The Vine: September 10, 2008
I have this friend, let's call her Poodle. We're both in college (senior year) and have been best friends since our very first day when we were both terrified whimpering freshmen. I love her to bits and she's great.
But: she sleeps around. And I don't judge her for that, at all — hell, in my freshman year, before I started dating my boyfriend of now three years, I put not-so-few notches on my bedpost myself. The problem is, Poodle doesn't use any protection.
She's not on the Pill. She's too embarrassed to buy condoms. We'll go out, we'll get drunk, she'll leave with a random guy, the next day she's asking me to go get the morning-after pill with her. She's been doing it for about two years now — bringing two, maybe three different guys home in a week, having unprotected sex with them, then crossing her fingers until her period comes. She knows for sure that one of the guys she's been sleeping with has chlamydia (she found out through a mutual friend, he sure as hell didn't bother letting her know), and she's freaking out about it, but she refuses to go get tested. I've offered to go with her, I've explained the procedure, she'll make drunken plans to go but then she'll bail.
I don't want it to sound like I'm clutching my pearls because she's having sex with guys. She can sleep with whomever she likes and more power to her; I don't subscribe to the idea that a guy's a playaaaaa and a girl's a slut, it's not like that. I'm just so worried about my friend's health.
When I'm in when she's doing it, I'll lend her condoms (I've probably bought more condoms for her than I have for myself) but I'm not usually there. I've told her to buy condoms herself and her answer was, "No, it's his responsibility. It's his penis!" Umm, yeah, but it's going in your body, Poodle.
She won't listen. She's too embarrassed to buy them; she's apparently too embarrassed or drunk to insist on using protection; if a guy tells her that it "feels better" without, she'll agree. She's freaking out that the possibility of her having chlamydia (I pray that's all she's got) means that she could become infertile if she doesn't get tested and treated, and she STILL won't go to the doctor. She's stopped telling me now whether or not she used a condom because, she says, "I know you'll get mad if I don't."
I know this isn't my responsibility, it's hers. I know it's her body and her health, and it's none of my damn business anyway, but I'm worried about her. Do you have any advice?
They're Not So Bad — Look, This One Has A Reservoir Tip!
Well, it depends on whom you want advice for, Poodle or yourself.If it's for Poodle, frankly, I don't think anything I can tell you to do or say is going to have much effect.
But advice I give you might have a secondary effect on her — because I think Poodle does this at least in part to create drama and get attention, so when I tell you to stop taking responsibility for her sexual health in any way, that will in turn cut off the supply of attention she receives for behaving irresponsibly and involving you in the resulting agita, and when she stops getting anything out of it, maybe she'll stop doing it.
I mean, you have to stop trying to save her from herself for your own sake, because it's just going to make you feel guilty if she gets an STD, and you really shouldn't; she knows this is risky behavior, and she knows "better."But she's getting something out of it.She's getting mothering from you; she's getting to abdicate the job of taking care of herself or addressing consequences.You take her to get the morning-after pill; you nag her about the condoms.
Stop.She's an adult.I know you don't want responsibility for what happens if you don't stay on her, but 1) you don't have it, she does, and 2) it's not working in the first place.Sit her down one more time and tell her that, while this behavior worries you, you will no longer involve yourself with it — at all.You will not ride her to make clinic appointments or buy rubbers; nor will you go with her to get the morning-after pill again, listen to whining about when her period is supposed to come, comfort her about potential infertility that may derive from chlamydia she refuses to treat, or otherwise engage in any sympathetic response to behavior that she could have avoided.You love her, and you don't judge her; you just won't invest any more of your time or mental energy in a problem that has solutions she's declined to try and that she created herself. She's putting herself at risk for an unwanted pregnancy and/or serious disease; if that happens, you will still love her, but she will have to deal with it.
If a condom breaks, fine, you'll hear that.If she finally makes a clinic appointment and asks you to go with her, great; go, support her, give her positive reinforcement.But until she grows a brain and starts looking out for herself, you don't want to hear about it or help with it.And, you know, maybe she's just a bonehead, or maybe this is about self-loathing — whatever, it doesn't matter why.The point is that, whether or not your parental role in the situation is the root cause, it's letting her think that someone else can care about it instead of her — and that someone else will care about her if she makes them take care of her.
No more.You're friends; be her friend, not her mom.She needs to do this for herself; if she has to learn the hard way, well…
I always thought if I had a Vine question it would be an "Ask the Readers" sort of thing, but something else has cropped up that I could use your advice on, as everyone I could ask is either too involved with the situation itself or too interested in making me feel better about it to give an impartial answer.
I work for a large private university in a very small administrative department. I've been here for four years and had two bosses pretty much evenly split over that time.Because of a bunch of budget cuts and other hassles that have been making my work increasingly difficult for the last year or so, I recently started sending out resumes in an attempt to find something better.These resumes listed as my references Boss #1 and Boss #2 from this job, as well as my boss from the job I had before my current one.
