A trying time for truth teller


December 02, 2007|By Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE -- I work in an office where people tend to lie about what's happening there, especially if they haven't completed assigned tasks. It's really disheartening. I am not a manager.

I am an honest, conscientious person. I like my job and my company. I don't want to leave, and I don't want to report people who are, in my opinion, eroding the quality of work at my job, but I cannot buy into this behavior. What should I do?


Dear Bev --Don't buy into it. When you notice a lie, figure out a way to point out the truth. You could say, "Hmm. I thought this happened" or "Why did you say that?" when someone says something obviously untrue. It takes a lot of courage to call people out - carefully - when they lie.

But if you honestly ask "why," you may discover a deeper issue that you can help address, such as the business running inefficiently or a particular person being a dark cloud over company morale.

Don't give up. You could turn out to be the company's saving grace. If not, you will become free to move on to work in a healthier environment. No matter what, if you live empowered by your integrity and compassion, you will win.

DEAR HARRIETTE --I have been with my boyfriend for the past two years. He has a really close female friend with whom he spends a lot of time. They grew up together, and their families are really close.

I don't think she has any feelings for him, but just before they hang up the phone after a conversation, they both say, "I love you." This makes me extremely uncomfortable. I'm not jealous of her in any way, and I know my boyfriend loves me. Why do you think this is bothering me so much?


Dear A.R. --You didn't say whether you think your boyfriend has feelings for her. Perhaps you have a secret fear that he is choosing her over you.

Perhaps, it truly is a loving platonic friendship, but you don't recognize it as such because you haven't had the same experience. Why not talk to your boyfriend about it?

Tell him you feel uncomfortable and are not sure why. Don't be vague, though. Explain that while you may think it's nice that these two can declare their love for each other, it's hard sometimes for you to hear.

Remind him that you know he cares about you and that this is a bit tough for you.

Ask him to support you through this. The way he responds will be a great indication of how he values you in relation to his friend. Consider becoming friendly with this woman as well.

Many committed couples welcome individual friends into their relationship fold. If you do this, it will help you get to know the woman and grow more comfortable - or not - with her in your life.

Life coach and author Harriette Cole is the new creative director of Ebony magazine. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com.

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