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Whinging colleague
Dear Emma
I am at a loss. One of my colleagues at work is constantly whinging aobut something. She is either sick, has a headache, is stressed out, it’s her kid, you name it and she will complain. I realize that she is under a lot of stress from our boss who has picked her as the “whipping boy” of the company but her hang dog “woe is me” expression makes her a target as well.
I feel badly for her, I really do. But she is making me crazy and her constant negativity is really getting to be too much. I don’t know how to tell her that she is managing to kill off the sympathy people do feel for her with her constant complaints.
Can you help me here Emma?
Sick of the complaints

Dear Sick,
It does make the workplace less congenial when one has a constantly complaining workmate. And even more so to see that workmate persecuted and bullied and one can do nothing or very little to help. I must be honest here and tell you I have no real solution to this problem. If you tell her that she complains too much then it will just feed her insecurities, make her even more hangdog and most likely just create resentment against you. Something that will make a less than congenial atmosphere downright chilly!
If you stand up to the bully boss then you risk losing your job too. There are several options you can consider; you will need to decide how they best suit your needs. Firstly, ignore the complaints. Pretend you don’t hear them and they won’t be fed. Another option is to hear the complaints and dismiss them lightly, not cruelly just don’t feed the monster. Finally, you can give her an old fashioned pep talk of the buckle up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps variety.
You can try some of these in combination, one at a time, or of course, not at all. But it is a difficult situation you are in so I would recommend that you think hard before doing anything at all.

Condo does not allow cats
Dear Emma
I live in a condo that does not allow animals. Not even cats. I know some people sneak them in but I plan on staying a few years and don’t want to get kicked out. I have actually considered moving to a condo that allows cats but the truth is, my life is rather unsettled and I think it is unfair to get a pet you cannot keep for the rest of its life. So, no cats for me. But I miss them terribly and wish I could do something to help cats. Is there a shelter that has cats that would allow me to visit and maybe help care for the cats? I know about Care for Dogs and while dogs are nice, I am a cat person so would prefer cats.
Lonely cat lover

Dear Lonely,
You are in luck. A fellow cat lover Gill, has informed me of the very helpful Santisook Dog and Cat Shelter in Doi Saket. Sadly, it is in Doi Saket which is a bit of a drive but it is worth the trip for the true cat lover.
Santisook offers cats and dogs a comfortable home and takes in rescues from all over, initially started as a dog rescue they got so many calls about cats in distress that they started taking in cats and now have quite a sizable cat population as well. And while adoption is ideal they don’t say no to visitors, be sure and bring food and toys! www.santi

Demanding girlfriend
Dear Emma,
I met a Thai girl a few years ago and while for the first year or so things were great, they have gone downhill for the past year. Not only is she not interested in doing anything with me, she isn’t interested in doing anything! She sits and watches tv all day and half the night. When she isn’t watching tv she is pressuring me to buy her a house!
If she isn’t pressuring me to buy a house or watching tv she is complaining about me. She doesn’t help around the house and in fact, I find myself picking up after her regularly. I am fed up.
However, every time I start talking about leaving she goes crazy and starts screaming that she will kill me or herself if I leave. She used to be so normal, I don’t know what happened but I can’t live this way any longer. Do I really need to fear for my safety?
Fed up with my girlfriend

Dear Fed Up,
Firstly, have you talked to your girlfriend about her personality change? It may be possible that she is suffering from depression or hormonal issues. If she is willing, take her to a doctor to make sure there is nothing physically wrong.
If she won’t go or won’t talk then you may just have to cut your losses and move on. Honestly, you do not sound very emotionally invested in the relationship and if it is simple concern of what she will do to you then I would not worry and just leave. If it is concern over what she does to herself, well, it may sound very hard but you can’t stick around out of fear of what she might do. She will always hold this over your head if you stay and your life and hers will be a misery.
Good luck fed up, I think you will need it.