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Ask Amy: Client crossed big boundary with kiss

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • December 3, 2012 - 2:56 PM

Dear Amy: I have been working as a freelance consultant for a nonprofit organization. I work from home and take meetings with clients.

Recently the organization hired a new director. Soon after his arrival, he asked to have lunch with me. We talked about possible projects for the future, etc.

As we were saying goodbye outside the restaurant, I reached out to shake hands. Suddenly, he kissed me on the lips. I was so shocked that I said a weak goodbye and left him standing there. I completed my assignment wondering if I wanted to work with him in the future.

I would appreciate your perspective on this situation. I wonder if this should be reported to the board of trustees. I also wonder if I am making too much of this.

Amy says: Addressing the question of whether you are making too much of this: Do your other clients kiss you on the lips after a business meeting? Does this director kiss male colleagues on the lips? I assume the answer to both questions is no.

There is a very common-sense boundary around business meetings, and it's not really that challenging or confusing to stay within the boundary.

You should write a letter to the board of trustees. Explain in very simple language what happened, i.e., "At the end of our business lunch, when I extended my hand, Mr. Smith kissed me on the lips. I was shocked at the time, and upon reflection continue to be concerned about his conduct. In my experience consulting for this organization, I have always conducted myself professionally and until now have always been treated with respect."

If the board handles this well, you could expect to revive your business relationship and work with the organization in the future.

Dad feels caught

Dear Amy: My daughter "Karen" is a pretty college grad who has taken a job in another state. She's met a number of other 20-somethings there, including a young man, "Tim," whom she has a crush on.

Tim and some guy friends came to our town this past week for a ballgame, and they stayed with us. At one point I overheard Tim say that he liked Karen very much, but he wasn't physically attracted to her.

Should we tell our daughter? I am just worried sick about how Karen will take this news. Do people ever change their feelings regarding physical attractiveness?

Amy says: Run. Run like the wind, far, far away from this issue, and repeat after me as you run: "This is not my business. This is not my business."

You are way too invested in the lives of these young adults. You have no appropriate context for the comment you overheard. Please, do yourself a favor and unhear it.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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