I recently went through a breakup, and I feel like I can’t escape the relationship: My friends are still friends with his friends; I see him on social media all the time; we’re invited to the same group outings. I know I can skip these events, but is there any way I can get some distance from the situation without sacrificing my friends and my social life?

No matter how amiable a breakup, it’s perfectly reasonable to not want to see your ex all the time. You describe a lot of big group outings. Maybe you could take the lead in getting smaller groups together for specific activities. No need to worry about anyone feeling excluded, as long as everyone gets an invitation that makes sense. Invite the athletes to kickball, the wine drinkers to the wine tasting – you get the idea.

And no, you do not have to personally invite your ex in the interest of fairness. Most adults have at least one friend who they only see socially two or three times per year, with whom the consistent refrain is, “We really should get together more often!” You could also try actually getting together more often with those friends. Do you have any online acquaintances who are local, but with whom you never seem to connect IRL? Now’s the time.

Another option is to expand your group by simply drawing more people into it. You could try a local Meetup event, or invite work friends to some group outings.

Could lying be considered a management style? My boss sometimes asks me to pick up co-workers’ slack – which I don’t always mind – but more and more frequently, I’ve been finding out after the fact that the reason I was asked to pick up an extra shift isn’t entirely accurate.

I find it odd that you’re being offered any explanation at all while simultaneously being asked to work extra shifts. If the official line is, “Tony has jury duty on Tuesday,” but it turns out that Tony himself has a court date on Tuesday, then lying provides the kindest explanation. But the only necessary explanation is: We need someone to cover this shift. You don’t need to know what’s going on in all your co-workers’ lives.

Supplying extra information – true or untrue – is either overcompensating or gossiping.  This implies that either your boss isn’t all that comfortable in his or her leadership position, or is using this exchange as an opportunity to discuss employees with employees.

The latter could be a management style, if the goal is to divide and conquer – but chances are, you’re not dealing with Professor Moriarty (he would never get caught in a lie). This sounds like an insecure leader’s attempt to build rapport and relate to you. It’s not easy to do that while asking you to do extra work.

If you just want to stop being lied to, a simple, “I’m always willing to cover a shift, as long as I’m free,” might communicate that no explanation is required. If your boss doesn’t pick up that hint, then you might have to just accept that in this case, lying is, in fact, a management style, but hopefully one that he or she will grow out of with more confidence and leadership experience.

Are there any alternatives to grounding a child? The only thing I could take away as punishment that would be meaningful would be her phone, but I feel like she needs that for safety. 

It sounds like your daughter is the perfect age to craft her own punishment. Explain to her what she did wrong, and then ask her what she thinks is suitable atonement. My feeling on this method is that it holds a kid accountable for wrongdoing without stripping her of her agency.

There’s no worse feeling for a teenager (or for a pre-teen, in some cases) than a loss of autonomy, and trying to exert too much control could make her turn against you for a long, long time.

As an added bonus, I’ve found it’s usually the case that a kid will volunteer for a more severe punishment than what the parent would have tried to impose.

If that’s the case – go with it. If she tries to offer a disproportionately lenient sentence, talk through some possible consequences of her actions, if left unchecked; that generally helps to keep the offense in perspective and reinforces the seriousness of it, as well.