Dear Blake,

I own a hair salon and love my job. I make a determined effort not to bring my problems to work, to be positive and not gossip. Unfortunately, my clients don’t always return the favor. I understand people need a sounding board, but it’s exhausting to hear about every ache, pain and bruise as well as other negative tidbits. How do I tactfully let these people know my shoulders are only so broad, and their complaints are wearing me down?

Signed, Sharon
From Santa Monica, California

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Dear Sharon,

Trying to prevent clients from pouring their hearts about personal issues can easily be done. My initial idea was to jam a can hairspray in their mouths, but that might have little to no affect on women that will talk continuously, even if the sound is severely muffled. Ok, here are some suggestions. Tell them to stop whining, and give examples of people around the world with some real problems, and including explicit details that can make them physically ill. Or you can one-up them. If they said their legs hurt, tell them both of your hurt. If a woman says her husband left her for a younger woman, tell her your husband left you for two younger men. And this one might even work, no matter how horrible issue they have… laugh at their situation. Snicker and chuckle at everything, including the loss of a job, an unfortunate medical diagnosis, or their home being burglarized and cleaned out. But I think tuning them out is the best option. As soon as they begin talking about their woes, put on some headphones and listen to some dance music. And then apologize to them beforehand if you can’t hear them speak, or hear them scream from the possible pain you may subject them to as you dance on the floor while “accidentally” digging your fingernails in their scalp. But if they begin screaming when they look at the mirror for the first time after you mangle their hair with an unintentional zombie look due to your dance moves, remind them that the show “Walking Dead”, are always looking for extras. I hope this helps.