after she had surgery. They stayed to eat and didn't clean up.
Friends and relatives need to understand that when recuperating from surgery, people need to be off their feet and feel loved and peaceful. The theme for visits of any length should be "low-key and supportive."
Food should be brought in disposable containers. Visitors should ask what is needed before starting any task or chore.
In general, the best things that friends and family can do is to offer rides or do small errands; to sit quietly with the person or engage in light, pleasant chats; to help entertain any children in the house; or to bring by some funny books or movies.
Visitors should enter the house in a calm, composed state and be sure to take a walk or bring the visit to an end if they feel too anxious or tired to follow these guidelines.
Over a year later, I still cringe at the memories of me making dinner for a depressed and frenetic visitor the day after I checked out of the hospital after an emergency C-section, where she demanded to hold my premature baby — in the neonatal ICU — over my protests.
She had come to "help" us. And it turns out that her relatives had "helped" her in the same way — 40 years ago!
— Lost in Recuperation
Dear Lost: Your recommendations are excellent. Especially the part about knowing when to leave.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun