update: my older coworker won’t stop mothering me

Remember the letter-writer whose older coworker wouldn’t stop mothering her and even contacted her actual mother to check up on her? Here’s the update.

Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone; getting so much support definitely made me feel more confident dealing with this issue. It hasn’t been too long, but I do have some updates!

My mother did talk to me instead of messaging Sue back when Sue contacted her to say I “was rude.” I asked her not to respond and helped her block Sue on Facebook (my mother is not great with technology, which was a good thing in this instance since I did the blocking and know it got done!). I am still Facebook friends with Sue, but I did some research and found I can technically be “friends” but still block her – so all Sue sees is my “public profile,” which is basically nothing.

Sue approached me shortly after this to ask about the “changes to my Facebook” – I told her I changed my privacy settings and was happy to know it worked, thanks for telling me! She hasn’t brought it up since. I don’t know if she has tried messaging my mother, but she hasn’t said anything to me about not being able to.

We had a few conversations where she asked about my restroom habits and I told her “that is a very strange thing to ask a colleague.” Both times she told me she was just worried about my health and I responded “well, I’ve got it under control. I will let you know if I want your help though.”

Basically, I made it uncomfortable for her a few times and she kind of awkwardly trailed off and then stopped asking me. At this point, she has basically stopped talking to me completely (as I said, our work doesn’t overlap, so that’s fine).

I’ve been worried about retaliation – her complaining to our manager who has been her good friend since high school – but I think I’m safe now because of another change!

This week, we had two college interns start! It’s the first time the company has ever had interns and she IMMEDIATELY flocked over to mother them. So far, they seem okay with it (and if they aren’t, they’ll be leaving in May anyways) – AND she has been very distracted from her “concerns” about me. I think this was even better than getting her a puppy to parent (which some people suggested)!

 

{ 114 comments… read them below }

  1. LBK

    Great update – it’s always refreshing to hear that someone followed the advice given almost to the T and it worked perfectly! I feel like all too often these update are “I ended up quitting a month later, so it didn’t matter anymore” (which isn’t a bad outcome either, just makes it hard to show how effective turning these situations around on the busybody can be).

  2. Snarkus Aurelius

    It looks like half of the problem got solved: she stopped bothering you, but now she’s bothering young interns.

    That’s not your fault, OP, so please don’t sweat that part.  You did -exactly- what you should do and a good job at that.  This is management’s problem.  

    Unfortunately I don’t hold out high hopes because inexperienced interns aren’t going to have the backbone and/or experience to suss out that her behavior is wrong.  They’ll either think it’s totally okay and indulge or quietly grit their teeth.  

    As for any retaliation, well, even if she is BFF with the boss, what’s she going to say?  “Susie won’t tell me about the status of her health problems, and I can’t talk to her mom on Facebook about her anymore.  And she blocked me from Facebook too!”  That complaint is so asinine that regardless of that friendship, there’s no way to make that a work-related problem.

    The only thing I would have done differently is unfriend her altogether.  She clearly noticed you locked down your profile and asked you about it.  Sounds like she would have done that anyway if you’d blocked her.  I say good riddance.

        1. I'm older than I look!

          True, but while she’s a very odd duck, I don’t think that any of her intents were malicious. She probably would be (is, since she noticed the FB thing) more embarrassed than anything else.
          Interesting that she hasn’t asked why she cannot find OP’s mom on FB anymore…

      1. Naomi

        I could see Sue giving the manager a version from her perspective that makes her behavior sound less ridiculous, like “OP was rude to me when I was just trying to be nice”. But hopefully the manager would at least ask for OP’s side of the story.

    1. TB

      Actually, you might be surprised at how easy it would be to spin this into “Jane was rude to me” or “Jane’s not a team player” or something along those lines.

    2. INTP

      Regarding retaliation, Sue could say something harmful to OP but unrelated to her real issue. Like, she could say that OP doesn’t seem to have great people skills when interacting with the other departments, or she caught a lot of mistakes in OP’s teapot revision, or something else that she might reasonably witness. A skilled meddler can even pick out things that are technically true, but relay them in a way that makes them sound like a bigger deal than they are. So I don’t think concerns are totally unfounded, but definitely not worth indulging Sue over (I think I suggested handling them pre-emptively, giving the boss a quick heads up about what’s happening).

