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Ask A Stranger Things Creature With An Unorthodox Living Situation
Whatever this creepy thing is, it's got hold of Joyce's Christmas-light Ouija board, and it's bursting at the (wallpaper) seams with helpful advice.
Dear Faceless Creature Living In The Wall,
I'm having a home décor crisis, and since you know all about walls, maybe you can help. My husband is insisting on installing imitation wood paneling in our rumpus room, but I feel it's SO last decade, and he just won't listen.
He's so insistent on this that I'm contemplating leaving him. Should I stay or should I go?
Flummoxed in French Lick
AND NOT FIVE MINUTES AFTER I GOT THAT STUPID SONG OUT OF MY HEAD. OH MY GOD, I HATE YOU. SERIOUSLY.
I'm really worried about my best friend. We went to a party together a few days ago, and since she wasn't having a very good time, I told her she should leave early and I'd catch a ride with my boyfriend. After that, she disappeared, and I have reason to believe foul play might have been involved. What should I do?
Horrified in Hawkins
I'M SURE YOUR FRIEND IS FINE. SHE IS PROBABLY JUST AVOIDING YOU BECAUSE SHE'S MAD AT YOU. YOU SHOULD GIVE HER SOME SPACE. SHE'LL GET BACK IN TOUCH WHEN SHE'S READY.
My friends and I were picking on a bunch of nerds when suddenly, and out of nowhere, I lost control of my bladder in front of pretty much the entire school. Now my friends are pretending they don't even know me, and everyone's making fun of me! It's like I'm the nerd now! How do I regain the trust of my pals and make everyone forget this embarrassing moment?
Junior High Jerk
YOU PROBABLY DESERVE WHATEVER YOU'RE GETTING. YOU DON'T SOUND LIKE A VERY NICE PERSON. YOU'RE LUCKY I WASN'T THERE; YOU PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE STOPPED AT #1, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
I have an employee in my store who's been an exemplary cashier for years, but lately she seems to be mismanaging her personal funds in a worrisome manner. It's not really my place to judge, except she keeps requesting advances on her salary. Last time, she ended up spending it all in the store on a bunch of random junk. Most recently she asked if she could have another advance to pay a contractor to fix a big hole in her living room wall, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that she put that hole there herself.
She has recently suffered a devastating loss in her family, and I understand that grief causes people to behave in ways that might seem out of character. I want to support her, but I don't want to enable her irrational behavior. How can I show sympathy while still maintaining proper professional boundaries?
GRIEF IS A VERY TRICKY PROCESS TO NAVIGATE, AND IT'S NOT ALWAYS A LINEAR PROGRESSION. I BELIEVE IT WAS C.S. LEWIS WHO FIRST REFERRED TO IT AS CYCLICAL: "ONE KEEPS ON EMERGING FROM A PHASE, BUT IT ALWAYS RECURS. ROUND AND ROUND. EVERYTHING REPEATS." IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE SOME TIME BEFORE YOUR EMPLOYEE IS BACK TO HER OLD SELF, AND IN THE MEANTIME YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO SEE A CERTAIN EBB AND FLOW TO HER EMOTIONS -- AND YES, MAYBE EVEN SOME BIZARRE BEHAVIOR.
I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY AND EXPLORE THE WRITINGS OF ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS. THIS MAY HELP YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR EMPLOYEE IS GOING THROUGH AND IF NOT EXCUSE HER BEHAVIOR, AT LEAST HELP TO BETTER EXPLAIN IT. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO CONTINUE ADVANCING YOUR EMPLOYEE'S PAY. YOUR INSTINCTS TO SUPPORT HER ARE ADMIRABLE, BUT THERE ARE PROBABLY OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP OUT THAT WILL BE JUST AS APPRECIATED. COULD YOU SEND FLOWERS OR A CASSEROLE, OR EVEN DROP BY AND OFFER TO FIX THE HOLE YOURSELF? YOU SOUND LIKE YOU ARE DELIC-- I MEAN, UH, GOOD WITH TOOLS.