Dear Margo: There Is Such A Thing As Standards

My friend is a hypocrite. Should I end our relationship? Margo Howard’s advice

There Is Such a Thing as Standards

Dear Margo: I have a friend I’ll call Betsy. She was married to Bill for 18 years. Bill left her for another woman. Fast-forward five years. Betsy works her butt off (literally), loses weight and is back in the dating game. She meets Dan, a married man, and has an affair with him. Dan eventually feels like the creep he is and confesses everything to his wife. She forgives him, and they try to move on with their lives. Betsy is furious and tries to do everything in her power to get Dan back, but he wants nothing to do with her.

Here is my dilemma: When Bill cheated on Betsy and left her for another woman, that woman was a hussy — and a few other things that are not printable. But Betsy feels she has done nothing wrong. I think Betsy is as bad as the woman Bill left her for, and I told her as much. I can no longer stand the sight of her. She knows what it’s like to have your husband cheat on you, but she doesn’t care. Betsy thinks that if I were a real friend, I would take her side. But I have morals, and she’s known for a long time what I think of cheaters. How do I break away from her? –Cindy in Boston

Dear Cin: You say, “Betsy, dear, au revoir.” Life is choices, and because you no longer have a high opinion of this woman, the friendship is no longer viable. For whatever reason, she did not translate the pain inflicted on her to her own actions as “the other woman.” She also evidently misconstrued the Biblical admonition, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” and decided it meant: “Do unto others what was done to you.” –Margo, proactively

Me, Me, Me and I

Dear Margo: I’m a 30-something manager with a much older woman working under me. We get along OK, though our communication styles are quite different. We communicate by e-mail, as well as face-to-face conversations. Whenever we do communicate in person, she never asks about me. I’ll ask how her weekend was, how is the family, but she never reciprocates. She will simply go on and on, giving too many details in answer to a basic question.

Anyway, I’d like to know how to tell her I find it rude that she never asks about me. It’s not so much that I like to talk about myself; I just find the conversation one-sided. Something I learned in college is that people love to talk about themselves, so I’m always asking how someone is, and I follow up on previous conversations. Is it too much to expect the same from someone who is beyond me in years? I’m also asking for management reasons. If she can’t ask me how I am, how can I expect her to have a two-way conversation with a customer? –Young’un in Texas

Dear Young: I have a mechanistic suggestion for you: Stop asking her anything, thereby cutting off that avenue. Unfortunately, there are people who come up short in the politesse department; happy to tell you everything about themselves, but never asking about you. And the reason is obvious: They have no real interest. Because you are her superior, however, if you have reason for concern that she has no give-and-take with the customers, by all means inform her that the one-way approach is not good for business. Use your own interactions with her as an example should she not seem to know what you are talking about. Don’t be intimidated by her age. –Margo, bravely

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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70 comments so far.

  1. avatar VJ Dark says:

    Others have said it; LW #2 sorely needs to hear it and read it again: Get over yourself, and do your job and let someone else be free to do hers. You sound narcissistic and entitled.
    Stop calling coercion of others “courtesy”. It’s what they mean by the saying “Don’t s-it on my cupcake and call it frosting.”

  2. avatar Lym BO says:

    CIndy in Boston: Perhaps you can try introducing Betsy to some available men or giving her some ideas how to do this. She may be bewildered how to do this. I would be. If she continues down a downward spiraling path you don’t approve of morally then dump her. But do remember she is likely flailing as a single gal and isn’t sure which way is up. When Bill cheated on her, she lost her future, her self-esteem, etc. She is simply trying to regain that albeit via someone else’s hubby. She needs direction without condemnation. She knows it was wrong–or will realize it soon.

  3. avatar Lym BO says:

    Love, love, love your last sentence in “There is Something Such as Standards’!

  4. avatar Cool One says:

    Gee, did my boss write in? No, I will NOT ask about my boss’ personal life. He’s single and childless and in many ways still building his life. I’m married with adult children. He never volunteers, and I prefer not to fraternize with management. 

    At times, I have to tell my boss something, like, “I’m going to have a medical procedure on Monday, so I’ll be out for a couple of days.” This may seem like oversharing, but company rules specify that he know at least something about why I am out. If I am out with my disabled husband, I feel I need to explain a bit more in order to justify the Family Medical Leave.

    However, nearly everyone in the building comes to me when my expertise is needed. As to our customers, they appreciate that I can be reached when they need something, unlike my boss or most of my coworkers.