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My friend and I ‘exchanged’ boyfriends

Q. I'm an only child and after completing a vocational course, started working just around eight months ago. Last month, it was my parents' 25th wedding anniversary, and my boyfriend and I planned a surprise party for them at a popular club. It was quite a big do and we had to shell out beyond our combined budget for it, but we didn't mind one bit. After all we thought, 25th wedding anniversaries don't come everyday. But to our shock, my parents got very upset at and after the party. They felt it wasn't upscale enough and lavish enough, they criticised the menu, the arrangements, the venue, everything. And now they are very cold and distant to both me and my boyfriend. Not only is their behaviour very hurtful, it is also souring my own relationship with my boyfriend. He is suggesting since this is their attitude, I should move out, but I'm not too sure. Despite everything, they are all I have and I am all they have. But if I don't move out, it'll upset my boyfriend. Please help me resolve whether to move out or not.


A. You're right, and it's good mature thinking on your part — despite their attitude, they are all you have and you are all they have. Perhaps the best way to resolve whether to move out or not would be to have a frank talk with your parents. Tell them — gently — that you know they're upset, but you're also upset because you did your best when organising their 25th wedding anniversary event and since you're both upset, may be it would be best for you to move out. See how your parents react, whether they climb down a bit or not, and make your decision depending upon their response. But do make it a point to keep your boyfriend in the loop at all times because good understanding between you and him is essential for tiding over this period.

Q. My friend and I work in the same office and last year we "exchanged" boyfriends and all of us were happy. But about two months ago, my friend and her boyfriend (my ex) broke up, while my relationship with my boyfriend (her ex) is flourishing. And this is what has led to a major situation developing between us because my friend is convinced I engineered her breakup, whereas I had nothing to do with it. Anyway, from a friend she has now turned into an enemy in office. She loses no opportunity to run me down, especially in the bi-weekly office meetings chaired by the boss. I'm just not fast enough and smart enough to handle it, as a result of which my image is sinking and I'm coming across in office as a shirker and poor performer. How can I counter this — should I counter it or look for another job?


A. Isn't your performance in office judged by the outcome of tasks assigned to you? If what you're doing is up to the mark, perhaps you should do some PR about your work — that would be one way of countering attacks on your image. If your performance can be improved, do so without delay — after all good work also speaks for itself. However, all this will mean not only ensuring your work is top notch, but also strategising continually to both project and protect yourself. Ask yourself whether you want to do this and whether indeed you're up to it.

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