Princesses don’t pay bills

Joey needs a nap.

My girlfriend is a total princess. I thought this was funny until we moved in together five months ago. She never has money to pay her portion of our monthly bills, but she always has money to go shopping or party with her friends. She shorted me $400 on the rent and utilities this month and bought a $300 purse. I love her, but I’m not going to bail her out every month. How do I get her to understand?

Spoiler alert: Your girlfriend loves her lifestyle more than she loves you. As long as you live with your princess, you will be her servant. If you’re not ready to accept the truth, type up a contract itemizing her monthly financial responsibilities. Include the date each month when these amounts must be paid to you. Ask your girlfriend to sign the contract. If she refuses or fails to pay, start looking for a new place to live. Unless, of course, you prefer to continue to cajole her and complain while she ignores you in favor of another $300 handbag or her next “gotta have it” item.

I met my roommate and her co-workers for drinks, and I hit it off with a guy she works with. My roommate was cool about it, so when he asked me out, I said yes. On our first date, he told me some really personal stuff that made me uncomfortable. When he called after the date, conversation was really awkward. Later, when I met everyone for drinks again, he acted like he didn’t know me. Everyone knew we were inseparable at the previous get-together, so it was really weird. I will be out again with this group. How should I handle it?

Be pleasant, but respect the boundary he has established. Sometimes when people have endured trauma, then hidden it for years, it blurts out unexpectedly. This is especially true if that person has recently started psychotherapy. That may not be his situation, but you should still see this as an opportunity to be generous to a man who felt safe enough to share his history with you. Alcohol may have eased the disclosure or you might have displayed qualities that led him to believe he could trust you. Either way, the only problem here is your judgment. Please try to remember that all of us are in the process of learning how to be human beings. We do it imperfectly in minor and major ways, every day. That’s reason enough for you to be kind.

I work with a total slacker. He says he’s going on sales calls and then heads to the movies or back home. He has one account that pays freakishly well, so he never gets caught. It’s not fair. Why do some people get away with murder?

Don’t allow frustration about a seemingly unfair situation to stampede your good sense. Your workmate is not getting away with murder. He’s content to invest only the amount of effort necessary to earn what he needs. Yes, he may be cheating the company. Or he might have an agreement with superiors to work part time for full-time pay.

Sales jobs are usually about dollars dragged in, not hours clocked in. Believing otherwise creates drama in your head that distracts you from achieving your goals. Shed your “It’s not fair” story. If you want to harness the inner resources required to propel yourself forward, practice fairness in your interactions with others. Don’t expect other people to live according to values you admire. Doing so places your focus on them, instead of you, and that only creates more drama.

Meditation of the Week

“Greed is not a virtue, sharing is not a sin,” says David C. Korten, author of <i>Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth</i>. When is greed, the excessive and destructive desire for more, in charge of your life?