Dear Amy: I’m writing about a curious thing my husband does that tends to hurt my feelings. I’m not sure how inconsiderate he may be or how oversensitive I may be.
He tends to look for negative information about people and things I like. He also does this for things he likes.
For the most recent example, I regularly read the web comic xkcd. For no obvious reason, at dinner on Sunday, he handed me his phone with a lengthy blog post from a philosophy major about how dismissive the author of xkcd is toward people outside the STEM fields.
I’m not completely unsympathetic to philosophy majors, but I don’t really care. It’s just a funny comic.
This is one of many small examples. My husband recently stopped listening to music by two European music groups he liked because he read they were linked to extreme right-wing causes.
He thinks it’s relevant or conversational to bring up things like this, but I feel like it’s a lot of little jabs at things I like. Your thoughts?
— Don’t Knock My Stuff
Dear Don’t Knock: I think you’re being oversensitive. Your husband seems to be consistent in his desire for information, along with his choice to follow that information trail to a conclusion, even an unpleasant one. He applies this metric to many and varied cultural issues, including those that engage him.
You simply want the freedom — and have the right — to like what you like, unencumbered by the ramblings of blogging philosophers. You don’t say that your husband shames you, but it seems that access to any potentially negative information will make you defensive.
You might not successfully change his annoying behavior. You can definitely change your reaction to it.
You should try to flip your immediate response. Assume that his deep dives into cultural backstory are not intended to hurt you. Also, feel free to tell him that you find it annoying to have a blog post thrust across the table during dinner.
You can also say, “Hey, why don’t you send me a link to that piece and I’ll see if I want to read it later?”
What you shouldn’t do is allow this to hurt your feelings.
Dear Amy: My fiance and I have been engaged for two years. We are tying the knot this year. I asked my co-worker (who was a good friend at the time) to be my maid of honor.
Over the past year, she has become increasingly verbally abusive toward me, has tried to sabotage my job and get me fired, and talks about me behind my back to clients.
After another awful week, I have decided that not only can I not have someone who treats me so poorly in my bridal party, but now I don’t even want her at my wedding.
My question to you is how to professionally approach her and tell her that I no longer want her in my party or at my wedding?
I do have to work with this woman every day, and I am worried she is going to up the ante on the abuse. I have gone to the owner multiple times; they are aware of the situation but have chosen to avoid the issue of dealing with this person, as she is a high earner.
I am not the only employee experiencing this. I can’t leave, as it is hard to find another job in this field.
— Desperate Bride
Dear Desperate: You present a number of reasons why confronting this bully could be hard on you, but what choice do you have?
You need to break up with her.
Say (in person, privately), “Our relationship seems to have disintegrated. I’m going to let you off the hook in terms of being in my wedding. Moving forward, I’d like to focus on maintaining a peaceful professional relationship.”
After that, stay calm. Don’t discuss your wedding at work, don’t send her an invite, minimize your interactions with her, document her unprofessional behavior and push back when she tries to bully you.
Dear Amy: “Concerned in Colorado” was upset about her work supervisor’s criminal history. But then she also said she checked records “in the state where he lives.” They are obviously in different locations, so why is she so nervous?
You missed this obvious fact!
Dear Eagle-Eyed: Colorado borders seven states. Many people live in one state and work in another. “Concerned” noted that they work in the same office.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.)