      1. A Bug!

        Yup. Dial up the vagueness, make a couple broad implications, and there you go.

        “I’m a little worried about Pat. People are noticing lately that she’s been really unfriendly and standoffish for no apparent reason, and well, I don’t want to criticize, but it’s putting folks on edge. I thought I should let you know in case everyone else is too scared to speak up. I just want to make sure she gets the help she needs.”

        1. Kelly O

          I feel like I’m writing a “Letter to Penthouse” but this actually happened to me.

          Because I did not choose to accept friend requests on Facebook from coworkers, and tried to lightheartedly say “oh I just don’t do work friends on Facebook” – I got called in a manager’s office to find out “what was wrong” because The People’s Hero made it sound like I was aggressively being rude to people. Even though I went to lunch with them, even though I did some of the happy hours after work, but I would not add one person as a friend on Facebook. It took a little figuring out to get to the bottom of it, but let’s just say the manager was NOT happy that The People’s Hero was passive-aggressively complaining about that, and no one else said anything because, well, there was no problem.

          1. A Bug!

            Ugh, so rough. The Penthouse reference made me laugh though, because you’re right. It’s hard to imagine someone being like that in real life unless you’ve run afoul of one yourself. I’m glad your manager was reasonable when the facts came to light!

      2. HQ

        Witness. This happened in my first job out of university. I didn’t even have to do or not do anything. Most of the senior members of the team (except the team lead and the dept head who hired me) thought I was “too young” for the job (at 22). They told me this to my face on my first day and I was thereafter constantly being reported to my boss when I made any mistake, no matter how small. I had several meetings with my boss where he was like, “So I don’t know why you’re here but I had to call you in because supervisor y reported you for x thing and wanted me to talk to you about it. Nobody else in the unit would get called to my office for something like this. Consider yourself talked to.”
        I left to go get a graduate degree about 6 months before my 2 year contract was up and they were happy to let me leave ahead of time.
        I found out later that it took them 5 new hires to find someone the right age who was able to pass all the training exams and be certified to replace me.

  3. ISH-y

    Ah I cannot like this enough. She gave me the heeby-jeebies. So glad it worked out – but now you’ll have to keep an eye out and make sure she doesn’t completely turn off the interns. They could be a good source for future talent, and if they end up employees after graduation they may have already allowed her to start bad habits with them! Since they are the ‘interns’ they probably expect to be a mothered a little so it might be ok to a certain extent but what she did was way beyond the realm of normalcy.

    1. I'm older than I look!

      Yea, certainly keep an eye on the Intern thing. The woman in my office who I always kept at arm’s length ended up latching on to our office Intern. The intern was offered a job after her internship was completed and she chose not to accept. She didn’t tell management that it had anything to do with that woman, but she did confide to me that that was a large part of her decision (she’s only a few years younger than I am since she’s a graduate intern). The position she was offered would have been senior to this woman, and she really didn’t feel that the woman would take kindly to that and the relationship had become Icy since she’d asked her to not be so ‘mothery’ to her.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger

      Agreed. It sounds like you’re not directly in charge of the interns, OP, so to a large extent this isn’t your problem to solve – but if you have a good relationship with the person who is in charge of the interns, you might mention it to them. Something like, “I know Sue loves to take care of people, and I’ve noticed she’s taken the interns under her wing. Sometimes she can come on a bit strong, though – for a while she was asking me questions that felt too personal – so you might want to keep an eye on that.”

      1. Bend & Snap

        I agree with this. The interns were thrown to the wolves a bit and this is going to help shape their idea of what a normal workplace looks like.

        This woman is so off the normal scale that I think someone needs to be alerted, even casually.

        1. charisma

          YES. Agree 100%. And even though it would be difficult for a colleague to give personal feedback to Sue to help her better manage her work-relationships, it may make sense to have the friend, who also works there, have a talk with Sue. Sue may have no idea how many relationships she is sabotaging through her own odd behavior. She clearly doesn’t have boundaries, but that doesn’t mean that she cannot *learn* boundaries. She isn’t picking up on context clues like many other people would, so she isn’t adjusting her behavior in natural response to social cues. However, there are plenty of people who struggle with this very thing and through counseling and/or coaching, are able to learn what to look for in others’ responses to them.

