Social quandary: My cousin's (lazy) husband wants a work reference

When it comes to family and friends, it's hard to say no to requests. Should this reader vouch for him, or is there a way to politely decline?


Getty Images

Have you found yourself in an awkward situation? Has someone irked you and you’re not sure how best to proceed? If so, you’re not alone! Every week, we feature a reader-submitted quandary so that you can weigh in with your best advice. What would you do in their situation? If you’d like to submit your own quandary, click here.

My cousin has a good job working as a physiotherapist at a hospital. She’s been the sole breadwinner of her family for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my cousin has alluded to having money troubles, but being the private person that she is, she has never shared more than that. Through family gossip, I’ve learned that her husband controls the finances, but doesn’t earn much of it and can be quite lazy. He works mostly contract positions  in general labour and warehouse work, and never for more than a few months at at time. And as far as I know, he hasn’t ever tried to gain steady, full-time work before. Recently, my cousin asked if I would provide her husband with a reference. I have a prominent job and I’m in a position to provide good references – but given his work record, I’m reluctant. Any reference I give him could badly reflect on me. Should I just hope for the best and give him a chance? Or should I politely decline (and what’s the best way to do that)?

Please comment below and help this reader with your feedback.

Read our previous social quandaries here.