Author Topic: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work  (Read 10261 times)

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Yarnspinner

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I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« on: July 22, 2014, 09:38:10 AM »
This is what comes of being labeled "the nice one". 

Background:  Rowena is a professional librarian who was hired almost two and a half years ago as part time.  (To be fair:  Stonecold hired her and four other people, completely cold and without interviews, from a pile of resumes.  We were lucky with three of those hires, but Rowena and one other were not a great fit.  The other person quit after six months when she realized that her full time teaching job and a part time job two hours away from home was not the greatest fit...also, she seemed to have the impression she would be in charge, which was not the case.  We probably can thank Stony for that one, too.)

Rowena also struggles under the notion that she should have been promoted to some much higher office by now.  Who knows what Stonecold told her when she called to give her the job.  The problem with Rowena is: though she is originally from Poland, she has been  in this country for twenty five years and barely speaks English.  Anyone who works on a desk with her usually has to field all her phone calls because she cannot make herself understood:  won't speak up, mumbles and, even if she does speak up, her use of the language is so poor, you may end up with a book on hippopotamuses when what you wanted was help on the internet (which she is afraid of).

There was a time when we all felt sort of sorry for Rowena and tried to include her in discussions and lunches, but as time has passed, we have discovered that she is less a na´ve 55 year old with poor language skills and more of a manipulative weasel with poor language skills.   She asks very personal questions about pay grades, retirement and health, as if she thinks she might find a weak spot in someone's armor and move them out so she can take their place.  Thing is, this has happened at least once already and she was amazed she didn't get the full time job.  She has, in fact, gone into Stonecold's office and demanded a raise and a promotion and been turned down.  More shock.  (Stonecold only promotes those who are her friends or who pose no threat to her.  We have several staff members who were hired because she met them in a bar and talked them into working for the library, but that's another story.)

Anyway, the small group that used to include Rowena has fallen away and guess who is stuck with her?  The "lovely, kind, sweet, delightful" (that's Rowena talking) woman who first showed her the ropes of the job.  Apparently I sucked at teaching her because she has had two other teachers and none of us got it through to her.

So now she calls me at least once a month to go out to dinner ("And let's go shopping sometime, sweetie, or to a movie and you can help me out with what's going on...."  oh no.).  I've managed to make it a less than every three month thing, but even that is painful.

1) Rowena repeats everything you just said while you are saying it or recites it all back to you.  I'm guessing to learn the language?

2) She won't talk about her personal life at all.  None of us know anything about her except what we observe on the desk.

3) She asks very pointed questions about Stonecold and what we think of her, which we deflect (and which I definitely deflect) and why Stonecold won't promote her.

4) She asks personal questions of me Why am I not married?  (None of you business.)  Don't I have kids?  (Ditto) When am I going to retire?  (Not now.)She has cheerfully implied things about me because I am not married and currently have no interest.  (No, Rowena, I am not g@y,  I am not mentally ill, I am not a serial killer....I just never got asked and have now stopped caring because there's too much else to worry about....not that I actually say any of this to her.  I usually say "It never happened for some reason" and then turn the conversation back  on her.)

5) She tries to pump me for information on my friends who are also her supervisors.  She drives my closest friend crazy, coming in in skirts that are so short they might as well be belts or, most recently, a thin nude colored dress that showed very clearly that Rowena wasn't wearing undergarments.  Friend sent her home to change.  She returned in the same dress wearing a black bra and a thong.  Friend sent her home again and she returned in a low backed, short skirted number and friend made her wear her own sweater the rest of the day.  Is friend uptight about the human body?  (Yes, I know some things are cultural, but I really doubt that librarians in Poland go to their jobs wearing bikini tops and sarongs.)

6)  After dinner (even though we usually go to the same place each time)  I have to drive her around the parking lot in my car so she can find the exit, then drive her back to her car and have her follow me out of the place so she knows where to go--even though she drives this route to get to and from work.  One time I thought I was going to have to drive her all the way back to HER house and then back to the restaurant, then show her how to get home by leading her there.  I suspect this woman would be dense in ANY language--and yet she supposedly speaks at least three.