          IF there is an opportunity for someone to have a serious but compassionate talk with her about her behavior, I think that would be best for everyone, including Sue.

  4. Ad Astra

    OP, if you’re concerned about someone taking issue with the fact that you’ve essentially blocked them, you could occasionally post some “public” statuses about mundane, impersonal things so they’ll see your updates and be pacified. It sounds like Sue’s responding fairly well to you setting boundaries, so there’s probably no need to do this with her, but it make come in handy for other tricky situations.

      1. I'm older than I look!

        She mentioned that Sue is responding well so it’s probably not applicable in this case, but for future reference (ie. a stalker ex boyfriend or something) that can come in handy.

          1. I'm older than I look!

            I actually Googled – apparently on Facebook if someone blocks you you can see that their profile still exists (ie. not that they deleted their Facebook), but you just can’t contact them. You can see more if you have friends in common – like if they tag one of your friends in photos, you can see those photos. This is especially important in exes/stalking situations so doesn’t really apply so much here.
            But yes, I think the OP put her on a limited access list, but she said her mother blocked her – so my point was why she hasn’t commented about her mother’s blocking.

            1. Charityb

              I get the feeling that she doesn’t care as much about the mother except as another point of access to the OP’s life. I think at this point Sue has figured out more or less what is going on and wouldn’t be too surprised at not being able to reach the mother any more.

            2. Rena

              I’ve been blocked on and off by my ex, here’s how it’s worked in my experience. I can tell that he commented on things due to out of context replies from my friends, ie “Heinrich, I agree. That’s really strange.” but his comment is invisible. He also doesn’t show up in searches on Facebook, and any previous links to his name (@Heinrich) are unclickable. If I search Google while still logged in, I can find that the profile, but it’s broken when I click on it. If I go incognito, I can see as far as normal ‘public’ privacy settings allow.

              (I promise I’m not super ex-stalky, I just verified a bunch of this while writing this comment!)

          2. manybellsdown

            There’s a “restricted” setting that only allows the restricted person to see things you make public. I’ve done this for a couple of relatives that I don’t feel able to unfriend without causing a family issue. Then, if they ask, I just say I don’t post very often.

  5. louise

    I’ve always been afraid someone will notice that I changed what they can see on FB and ask about it, but I love the response. If they ask, I’m going with the same thing: “I changed my privacy settings and [am] happy to know it worked, thanks for telling me!”

  6. Clever Name

    Yay! This is a great update! And bravo for standing firm when it was clear she felt uncomfortable. As you recognize, the discomfort is all on her. Seriously, asking a colleague about their bathroom habits? A person who crosses this boundary should feel uncomfortable about it.

      1. Cactus

        The only person who I regularly ask about his bathroom habits is my husband, and that kind of comes with the territory since he has Crohn’s disease…and we’re married. In any contexts other than ultra-close personal relationship OR a medical situation, it would be creepy.

    1. Carpe Librarium

      +1
      OP, consider offering a few (professional) friendly overtures to the interns &/or give them a simple heads up.
      Based on what I recall of your original letter, you’re probably closest to them in age than the rest of your colleagues, with the benefit of recent experience as the newcomer to this particular workplace – it makes sense to be a (professionally) friendly face.
      You can also give them a mild heads-up about Sue, i.e. “Sue is friendly but she’s more open and inquisitive about life outside of work than I’m accustomed to with work colleagues.”
      This way you’re not saying anything unkind/mean, but they have preemptive validation if they’re getting Sue’d, and additional context that it’s not a common model of standard business interactions.
      It also means if they find themselves in a similar boat to you (feeling that Sue is overbearing), they know you’ve experienced it and may be able to get some of AAM’s and other commenters’ advice through speaking to you!

  7. LNB

    I’m honestly still concerned that you don’t seem to be 100% in the clear yet. She doesn’t seem to get it at this point, still. I feel like this needs to be brought to a manager’s attention now that she is potentially doing this to other people.

    1. LBK

      Eh…I’m not usually an “every man for himself” person in the office, but I think when it comes to things that are more about relationships than true impact to the business, it’s not really your problem if it’s not happening to you (with the obvious exception of true harassment, discrimination, abuse, etc.). This is annoying behavior, definitely, but I don’t think it’s so bad to the point that the OP needs to involve herself on behalf of others. If nothing else, it’s a valuable life lesson for the interns about coping with obnoxious coworkers – something we will all have to do at some point in our lives!

