Introducing our NEW Column “Ask Gretchen” with Gretchen Hydo:

"Ask Gretchen Advice Column"Dear Gretchen:
How do you recommend talking to a friend who is making poor choices in her life (men, alcohol), but gets extremely defensive when you bring it up? – Adrienne S., Sherman Oaks, CA

Dear Adrienne: If your friend isn’t asking, then she doesn’t want your opinion. As harsh as that sounds, it’s better to wait for the question rather than bestowing your unsolicited point of view on someone else. Even when trying to help, unwanted advice can make others feel judged. When you wait to be asked, you set the stage to be heard. Anything else will fall on deaf ears and can create resentments. – Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: I have a friend from high school who I’ve kept in touch with over the years, except for the last two. I heard through the grapevine that he’s going through a bad divorce, and he’s pretty broken up about it. I’d like to get in touch and see how he is doing. Should I play dumb and wait for him to bring it up or should I mention the rumored divorce? – Friend of Divorced Guy, Woodland Hills, CA

Dear Friend: Don’t play dumb. Call and tell him what you’ve heard and let him know that you are in his corner. Ask him if there is anything that you can do to help. Be there to listen. If you need to make an amends for not keeping in touch, do so. Relationships can withstand breaks in communication and often pick up right where they left off. Being there when someone is in need is an act of selflessness. –  Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: I’m currently involved in a career change but have not completely let go of my previous job. I spend time in each business and feel like I’m jumping back and for the between the two. I do not feel like I'm efficient with my time. I go to where the phone calls take me rather than being more disciplined. How do I make a change?- Sleepless in Sherman Oaks, CA

Dear Sleepless: Working on one business, let alone two, can be challenging. Knowing what you want to attain in each career will help you to focus on where you should be spending your time. To get some clarity, write out your long-term vision for your businesses. Remember to include how you want to feel, and what you want your personal life to look like. After you have a picture in mind, set goals for each company based on your findings. I recommend using the SMART goal approach. Make your tasks specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, with a timetable. If your goal is to transition out of your old career, start declining work offers in that area. When you do this, you will free up your time to focus on your new profession while opening yourself up to fresh opportunities. – Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: What do you recommend when colleagues, friends, contacts make a commitment (repeatedly) and fail to keep the promise they’ve made? –Flakiness is Fickle, Marina Del Rey, CA

Dear Flakiness: We teach people how to treat us. If people are continually breaking their commitments to you, ask yourself what you might be doing to create these situations. If it is just with one person, then it is a character trait that they possess that you can take note of. From your question, it seems  that this is a habitual experience that you are jutting up against and that the real solution falls within you. Do some soul searching and ask the people you trust, who are reliable, what their experience is with you. Ask yourself if the people around you feel pressured to say yes when they mean no? Are they worried about hurting your feelings? To avoid repeated flakes, leave the ball in their court and let them firm up the details. By leaving it to them, you will know their true interest. – Gretchen

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