A 28-year-old woman had a tough upbringing as a foster child but still forged a successful career. However, she faced problems at work due to her decision to keep her personal life to herself. A sociable colleague tried to break through her barriers. Here’s what she had to say:
She Had a Troubled Background
She explained, “I am a 28-year-old foster kid. Long story short: Dad was a drug dealer, Mom was a drug addict, Mom died and Dad went to jail for life, I had no family to take me on, and I bounced around the system from the ages of 7 to 18. Then I became homeless, worked as an escort, went to college and I am currently in my second corporate job.”
She Kept Herself to Herself
Her troubled past meant she was guarded about her personal life. She also felt like an outsider in her first job. Being a single woman without children, she was often overlooked when it came to getting time off during holidays or summer breaks.
She Didn’t Socialize at Work
She was determined not to let her personal life interfere with her new job and made a conscious effort to keep her distance from her colleagues. She distanced herself from colleagues, arriving and leaving promptly, taking her lunch break outside the office, and declining invitations to socialize.
Her Colleagues Understood
She explained, “My new colleagues got the hint when I just said ‘no thank you’ when they would invite me out. They leave me alone, I leave them alone, but we are friendly, and am happy to lend a hand when needed.”
A Socialiable Colleague Joins
However, everything changed when a new colleague joined their team. She made friends effortlessly and seemed to view the woman’s reluctance to share personal details as a personal challenge.
She Spoke to The Colleague
The woman was initially firm but polite. She told the colleague, “I appreciate that you want to get to know me, but I am an extremely private person and do not like to mix my professional and personal life together.”
But that Didn’t Help
However, instead of backing off, the colleague seemed to re-double her efforts. The woman didn’t feel it was a creepy pursuit, nor did it warrant an HR complaint, but it left her feeling uncomfortable.
She Hatched a New Plan
Eventually, the woman decided to take a more direct approach. Instead of attempting to change the subject when they spoke, she simply stared her colleague dead in the eye without uttering a word. The woman explained what happened next, “At first she was annoyed, then she started rambling, then she turned red and left in a hurry.”
But Another Colleague Disapproved
Another colleague was sitting nearby and was watching their interaction. They gave her a disappointed look and told the woman they understood her to need for privacy but believed that her response had been unfair to someone who genuinely wanted to be friendly and involve her in the office’s social activities.
Was The Woman Right?
The woman then started to question her behavior. Was she in the wrong? Was her reaction unjustified? Should she have handled the situation differently?
The Internet Responded
One person said, “Brilliant power move!! She’s not trying to be friendly, she’s trying to crack you because she can’t control you.”
Another person said, “You made it clear where boundaries are, and this coworker is being pushy and intrusive. I would absolutely file a complaint.”
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