Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ask Kelli: Risky Driving, Office Crush, Shy Daughter

by Kelli Miller

Dear Kelli,

Sometimes we hire a driver or car service to take us to the airport. Every now and then we get a driver who speeds and tailgates -- who drives dangerously. Our kids are often with us. What is the best way to tell the driver to drive slower and not tailgate? If I say, "Please don't tailgate, it's dangerous," that an insult to the driver. If I say, "Please don't follow so closely, it gets me nervous," my being nervous may save face for the driver, but the real reason is that tailgating is a risk I don't want to subject my family to.

What is the best way to get a dangerous taxi or car service driver to drive safely?

FACD (Father Against Crazy Drivers)

Dear FACD,

I understand your concern about not wanting to insult the driver, though still being nervous for your family. I see two solutions to this problem:

1) Call the driving service and ask to speak to the manager a few days prior to your trip. Tell him your concerns and explain that you’d like to continue using their service, but you’d like it if the manager could personally speak with the driver to make sure your driver observes the speed limit and drives safely.

2) Talk to your driver before he even puts his foot on the gas. Ask him his name and thank him for driving your family. Then you could say something like this: “Hey, Bob, you know, we’ve had a pretty intense week. Would you mind driving extra carefully to the airport this trip? I’m not sure we could handle any more stress this week! Thank you so much in advance.”

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

I’m happily married but have developed a small crush on a co-worker. Nothing has happened but I just think this woman is very attractive and enjoy talking to her. I don’t want it to go any further, but to be honest, I’m a little worried. I can’t quit my job, obviously, and I don’t think this woman plans to, either.

Crush on Co-Worker

Dear Crush on Co-Worker,

This may sound insane but I’d say tell your wife about your crush. Before you delete this column, I’ll tell you why. Not only will it show that you have tremendous respect for your wife but it also holds you accountable for not taking this crush any further. Part of the excitement of this crush is that it’s so secret. Taking the secret part out of it all may lessen your obsession.

How do you tell your significant other something like this? Start with how much you love your wife and what you love about her. Then I’d say, “I also love how honest we can be with each other. That’s why I wanted to tell you I do find another woman at work attractive. Of course, nothing has happened but I wanted to be open and honest about it and take the secret excitement out about finding someone else attractive.”

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

My 15-year-old daughter is painfully shy. I’ve tried encouraging her to make new friends but nothing has worked. Do you have any suggestions? I don’t want to be too pushy!

Want to Help Daughter

Dear Want to Help Daughter,

First, you might want to determine if your daughter is simply shy or may have an actual social anxiety disorder. I’d encourage you to have her speak with a child/adolescent therapist to determine this. Some signs to look for are: 
  • Hesitance, passivity and discomfort when in the spotlight 
  • Avoidance or refusal to initiate conversations, perform in front of others, invite friends to get together, call others on the telephone for homework or other information, or order food in restaurants 
  • Avoidance of eye contact, speaking softly or mumbling 
  • Minimal interaction and conversation with peers 
  • Appearing isolated and on the fringes of the group 
  • Sitting alone in the library or cafeteria, or hanging back from the group in class or teams 
  • Being overly concerned with negative evaluation, humiliation or embarrassment 
  • Difficulty with public speaking, reading aloud, or being called on in class 
If she’s just shy and does not have a disorder, perhaps you could speak with her guidance counselor at school and see if she has any suggestions. Maybe the counselor could start a group for shy teens at her school? I guarantee you, your daughter isn’t the only one! I’d also see if there are any healthy and safe internet sites/meetings for shy teens. That might be a good start without being too pushy!

All the best,


Kelli Miller, MSW is a therapist, author, and radio personality. Miller was a featured expert for SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 198, the co-host for the TV show Love and Money: The Advice Show, and the advice columnist for Playboy U, and the author of Professor Kelli’s Guide to Finding a Husband. Ask Kelli is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv on Wednesdays.

Kelli welcomes your comments below.  Have a question? You can write to Kelli at advice (at) fastmail (dot) net or via Twitter @askkelli.Your name and email address will be kept confidential.

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