Is it really your place to say something?

Dear Ella,
Amanda, one of my closest friends is talented, beautiful and getting larger by the minute. Since the birth of her last child, who is now five, she has steadily gained weight. At a recent family event, her sister took me aside to convey her concern. “She has no control and has trouble breathing now,” she said. “Can’t you say something to help her?”

I have been friends with Amanda for many years and have always accepted her, extra poundage and all. I don’t even see her weight, as she is so much more than that. However, now that her sister has brought it up and enlightened me about her family’s horrible genes, maybe I should bring it up. I’m not sure it’s my place, or even how to broach the subject. Should I?
Is it Really My Place?

Dear Is it Really My Place?
Weight is a very delicate subject. I can assure you that Amanda is fully aware of her plus-size body and would be more than happy to shed the extra weight if it were that easy. Even though she may need help, she is in the driver’s seat.

You, on the other hand, are her friend of many years and you love her. Instead of pointing out the obvious, be there for her in a different way. Go out for long walks. Invite her for dinner and prepare a healthy meal. Maybe sign up for healthy cooking classes or a gym together.

I’m guessing time is a problem for Amanda if she has a young family. If you are sensitive to her timetable, you may be able to get her on the road to a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, however, this is Amanda’s choice. She is the one who will make up her mind to lose weight when and if she’s ready. To quote from a health magazine, “The secret of success is not to give a push, but to grease the path.”

Be supportive and encouraging, never pushy or judgemental. Help her get over her roadblocks and feel good about herself. Above all, listen and be there for her through every step of this physically and emotionally challenging journey.

Dear Ella,
This past weekend, I missed my one and only nephew’s bar mitzvah. I was so sick, I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow. One of my co-workers came to work hacking and sneezing last week. I work in an office where the windows don’t open and we all share the same recirculating air.

I had gone up to her and asked politely if she could work from home so the rest of us don’t get sick. She kept saying, “I’m leaving soon.” Soon lasted till 4 p.m. I can’t even look at her right now. Why do people do this? Don’t they realize how selfish it is?
No Common Decency

Dear No Common Decency,
This is typically the time of year where people get sick with colds and flu, which is why the flu shot is so widely encouraged.

There can be many reasons why people come to work sick: they don’t get paid for sick days; they have a deadline to meet; they don’t want to be perceived as lazy; they don’t have the ability to work from home; the boss will see them as weak; their colleagues will have to take on extra work. Truly, the list can go on and on. There is no definitive answer for when the right time to stay home from work is. Common sense is key.

Regardless of a deadline, or lack of pay, if you are actively hacking, sneezing, have chills and sweats and you are sure it’s not allergies, stay home. If you have a fever, there is no guess work. Stay home.

On the other hand, if you have a runny nose, no fever, a lingering dry cough and just feel run down, you can still come in to get what you have to do done. Over- the-counter medication may help get you through the day. Wash or sanitize your hands often. Be aware of the things you touch that others touch, too, like a coffee pot, photocopier or door handle.

Everyone will appreciate it, even your boss, and for sure your colleagues.