    2. Sunny With a Chance of Showers

      OP said: “Basically, I made it uncomfortable for her a few times and she kind of awkwardly trailed off and then stopped asking me. At this point, she has basically stopped talking to me completely (as I said, our work doesn’t overlap, so that’s fine).”

      I’m thinking she’s in the clear.

        1. I'm older than I look!

          I def. don’t think she should bring it to management, but maybe keep an eye on it. Interns/people new to the workforce have *no idea* what normal office practices are, and can let the proverbial frog boil before realizing something is amiss.
          In the same vein as the recent story where the new girl’s coworker was texting her in ways that made her uncomfortable outside of the office – she wrote in, and we told her to nip it in the bud before it got too bad!
          I definitely agree that there’s no reason to put your own office drama/gossip/assumptions on a new person. I always let new people make their own opinions about our office front lady (She’s pretty passive aggressive, mother-y, and B****y depending on the day), but eventually everyone comes to the same conclusion that she’s rude/annoying/b****y – at which point I’ll happily vent about her when necessary.

  8. Mike C.

    Wow, that seems incredibly rude to inquire about someone else changing the privacy settings on their Facebook account.

    Holy cow, you never ask about something like that.

    1. LBK

      Frankly, I think most of us never ask because we’d be extremely embarrassed to be told to our faces that we had to be blocked – most people would read that as a sign that we’d done something inappropriate. Somehow I suspect this woman would’ve read it as the OP being rude (because clearly she’s just being nice with all her concern trolling, so there’s no way she could’ve done something that warranted being blocked).

      1. I'm older than I look!

        TRUTH. I attended a networking event with a colleague and we were ‘tweeting’ about the same thing a lot. So, I followed her – thinking nothing of it, my twitter is totally used for professional purposes so I didn’t think twice.
        She allowed me to follow, and then a few days later I was running analytics on the tweets and happened to notice she tweeted about some awesome sale. Went to click on her profile to see more and she’d BLOCKED me.
        I was a little bit offended at first, like what the hell did I do to piss her off? But then I became mortified as I realized hey, we’re not friends, maybe she uses Twitter for personal reasons too. So, I let it be.

        1. sunny-dee

          Yeah, it’s probably because it’s her personal twitter. I have coworkers who are FB friends (I know, I know), and I just don’t post to FB. Maybe to wish a family member a happy birthday, but that’s it. I don’t want to mix personal and business. I don’t care about or use FB, anyway, so I don’t have to be “rude” (meaning, overt) about not accepting a friend request.

          1. I'm older than I look!

            Yes, I tend to use Facebook for family/friend interactions (though more heavily family these days); Instagram for friend/personal – you’ll get way more info about me there; and Twitter is solely for professional purposes, which is why I very rarely use it.

    2. Elysian

      My brother’s girlfriend’s mother once friended me on Facebook (we had only met once when she came to pick her daughter up from an event I was also at) and I accepted just to be not-rude. A week later I got tired of her posts for various reasons, and removed her from my friends list. (I don’t do these multi-layered privacy things. You’re a friend or you’re not, the end.) She noticed the same day and tried to re-friend me, and I didn’t accepted the second time. She actually bothered my brother for a long time about how I was rude and horrible and forced him to ask me why I wouldn’t be her facebook friend.

      Some people just don’t get it, I guess.

      1. Ad Astra

        These days, if I don’t like someone’s posts, I tend to just hide them from my news feed so I don’t see their updates but they have no idea anything’s changed. It’s a useful feature for people you might still want/need to contact, and it’s easier than adjusting privacy settings.

        Weird that a brother’s girlfriend’s mother would even notice or care that you unfriended her.

          1. Katieinthemountains

            You can also block posts from specific websites, so I can still see personal posts from people I like but not all their political stuff.

        1. LeahS

          This is what I do! Has come in very handy with exes, especially, since I’ve always been on good terms with them but don’t necessarily want them popping up on my newsfeed all the time.

