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By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, Published December 23 2011

Annie's Mailbox: Keep relationship professional

Dear Annie: I’ve begun to develop strong feelings for one of my managers at work. She is beautiful both inside and out and fun to be around. When I am near her, I behave properly, but inside, my heart is going pitter-pat.

I want to do the honorable thing and keep our relationship strictly professional, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity. There are certain things she does around me that come across as flirting, but it’s possible I am misreading her. What should I do? – Hopelessly Smitten

Dear Smitten: Is this woman in a position of authority over you? If so, any relationship could put her job in jeopardy, and we recommend you keep it strictly business until one of you leaves the company. Otherwise, the usual caveats apply. Forming personal relationships at work can be risky because if things don’t work out, you still have to be around this person every day – or quit your job. The choice is yours.

Dear Annie: My roommate, “Jennifer,” and I began sharing a one-bedroom apartment a few months ago. The problem is her behavior when my boyfriend visits. Each time, I have politely asked whether she minded his coming over. She replies that it’s fine with her. My boyfriend and I would sit in the living room chatting and watching TV for a couple of hours. Nothing else. Jennifer would pointedly sequester herself in the bedroom, and after he left, she would snidely imply that we should hang out somewhere else. A couple of times, she left in a huff during his visit, only to return later and ignore me for the rest of the night.

My boyfriend is a nice guy, and we take pains not to show affection in public. He never stays too long or comes over at odd hours. Most importantly, he visits less than once a week.

Annie, am I wrong to feel entitled to visits from my boyfriend in my own apartment? Jennifer and I are both new to the area and are still making friends. I worry that she would behave the same way if I were to bring other people over. I want to be sensitive to her preferences, but if she had it her way, I’d probably be unwelcome in my own apartment.

What should I do when her behavior becomes unacceptable? – Nine Months Left on the Lease

Dear Nine Months: Jennifer is not being particularly accommodating, but this is a one-bedroom apartment, and when you have a guest over, she feels crowded out. It would help if she periodically entertained friends as well, but she doesn’t, so she reacts poorly to yours. One solution would be to invite over a couple of new people and do something together. Another is to see your boyfriend at his place. But you also should discuss this with Jennifer and ask how you can alleviate her discomfort when your boyfriend drops by.

Dear Annie: “Aunt Jane” wrote about her “rude, unlikable” sister-in-law and her likewise ill-mannered children. She said she didn’t want to create a problem, but there already is a problem because nobody will take a stand to stop this behavior.

Here’s my advice: She should talk to her siblings and make sure her brother passes it along to his angry wife, saying, “We’ve put up with this rude behavior long enough, and we’re not going to tolerate it. We expect basic courtesy from her and her children, and we won’t allow them to belittle people we love in front of us.” When this behavior rears its head at the next function, you say, “We really want to have a loving family, but we won’t put up with this anymore. If we have to say it again, you will be asked to leave.”

I had to do this, and the people involved either changed or stopped coming around. We are better off without them. – A Former Aunt Jane

Dear Annie: I wrote the letter signed “Alone in Omaha,” telling you that I was having major brain surgery and no one would be in the hospital with me during this time.

Thank you for your advice to call my family and tell them. I did that. I let them know it would be good to have someone here, and they came through. My father is coming, my sister is driving 10 hours from Oklahoma, and my brother will be here, too. I also joined an epilepsy support group, and the people are all so kind and said they will help me out. – No Longer Alone in Omaha

Dear Omaha: Thank you so much for letting us know, and we hope your surgery is successful. Hundreds of our readers, even those not from Omaha, wrote to say they would sit by your side during the surgery so you would not be alone. God bless every single one of them.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.