Dear Abby: A year ago, I discovered that I had a knack for creating a unique, marketable type of art. During a holiday market in which I participated, a client commissioned me to make two pieces for her. She also advised me on how I should market my art. I listened patiently but had no intention of following his advice.
When she came to my house to pick up the pieces, she brought three of her friends and started advising me again. This time she mentioned that when a person brings in a group of buying customers (like these ladies were…they bought almost everything I have) I should ALWAYS give a small ‘gift’ to the person bringing the customers (i.e. a piece of mine as a sign of gratitude).
Abby, I consider what I do my business now. I do not sell cosmetics or kitchenware for another business. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a market with friends and asked the vendor to give me a token for bringing friends who bought something. Should I do? Thank you to enlighten me.
— Budding Artist in the South
Dear artist: Someone who helps you grow your business should be thanked for their efforts – as long as it’s you and not the other person who decides what’s appropriate. Whether that comes in the form of a verbal expression of gratitude or something tangible is up to you.
While on the one hand I think it was nervous of the woman to throw this at you, on the other hand I can’t help but think that business is business – and that’s a way to promote them. Consider offering the woman a future discount.
Dear Abby: My fiancé and I were having dinner at a nice restaurant when a woman approached him. It turned out that she was one of his former girlfriends. When she looked at me questioningly, he introduced me as his “friend”! I reintroduced myself to her as her fiancée. She then looked at him and said, “Oh. Congratulations,” and walked away. For the first time, I’m seriously considering not marrying this guy. What do you think?
— More than a friend in Texas
Dear More: What happened is a red flag. I think your fiancé has a lot of explaining to do. Start the discussion with “I’m not your ‘friend’, I’m your fiancée!” I wouldn’t blame you for making this engagement a loooongong. It looks like you need to get to know him better.
Dear Abby: After telling my cousin I was gay about 20 years ago, he stopped talking to me, so I wrote him off. My life has been happy because I have strong relationships and no jealousy. Well, my aunt passed away recently. Guess that cousin will be at the memorial service. I still don’t like how it all happened all those years ago. Should I ask him if he has something to tell me? Should I face him or just leave him alone?
— Still mad in Pennsylvania
Dear Still Peeved: I see nothing positive to be gained by confronting your cousin at the memorial. Bring a close friend or your partner with you if you need emotional support. You didn’t mention if the rest of the family is as homophobic as this cousin, but at a time as emotional as this, my advice is to let the sleeping dogs lie.
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