So...after all that,it comes down to, how do I keep saying "no" to dinner?  And if I break down occasionally and go, like once every four months, how do I keep her off her favorite subjects?  And would it be rude to put my hand up in front of my face when she gives me her usual greeting and farewell:  a big fat kiss on the mouth.  (Okay, just kidding about the hand...but this IS her greeting.)

I am seriously at my wits end even though I don't see her that often.  Help!  And sorry for the length.

rain

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 09:45:17 AM »
Tell her "no thank you"  and don't JADE

You're not responsible for her ....
"oh we thank thee lord for the things we need, like the wind and the rain and the apple seed"

SamiHami

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 10:00:46 AM »
You know the answer, Yarnie--in the words of former first lady Nancy Reagan...Just Say No!  :)  Seriously, next time she asks just say "No, thanks." And repeat it every time she asks. If she presses you for an answer you could honestly say "Rowena, I prefer to not socialize outside of work with my coworkers so I won't be going  out to dinner with you any more." There is probably a slightly less harsh way of saying that, but it's important that you make it clear that this is non-negotiable.

As for the kiss thing? Eewwww! I would put my hand in front of my mouth and just say "Rowena, that really isn't customary here and I am uncomfortable with it. We can shake hands if you like, but no kissing."

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 10:02:50 AM »
She sounds horrible!!!!

Obviously, no is a complete sentence, but maybe tell her you have a hot date one time and that you're meeting with your financial counselor about retirement another and on a third, you and Stoney are hitting the g@y bars for a hiring spree for supervisors.

Good luck -- this type of work leech is the worst!!
Formerly Mrs.Bart

Lynn2000

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 10:15:12 AM »
I know this is stressful for you, but I just had to laugh reading your description of Rowena--the nerve some people have! It would almost be fun to sit back and watch, if she didn't involve you and things/people you care about.

Whenever she asks about a social outing, I would just say no. Well, you can use more words and a regretful tone, so it sounds softer, as long as the underlying message is no. Like, "Ohhhhhhh, no, I can't, sorry." And when she asks why, you could say, "You know, I'm just so busy these days." And when she asks what you're busy with, you could say, "Oh, you know, I've just got a lot of stuff going on." Of course she will want to know more details but I think at that point you can try to slip away or even go with, "It's personal and I don't really want to talk about it." She may speculate but as long as you get what you want... To me the key is to speak a little slower, with regret/melancholy/etc.--if you say "I've just got a lot of stuff going on" in a quick, dismissive tone, she will likely see it as the brush-off it is, and it sounds like you don't want to go there. So be vaguely "busy" all the time, whenever she asks.

I get the impression you would rather not have dinner with her again, ever. :) But if you do break down and agree, or there's a group of you going out, or something like that, exercise boundaries with her then, too. Don't show her the route or drive her around--tell her you've got something to do before and after, so you will meet her there at 6pm and you have to leave right at 8pm, so you don't have time to drive her around anywhere. Just leave her at the door to the restaurant after a cheerful good-bye, with the reasonable assumption she will figure it out since she always has before. I say "just" like it's easy, but the first time it won't be, though you may feel a delicious sense of freedom once you finally pull it off successfully, and after that it will be easier.

For the greeting, I would turn my body so my shoulder was to her, or put an arm up so she couldn't get that close, and then say, "How about a handshake?" If you need an excuse you could say you feel a cold coming on or something, until she gets used to it. But even if it takes a while or is awkward I would still block her from kissing me, because that's something that makes me really uncomfortable.
~Lynn2000

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 10:40:03 AM »
1.  If she were repeating everything in order to learn the language, she would have learned it by now.  She may be repeating everything as a way to 'fill in' conversation without adding anything.

2. If she won't talk about her personal life, don't talk to her about yours.  Stop it right now.  (I unfortunately learned this trick when I realized that my sister never asked me about my life, and everything she knew was information that I volunteered.  So I decided to stop giving her any information.  She still doesn't ask, but now she knows nothing.)

3. Just hold up your hand and say, 'NO'.  If you want to tell her that it's not customary in this country, fine, but I wouldn't let *any* co-worker kiss me full on the lips in public, even if I was married to him!  It's not professional.   And may I add, Ewww! 

