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Deals & Steals

Benefit Cosmetics LLC

4. You forget someone’s name you’ve met before.
This is a common problem, so Post recommends just being honest and laughing about it. “If someone’s upset about it, assure the person that it’s not an insult at all, that it’s just a problem for you,” she says. But definitely make sure he knows how sorry you are and if the problem persists, do some work on your part to become more adept at remembering names.

5. One of your coworkers has been fired or laid off.
In today’s economy, this situation is becoming more common. Many times, workers are asked to leave immediately, creating an uncomfortable-for-everyone scenario where someone has to pack up her belongings in front of others. Post advises never to underestimate the comforting power of the words “I’m sorry” in any awkward situation, including in the workplace. “I think it’s perfectly acceptable to approach her and say, ‘I just heard, I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?’”

However, she warns that this is definitely not the time to offer advice like “buck up,” “your resume is great,” or “don’t worry, there are tons of jobs out there.” Says Post, “Sometimes, we have to just let people be in the moment and feel the sadness and confusion at hand. Life isn’t about being happy all the time and we need to learn how to get through the sad times and support people experiencing them.”

6. Someone gives you a gift, but you didn’t buy her one.
Christmas, Hanukah, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween … the marketers of the world have done a good job of making us feel compelled to give gifts on even the most insignificant of holidays. So how do we recover when someone hands us a beautifully-wrapped package and we don’t have anything for her in return? “Gift giving isn’t reciprocal—it doesn’t mean you have to give one back if you get one,” says Post. After all, the sentiment should be about finding something special for someone and wanting to give it to her because we know she’ll enjoy and appreciate it. Post advises that we focus on accepting the gift with grace, thank the person, and then move on. “You can do something for her another time, but don’t make up a white lie,” she says. “That’s what people expect to hear when they know that someone hasn’t thought of them.”

7. An invited guest shows up at your dinner party with an uninvited guest.
As much as we’d like to club someone over the head for causing us to defrost another steak and scooch another place setting into our beautifully-set table, Post recommends playing the good host in this situation by accommodating the unexpected person and making him feel as welcome as possible. Generally, the uninvited person has no idea that the invited guest has committed a faux pas, so there’s no point in making things uncomfortable by making a fuss about it or denying the person access. Post does recommend, however, that at a different time, you let your invited guest know that in the future, you’d appreciate a call in advance so that you’re able to accurately prepare food and set enough places for everyone.

The truth is, we can clear the hurdle of almost any awkward situation by starting with an apology (if the situation warrants one) and keeping three principles in mind when trying to decide what to do—consideration, honesty, and respect. Says Post, “If these are at the forefront of your actions, you’ll be headed down the right path.” Of course, try telling that to the not-pregnant woman you bought a baby gift for.

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