Last week, Boss # 2 was fired for falsifying expense reports before he actually became my boss (he'd been at the university in various positions for some time).Our department is basically being shut down, and though I technically am being absorbed into another department, the intensity of my job search has gone up another couple of levels.Only now, I find myself wondering what to do about my references.
The contact information for Boss # 2 is no longer correct on the resumes I already sent out, but that alone is not the problem.Is it even proper to include him on my reference list any more? What should I say if I'm contacted by one of the employers that has the resume with his name on it?If I take him off the list, should I say anything to explain why the most recent reference on my list is someone I haven't worked for in over two years?
On a more personal note, as he was being escorted out of the office, Boss #2 asked me to call him in a few days.I may have to if I'm going to have to ask him if it's okay to leave him on my reference list, but I really don't feel like speaking to him, at least for a while.I've learned some things about exactly what he did and when he knew he was being investigated that have changed my perceptions of the kind of person he is and how much I can trust him.I'd just email him, but the only email address I have is the work address that he won't have access to anymore.Am I being a baby about this?Should I just suck it up and call him and try to keep the conversation as professional as possible?
This situation has affected me emotionally far more than I would have expected (I didn't sleep at all the night after I found out), with the unfortunate result that everyone I've spoken to about it now treats me as if I'm not capable of handling anything other than the most comforting clichés, lest I burst into tears again.So I could really use some patented Sars straight talk here, if you got it.
If they'd fired me too, at least I wouldn't have to get up in the morning
The first question to answer is whether you still want the guy on your reference list.I think you don't.I don't see an up side, honestly, unless it's a glowing recommendation, which won't mean much coming from this guy at this point; do you want to muddy those HR waters by wondering if you should explain that your best/most recent rec came from a guy campus security took out of his office?
It sucks to have to do, it's awkward, and on top of that it's not even your fault, but if I were you, I would call to follow up with the various places you've sent your c.v.Explain that Boss #2's contact information is now incorrect and he's no longer available because he left the department; if the HR rep wants more information, it's not my sense that you should give it, so you may want to check with your own HR contact to see whom you can refer people to for carefully couched information.
On future résumés, don't list Boss #2; if anyone asks why the gap in references, give the same explanation: "Boss #2 is no longer with the university, for reasons that allegations rather not go into it blah blah contact such-and-so blah."
Whatever you decide to tell them, you need to tell them something and seem proactive — but you need to rehearse it about a hundred times so it sounds professional and flat.Practice a tone of mild regret; don't sound nervous, and think of every possible follow-up question so you can answer it readily.
As for calling Boss #2, yeah, I'd just get that over with.Let him know he's off your reference list, tell him to take care, and try to get off the call; if he's all angling for sympathy or over-apologizing, don't tell him it's okay.Just thank him for saying whatever, wish him well, and hang up.I'm sure he's got problems and I'm sure he feels alone, but he hung you out to dry with this and he can live with that.
I finished my master's in December and moved 450 miles to try to find a job near my boyfriend. Through a connection from grad school, I met a very awesome and competent professional at a local university who let me volunteer for her in what ended up being a mix of internship and research partnership. It was a great experience, and I built up a ton of useful skills that I will be deploying in my new professional position at a different university, starting next month.
At the end of my internship, she asked me if I would write a letter of support to her supervisor. She has been working on some innovative and exciting projects with her supervisor, who is the dean of a major program, and has no doubt that her performance review will go well, but she thinks (and I agree) that any supporting material can't hurt.
The only problem I'm having is that I know her supervisor — I worked as her (paid) personal assistant and helped her set up house, move boxes, and so on. We developed a friendly relationship, although not a relationship of equals. So I'm not sure what tone to use and how to reference the fact that I know the director when I write the letter.
Would it be inappropriate to throw in something personal near the beginning or the end ("I really enjoyed getting to know you and learning about your career" etc.) in this letter, or would that make it sound like I'm trying to push on my personal connection with the director? Do I write it without acknowledging that I know and like the director in order for the letter to be taken seriously? Also, should I mention that I am writing the letter for it to be included in my mentor's personnel file, or is there another way to make that obvious?
Any guides out there for writing letters like this?
Throw in a cover letter — short, not too familiar, something like, "Dear Supervisor, Enclosed please find a letter of support for Mentor's personnel file.I had a fantastic experience working with her on X and want to" so on and so forth, new paragraph, "I hope you're well and that [Y project I remember from working for you] is proceeding apace."Closing, sign.Separate piece of paper: letter of support.
Not acknowledging that you know the supervisor is, I think, weird, but I also think you don't want that to become part of the letter itself, which is about your internship with your mentor and not about the three of y'all's six degrees of work-aration.So, a brief, pleasant but not overly friendly cover letter should do the trick.
Tags: etiquette friendships health and beauty sex workplace