She is extremely selfish; this whole time I’m supposed to be healing from surgery and she’s in my space demanding attention and wanting me to make her feel better. I’m really terrible at confrontation and we work together in close proximity with a close-knit team. I’m afraid that when I go back to work I really won’t be able to handle her neediness at work and at home.
I’m a very introverted person and I required my personal space. I’m already stressed and in a fair amount of physical pain, a fact which she completely ignores. I don’t want to cause her anymore pain — breakup’s are awful — but I don’t want a roommate, especially not a coworker who is so needy. I’m a lot younger than she is but she’s been treating me like a surrogate mother. She has stayed with me for nearly two weeks now. When should I tell her that I don’t want a roommate and how can I make it as gentle as possible on her already fragile self-esteem and heart while preventing awkwardness at work? — Feeling Invaded
When should you tell your co-worker that you don’t want a roommate? Uh, try two weeks ago! Seriously, the problem here isn’t that your co-worker is needy — although, yes, that’s apparently a problem; it’s that you’re a total pushover who’s is allowing herself to be taken advantage of. Your co-worker is a grown-ass woman who got dumped. She’s not your best friend, and she’s not suffering through something countless of other people don’t deal with all the freakin’ time. Even if you were perfectly healthy and hadn’t just had surgery major enough to apparently take several weeks off from work, it is not your place, your duty, or your obligation to house and support this woman. So, for the love of God, stand up for yourself and tell her to get out of your space immediately.
There’s no reason you should worry about offending her. What she has done is far, far more offensive than you demanding your space back. So tell her that you have no desire for a roommate and having a house guest is interfering with your recovery. If she bristles at that or takes things out on your when you get back to work, you need to have a talk with your HR rep. If she’s as nuts as she sounds, you surely aren’t the only person she’s rubbed the wrong way, anyhow.
Think of this as an opportunity to practice confrontation. Confrontation is not a dirty word. It’s an empowering act that will keep you from being walked all over and taken advantage of. Learn to set — and keep! — boundaries for yourself. People-pleasing is not a good way to make friends, but it’s a wonderful way to build resentment and create stress in your life. Start making yourself a priority so you have the emotional reserve to be there in healthy ways for the people you care about most.