I'm Just Say'n

A fair shake

Be proactive to fend off hug-hunting co-workers

Dear Carolyn,

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. Email Carolyn at [email protected].

How can a nonhugger survive in a huggie world? I don’t like to be grabbed by the big burly men I work with. Is that so bad? They are all huggers. They hug me when I come in to work. They hug me when I leave to go get lunch. All hugging, all the time. I don’t know how to get myself out of a big bear hug without looking like a you-know-what (rhymes with witch).

You do realize you don’t have to allow grown men to paw you without your consent, right?

Any suggestions? I work for a trucking company, and the huggers are decent guys who don’t mean anything by it — I just don’t like to be hugged.


Dear Sue,

You do realize you don’t have to allow grown men to paw you without your consent, right? You have a good arm, don’t you? When a hugger hurtles himself at you, stick out that good arm and shake his hand. And then do it to all his buddies. Smile, be nice about it. If they demand an explanation, just say you are really not a hugger. The direct approach works every time. The smile sweetens the pot.

I’m just say’n.


A divorcee’s confusion

Dear Carolyn,

To read Carolyn’s blog on your smartphone, scan this tag. Search “QR code reader” in your phone’s app store to find a decoder.

My husband and I divorced last year. We have three small boys and decided that we would take the high road and not drag them through some horrible messy thing. The reason we got divorced is because he had an affair with an old girlfriend. It was brief and he broke it off and told me. I couldn’t handle the betrayal and got a quickie divorce while I was still furious.

Anyway, since then, we’ve really been getting along! He helps me out with the boys way more than he ever did when we were married. Sometimes I even go along on their play dates since he always arranges something fun. He’s been wonderful about paying child support on time, and I still do the books for his trucking business.

When we are out with the boys, people assume we are married. Neither of us is dating, but it’s because we are so busy with work/boys and separate living conditions.

What do you think about this? My mother says it’s confusing to the children. I have to admit, it’s kind of confusing to me, too!

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Dear Patti,

I can see why you might be confused. The great guy you describe seems like perfect husband/father material. Maybe we should start there. It seems to me like you rushed to a divorce that may have been unnecessary. The two of you seem very compatible. Let’s work on that first. Before you start dating again, consider the good husband/father material right in front of you. Spend some time alone and see if the old sparks start to fly. That’s perfectly OK with me.

As far as your mother’s concerns about it being confusing to the boys — I’m confused. Would she prefer a bitter, scorched-earth divorce where the boys are pawns in an adult game of King of the Hill? Because that really chaps my lips.

I’m just say’n.


Slaying that to-do list

Dear Carolyn,

I am a terrible procrastinator. How can I get through my to-do [list]? I put it off and put it off, and then nothing gets done. I’m constantly apologizing to people for not doing what I said I would do. I hate this about myself.


Dear Jim,

All of us have the urge to put off the things that must be done. What works for me is to do the thing I want to do least, first. The big hairy monster gets slayed, and then I zip through the rest of the list.

I’m just say’n.