You may pull away from her as fast or as slow as you please.  You are under NO obligation to spend any time with her outside of work.  It's not like you're going to get a promotion for being nice to her, so start living your own life and stop feeling sorry for her.  She's in a bed of her own making.  She can go kiss up to Stoney if she must.  (yeah, literally!)

maksi

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 10:45:54 AM »
Wow. My friend is Polish and although they (my friend and her parents) do kiss on the cheek, they don't kiss on the mouth. So not a cultural thing, as far as I know. Could she be interested in you and because of that show it as being a little difficult with boundaries? Doesn't really matter, though, I agree with others: just say no. It's not wrong or make you a bad person, not wanting to socialise with her outside work (and in work more than being friendly as usual). And as for the kissing: just say with a smile: "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable with kissing you."

MurPl1

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 11:16:01 AM »
I have no advice but I did want to say that I didn't realize being never-married was a sign of a serial killer.  Wetting the bed, setting things on fire, killing small animals - all stuff I've seen on Criminal minds, but I can't recall them ever mentioning that red flag ;)

lowspark

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 12:09:30 PM »
Life is too short to be spending your free time with someone you don't like, regardless of the reasons. And it's clear that there are plenty of reasons for you not to like this person.

I would just say "no thanks" every time she asks about going out. "Sorry I'm busy" or "I just don't seem to have any free nights this week/this month/this year" or whatever you're comfortable with but yeah, just start turning down her dinner requests.

Every time.

Eventually she will get the message.

I would also keep your conversations with her at work to a minimum. Only talk to her about work related things and only when she initiates the conversation and only for the maximum amount of time it takes to get the job done. If she asks personal questions, don't answer. In your place, I'd respond with silence. I've actually done that before and it worked for me. Acquaintance asked me a personal none-of-your-business type question and I stared at her blankly for a second or two the turned away.

Oh! and as for the kiss on the mouth, there's no way someone would have done this to me twice. After the first time I'd make sure to not let her get close enough to do it again. I'd back away quickly, duck, turn my head, or yes, put my hand out.  Whatever it takes.

If that's normal for her, ok, fine. But just as we have discussed here so often, we have a right to define our own personal space. If someone has a right to deflect a hug, and they certainly do!, then you absolutely have the right to deflect a kiss on the mouth from this woman, how ever you have to do it.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 01:30:04 PM »
I think "I'm not available" used in cut and paste format ought to work.  It doesn't really matter why you're not available, could be the ol' I have to wash my hair excuse.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Amara

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 01:36:17 PM »
Your description of her makes me shudder. I would have to put a stop to any and all conversation, other than what work requires, plus any socializing or help at all. And I'd do it without apology or explanation: No, I cannot. Repeated. As often as necessary.

As for the kissing--eeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwww--I would stand far back from her and at any indication she is coming in for the kill kiss I would turn on my heel and leave. Without a word.

bopper

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2014, 01:37:16 PM »
I started taking a class at night.I won't be able to join you for dinner.

Phoebelion

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2014, 01:44:16 PM »
Co-worker kissing me - on the mouth or otherwise is way more than ewe gross.

Tell her no loudly.  Second time - tell her no loudly and file a sexual harassment complaint.  That's exactly what it is. 

Would she have gotten away with it a second time (I can understand being gobbed the first time - who does that?) if she was a he?

Ewe - ewe and triple ewe.  I have the creeps just typing this.   And even more ewes.

veronaz

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2014, 01:56:29 PM »
Co-worker kissing me - on the mouth or otherwise is way more than ewe gross.

Tell her no loudly.  Second time - tell her no loudly and file a sexual harassment complaint.  That's exactly what it is. 

Would she have gotten away with it a second time (I can understand being gobbed the first time - who does that?) if she was a he?

Ewe - ewe and triple ewe.  I have the creeps just typing this.   And even more ewes.

This.

and another eeeewwww.   ::)   >:(

peach2play

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Re: I Don't Want to be Your Buddy In or Out of Work
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2014, 02:48:56 PM »
Um...wow...just wow.  Stop being so nice and just keep saying no.  Don't give in once.  The woman sounds toxic and manipulates you to get what you want.  No is a complete sentence.