Answer Back

Published: Fri 22 Jun 2012, 3:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:53 PM

Toxic friends

Have you ever got to the point where you’re rescheduling your arrival to the office, your lunchtime, coffee break, and even your departure time — all to avoid someone? I have and it was not easy to pull off. Reading Are Your Friends Bringing You Down? (Jun 15) reminded me of the many reasons I had reached this breaking point with a once-dear office colleague. My colleague and I had originally bonded over office politics but I soon found her company simply toxic. I didn’t care anymore who got a fast-track promotion, who stole someone else’s idea or which office couples called it quits. I realised that when I spent time with her, there were numerous by-products: my maturity level plummeted, I viewed others’ success negatively and ultimately, I was not myself. Slowly, I started concocting excuses to avoid lunches, coffees and weekend gatherings with her. And even though I miss some of the light-hearted laughter, I can clearly see the need to weed out relationships that drag us down. Ultimately, I realised that it’s often better not to share your problems or gossip with others — some old-fashioned introspection can go a long way. - Lata Acharya

Congratulations, Lata Acharya (by email) on your winning entry! We will be in touch with you shortly.

Double trouble

Working from home can come with its share of disadvantages — one of them being the incessant phone calls from family members wanting to discuss problems. Are Your Friends Bringing You Down? (Jun 15) was a stark reminder of how not only friends but family can bring you down as well. First, my 37-year-old sister will call to vent about still being single. Next, my father rings during his afternoon break to explain how if my sister does not get married ASAP, my mother will ‘lose it’. Finally, my mother calls with the highly emotional finale about how she’s getting older and needs to see my sister get hitched, and play with her grandchildren. I appreciate being able to serve as a sounding board for everyone, but after a while, I feel emotionally drained and even bored. I can predict the exact path each call will take as soon as the phone rings. I just hope my dear sister gets married soon so I can look forward to call-free afternoons with my own relaxing cup of tea. - Anita Suresh, Dubai

In spite of the absence of some regular contributors, the ‘Staying Alive’ issue stayed alive in my mind (Jun 15). The article on the Bee Gees was interesting, informative and made me search the Net for the song Staying Alive that evoked memories of college talent nights. I also felt that the points covered in the Girl Talk article are not restricted to women alone. There are many people with whom we share our troubles and see it double. In our quest to make a living, we let small and insignificant issues dominate and leave us feeling stressed. Those we choose to share our troubles with is more troubled than us. Let us remember we have the power to add happiness to our lives through our own habits — and let us do it now before it gets too late. -C Sunil Roy, Dubai

Fashion sense

I loved the article From India, With Love on India-inspired fashion (Jun 15). Indian fashion is making its mark across international ramps and international designers are continuing to be inspired by Indian art and textiles, while trying to incorporate them into their own designs. - Kinjal M, by email

Enough Masala

I really loved the article Sorry for the Interruption (Jun 15). It’s so true! Bollywood has a few great directors, but the rest are all still stuck with the stupidity of nonsense masala movies. What we need is a healthy balance — which clearly doesn’t exist! -Vishal Kanjani, by email

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