Ask Joey: Not his stepping-stone

Joey Garcia

I had lunch with a younger, very attractive guy I met online. When the check came, he mentioned the place where I work by name. I was caught off guard, because I never told him where I work. He said he recognized me from my profile on the company website, had been trying to get a job there and asked if I would help. Obviously, it was awkward, but he has been leaving messages and sounds genuinely apologetic. He wants to go out again. I am not sure whether it’s a good idea, although we got along well. What do you think?

Oh, honey! Remember when he mentioned your workplace and you realized you had never told him? OK, if you were watching yourself in a film, the soundtrack would feature a crescendo at the moment your realization hit. Then, the audience would gasp. If a one-hour lunch produces that much dramatic tension, it’s not hard to imagine the chaos that a relationship would generate. So, no, you should not become his stepping-stone. If you do, you will always wonder if he was truly interested in you or whether he used you to get a job.

Think of it this way: A trustworthy man would have started his email with an admission: “Hello, (your online name here)! You look really familiar. I think I have seen you on the (your company name here) website. I am a (his profession here) and have been trying to join your firm for a while. Would you be interested in meeting and talking about personal and professional interests? Let me know at your earliest convenience. Best, (his real name here).”

See the difference? Hey, don’t be flattered because a hot young man set a trap online for you. Protect your personal and career interests. This man’s behavior is predatory, not professional. Respond accordingly.

One of my favorite things about retirement is being home alone. My wife is still working but plans to stop in about a year. It’s all I think about because I realize I don’t want to have to be her audience during the day. She is high-maintenance in the attention department, and it’s a relief not to have to be around her. I worry that I am headed for divorce, because I can’t imagine dealing with her all day long.

Please stop worrying. The more you allow your mind to pretend it knows what will happen, the less freedom you have to experience and create an enjoyable life now. In a year, your wife could be a different person. You might be, too. So, surrender yourself to the present moment. Doing so will ensure that you have whatever it takes to face the future. And who knows? Your wife might busy herself with volunteer activities or shift into a fresh way to interact with the world and with you.

I am struggling to stay on a gluten-free diet for health reasons. One benefit: I have lost 30 pounds. My co-workers, all female and overweight, are always pushing food on me and saying I’m too skinny. I have explained that I can’t eat the stuff they are forcing on me, but they act like I’m being rude. I need a snappy comeback, please.

Practice two magic words: Thank you. When a co-worker says: “You are too skinny.” Say: “Thank you!” If someone says: “I baked chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Have one.” Say: “Thank you. No.” If being honest feels too hard, examine why. The fear of not fitting in, for example, can become a filter. When people voice their opinions your filter translates every opinion into a stinging criticism. But if you trust that everyone is entitled to an opinion, responding to comments with gratitude is easier.

Meditation of the week
“There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees,” wrote Victor Hugo. Such moments of joy and of awe are frequent during the Sacramento French Film Festival, opening this weekend at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street). See you there!

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