DEAR AMY: I am a professional in an office that has two administrative assistants, "Mary" and "Sue." Mary has decided that she has it in for Sue. Mary is constantly monitoring everything Sue does, especially what time Sue comes in and what time she leaves. This monitoring has gone so far that even on days when Mary is out she will text other employees to ask what time Sue came and went. Now Mary has taken it upon herself to talk to their supervisor, tattling about days when Sue has left early. Sue has no idea how much Mary has it in for her and how far she is going. My dilemma is this: Should I tell Sue what I know? Specifically, that Mary is talking to Sue's supervisor? Or, should I just let the supervisor handle it?
DEAR PERPLEXED: You should let "Sue" know that "Mary" monitors her whereabouts. Tell her, "I think you should know that Mary has been double-checking what time you come and go at work. I'm just giving you a heads-up." Otherwise, I don't think it's wise to report to Sue on any possible conversations Mary is having with the supervisor. Your doing so would amount to you monitoring Mary's activities -- and reporting them second hand. Sue is responsible for what, if anything, she wants to do about the information you provide to her.
DEAR AMY: I am a 23-year-old male. I met a girl online when I was 18 and she was 16. We really connected and talked daily (via Skype) for many months. We eventually fell for each other. The problem is that she lives in Brazil, so I have never actually met her in person. Over time we slowly grew apart because of the distance. She got a boyfriend and I got a girlfriend. We have tried to be "just friends" on and off since then. Sometimes she breaks it off with me and sometimes I break it off with her, saying it's just too hard because every time we communicate, old feelings come back. Five years later, I still think about her every day and night. Even when I was dating, I never felt how I did with her. Sometimes I just want to buy a plane ticket and show up at her door. The last time we talked was about six months ago. What should I do?
DEAR SAD: Do not book a ticket and show up at her door. But do move in that possible direction.
This relationship has been such a longstanding fascination for you that you should now be brave, open and transparent. Contact her and tell her exactly how you feel. Let her know that you would like to meet in person. She may be in another relationship now, or there may be family reasons or other reasons that she does not want to take this relationship any further. This is when your bravery turns into courage -- you must accept whatever she says and if she gives you a negative response, you will then have to work very hard to recover from this relationship and move on.
If your efforts don't succeed and you find that thoughts of this relationship interfere with your ability to be happy in other relationships, you should see a counselor.
DEAR AMY: More on the question of whether to intervene if you see a parent bullying a child. A man was carrying a screaming child out of a supermarket. People all smiled ruefully at the man but not the child. I stepped up and said to the little boy, "Wow, you sure are giving your daddy a hard time, aren't you. This is your daddy, right?" Amazingly, the dad stopped, said he was the dad and the little boy agreed. And the dad thanked me, saying he could see how no one would know if this had been a child taken against his will. It can be dangerous to step in, but more dangerous for the child if you don't.
Happy I Did
DEAR HAPPY: Exactly. Thank you.