Ask Colette Advice


How to Speak Your Truth to a Friend

Dear Colette, Someone I know well (let’s call him Bob) was recently “terminated” (his word) from his job. Bob is also friends with my supervisor since all of our children have grown up together both in school and on the sports field. Since I work at a large firm, Bob left me a voice mail…

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Lending Money to Relatives

Dear Colette,   How do you deal with family members who are always (and I do mean always) asking for money but don’t always pay back the money borrowed? I’m one of six siblings, the one with the better job and no children, so my siblings think I’m rolling in money! Sure, I have my…

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Know-it-All on the Trail

Dear Colette, I’m a docent at a botanical garden and lead a monthly walk, preceded by a 15-minute talk about the plants, indigenous peoples or other relevant  topics. Training to be a docent is a rigorous, 10-week, in-depth program, complete with a thick binder of information. The training concludes with a difficult written and walking…

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Healthy Communication versus Being Passive-digressive™

Dear Colette, I love what you teach about being clear and direct in your communication versus being passive- digressiveTM . However, this can produce a catch-22, as men don’t expect women to be direct. There’s even research published that shows when women are direct, we’re perceived as *itches. The exception is when we speak on…

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Empty Nest, What’s Next?

Dear Colette, My 18-year-old daughter went off to college a couple months ago and now my husband and I are empty-nesters — and I can’t seem to get out of my funk. I find myself crying more often, especially first thing in the morning after my husband has left for work. I’m starting to support…

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Building Boundaries

Dear Colette, As a manager in a multinational company, I’m often asked by management and others to attend meetings at rather unreasonable times of day, night, middle of the night and Sundays. Recently my manager asked me to cover one time zone. However, I continue to receive requests from him to attend meetings that are…

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How to Deal with a ‘Debbie Downer’ at Work

Dear Colette, A woman who works for me has proven herself to be a real “Debbie Downer,” continually focusing on the negative. For example, she repeatedly complains about how broke she is. I offer advice, but she seems more interested in rehashing the same old gripes than actually doing something about her situation. It’s not…

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Phraseology for Leaving a Meeting Early

Dear Colette, I have a question related to communicating assertively. I have lost hours stuck in meetings because I’m unable to tactfully excuse myself. I believe I’m a bit too passive, or I feel rude if I interrupt. What is the best way to deal with this situation?  -Wasted Time Dear Wasted Time, Keep in mind…

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How to End a Mentoring Relationship

Dear Colette, For the last few years, I’ve had a mentor at work. Throughout, I’ve received guidance, insight and confidence. I believe, however, the relationship has run its course. How do I tactfully end it? – Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Dear Breaking Up, Given the limited amount of information I have regarding your…

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