DEAR AMY: I work at a busy hair salon as a stylist. I love my job and the salon where I work. I get along well with the other stylists. However, the stylist I work next to lets his clients bring a friend or two to stay with them while he does their hair. I can understand if it is a child, but these are adults. These friends will plop themselves down in another stylist’s chair (usually mine) and converse the whole time during their appointment. (Some of these procedures can take hours). They even, at times, bring food (the detritus of which is often left behind for me to clean). I’m as polite as I can be when I have to inform them that I need to have my chair for my clients and point out the reception area, suggesting that they might be more comfortable waiting there. Though most people will apologize and move, usually to another stylist’s chair, some people actually get angry that I’ve had the audacity to make that request. I’ve had some of his guests ask if maybe I could move! I’ve even had people walk in front of my clients while I’m working and just stand there between my client and the mirror. How would they like it if I brought my friends into their office to enjoy a pizza while I did business with another person in the company? I’ve attempted to talk to this other stylist, to no avail. What should I do?


DEAR FRUSTRATED: If you politely correct people when you ask them to move, and your request bothers them — too bad.

You should see if the salon owner can switch your chair to another station. Also ask the salon owner to enforce a no-eating rule at the hair-styling stations. It seems extremely unsanitary, unappealing and faintly gross to eat while tiny pieces of hair (not to mention chemicals and other products) are set loose in the atmosphere.

If you are trapped where you are and can’t switch chairs, speak with the neighbor stylist again and remind him that you each rent your space, and that you don’t want his clients’ guests in your space. Perhaps a piece of colored tape on the floor marking the space from your chair to the mirror will serve as a visual reminder of the sanctity of your space.

DEAR AMY: I recently attended the wedding of a daughter of a good friend. Where we live, our weddings are strictly envelope gifts. The rule of thumb is to give enough to cover your plate, which means $100 to $200 a person. After the ceremony, the reception consisted of a five-hour after-party at a club. There was lots of booze and loud music/dancing but no food. My guest and I had to leave halfway through to find a nearby cafe to get a burger, after which we returned to the party. I gave a very generous gift and I’m OK with that, but I will be seeing my friend soon, and I know she will ask me if I had a great time. How can I possibly look her in the eye and lie? It was the worst wedding I ever attended.

Terrible Liar

DEAR LIAR: There is lying, and then there is socially acceptable and polite deception. People exercise this form of social interchange every day. To do this well, you have to be vaguely polite, resist the temptation to supply any details and toss the whole thing back in the other person’s direction before they catch on.

When you see your friend, ask her if she and her family and the wedded couple had a good time. If she asks you what you thought of the wedding, you can say, “I was so happy to be there and to celebrate with all of you. Thank you for inviting us. I’m very happy for the couple. Did they have a blast?”

DEAR AMY: I’m responding to “Want to do Right’s” letter about wanting to apologize to his long-ago ex-girlfriend for treating her badly before he dies. I am an ex-girlfriend whose first love recently passed away from leukemia. We hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years. I would give anything to speak with him just one more time, to let him know I forgave him for how he treated me back then and that I always loved him. I hope this man reaches out before it’s too late.


DEAR SAD: Me too.