butt in or out?
We don’t like our daughter’s boyfriend. We thought they would break up when they graduated, but they’re still dating in college. A divorced friend says she wishes her parents had told her they didn’t like her ex before they got married. Another friend says we should butt out and let the relationship run its course. What do you think?

beth: Helicopter parents follow their kids’ relationships daily on Instagram. Concierge parents begin planning the wedding (or divorce) right after the first date. Free-range parents are incommunicado while on their global trek as empty nesters. There may be a better way. If you already freely share your opinions with your daughter and she regularly seeks your counsel on big decisions, this should be no exception. On the other hand, if she manages most decisions independently, you may want to be more cautious. In either case, do a gut check to make sure you’re not projecting your own unrealized marital expectations (or Cinderella-type fantasies) on your daughter.

jill: I like a middle-way approach. If you make it clear you’re on team break-up, you’ll probably cause your daughter to feel defensive and cling more tightly to her boyfriend. Be honest (in a kind and loving way) about your hesitations. Then, listen to your daughter’s response. Make room for her perspective. That way, you’re not suppressing your concerns, but you’re allowing for the possibility that she’ll be happy with someone who isn’t your top choice.

My boss likes me and we have good rapport, but he’s crass and can be critical. I know his style is causing others in the office to consider leaving. Should I be honest with him or just mind my own beeswax?

beth: If you like your boss enough to put yourself out there, this feedback could be a tremendous gift, and here’s why. Dissatisfaction with a supervisor causes talented people to leave their jobs. A good leader wants to know about any blind spots. But giving critical feedback is hard to do well. Think of specific examples when your boss has been crass. Then imagine his possible positive intentions. Was it because he felt comfortable with everyone? Or was it meant to be motivational? In either case, find a time to tell him that his behavior may not be landing the way he thinks. You can help him see that a small change can have a significant impact on the team. Be specific and know that he might become defensive.

jill: I think Beth is spot on. There is no way to know how your boss will respond. Still, having tough conversations (fueled by bravery and integrity) is the way to go. Avoiding a direct discussion with your boss just pushes the problem further down the road.

Jill Farmer is a master certified life coach, author and time management aficionado. Beth Chesterton is a master certified executive coach and an expert in organizational development. If you have a question that needs an honest answer, email advice@townandstyle.com