Editor’s Note: Is your life on track or completely off the rails? Do you have a simple concern that cropped up last week or an issue that feels like it has dogged you for a lifetime? Go Ask Gale. Send your concerns in 125 words or less to: email@example.com.
I think I’m being eyed for a promotion, but I’ve seen the last two people in that position burn out quickly. How can I turn down the offer without sounding ungrateful for the opportunity? I wouldn’t worry too much about sounding ungrateful. First of all, you worked hard to be eligible for this opportunity. Second, the boss knows the last two people didn’t last very long, so there’s obviously something about this role that makes people walk away from it. A diplomatic way to say “Thanks, but no, thanks” is to think of three or four things you’d still like to achieve in your current position and offer them as proof that, while you’re a good fit for the company as a whole, you aren’t ready to move on to a different role. Offer to help with the search committee, if applicable, so you can tailor the interview questions to help gauge another candidate’s potential longevity, and say, directly, that while you do not think this opportunity is the right fit for you right now, you look forward to honing your skills in your current position and hope to continue to grow with the company.
I love my partner and am happy to be in a serious, long-term relationship – but I don’t feel butterflies anymore. I mean, never. Is this a normal part of life, or a sign that I should move on? I think “butterflies” is a particularly apt description of the feeling you describe, because it’s uncomfortable. It’s a response to the uncertainty in the beginning of a relationship when you don’t yet know you’re beginning a relationship, but you hope you are, and you hope that the other person hopes for that, too. You’re beyond that. So, no, you’re not going to feel butterflies. You’re going to feel other things instead, though, which are arguably better. Plus, let’s be honest: You’ve had the opportunity to cheat. It’s everywhere, if you’re looking for it. If your eye isn’t wandering, that probably means you’re happy. So cut yourself, your partner, and your relationship some slack. Your life doesn’t feel like a fairy tale – because it isn’t. And that’s going to be true regardless of the individual to whom you’re in a committed relationship with. Fairy tale lives are overrated, anyway, and often very brief. See: The Juniper Tree.