      2. manybellsdown

        I had a former classmate keep adding me to a Jamberry thing. I’d leave, she’d add me back the next day, and after 3 tries I could see she wasn’t getting the hint so I said I had no interest. Then she got mad and blocked me heh. People get so weird about that.

        1. snuck

          Ugh. Jamberry. That’s the finger nail multi level marketing scam thing yes?

          Why oh why?!

          Just leave me out of it!!!

      3. kat

        You can always say: I’d like to keep my Facebook to my close friends only. Everybody has their own idea of who can be added as a friend (e.g. I added a number of former classmates when I first joined. This is not something I would do now, when these people were never really my friends, and I haven’t heard from/about them for over a decade.) Her idea might be to add all relatives (and being a daughter’s boyfriend’s brother, that kind of makes you a relative), but you don’t have to follow along.

    3. neverjaunty

      If it were a close friend who suddenly blocked you but hasn’t cut you out of their life, I could see privately asking them “Hey, Wakeen, I respect whatever privacy settings you are comfortable with, but I’m concerned that I’ve somehow said something that really hacked you off.” And then listen.

      But a co-worker? Why are you even FB friends in the first place?

    4. Cactus

      Thank you for saying this. At the beginning of this year, I had to defriend someone because they were simultaneously pissing me off with some of their posted content AND being overbearing/oversharing when it came to comments they made on my stuff/messages they sent me. I felt like they were quicksand, and I was drowning.

      They didn’t notice for a little while what had happened, but once they did it was a bloody hailstorm of interrogations, apologies, and shame-spirals. Which I did not want or need, and which did not help their case one bit.

      And then a month after that they sent me two more friend requests, one day after another.

      It’s just never a good thing to get into.

  9. Anon for this post

    Glad to read this update. The OP’s ‘office mom’ reminds me of a former co-worker who crossed boundaries all the time. She once told me to bring a bunch of “old towels” in (when I was pregnant) and put them under my chair in case my water broke while I was at work. SO none of her business! .

    1. Elizabeth West

      It’s out of place for her to tell you that, but it’s not necessarily bad advice. At an old job, a coworker’s water broke while she was sitting in the visitor chair in our boss’s cube! Needless to say, they got rid of the chair. Of course you had to hope you were in your own chair at the time.

      Another coworker at a different job told me hers broke in the grocery store. She felt really bad for the employee who had to clean it up.

      1. Cath in Canada

        A former colleague’s water broke during her leaving-do lunch in a local restaurant, in front of basically the whole company. This was before I joined the company, but it was still a famous story – and any woman who got to that “just get this thing out of me already” stage was always advised to “go and eat some of those spicy wings [name] was eating when her water broke”.

      2. Stranger than fiction

        Mine broke while I was waiting tables during rush hour in the dining room in front of the whole restaurant. My daughter ate there a couple years ago and told all the staff “guess what…” lol.

    2. I'm older than I look!

      Wow. This reminds me of my office mom. If I EVER go home with a headache/nausea/upset stomach she asks me the next day if I’m pregnant. She also once told me that she thinks I might be allergic to sushi because she’s noticed I tend to be more likely to feel sick on days after I eat sushi for lunch…
      These prompt an “Absolutely not, and that’s none of your business” or “Wow, I didn’t realize you were tracking my dietary routine” responses. She doesn’t get the hint, but I think she thinks I’m really weird.
      POINT – I’m a 28 year old married woman. I very well COULD be pregnant (I’m not, but it’s not out of the question obviously biologically speaking). If you have to ASK if I’m pregnant, I’m obviously either a – NOT pregnant or b – NOT telling people yet. How dare you potentially out me as pregnant before I’m ready? Unless you are in my immediate family or one of my VERY best friends, you can have your suspicions but I will tell people when I’m darn well ready!

      (I’m not pregnant nor do I plan to be for a few more years but this just always really irks me, I’ve had friends who’ve been accidentally outed by just such instances)

      1. J.B.

        Someone needs to send her to Dave Barry. You never ever ask a woman unless you see her giving birth! Sorry about her nosiness!

        1. I'm older than I look!

          Yes. She thinks I’m weird and standoff-ish and I don’t ‘share.’ She and the other women in my office are all old enough to be my mother and have been working here for 20+ years each and they’re all besties. Of course I don’t share! I like them all but I’m not going to tell you about my bathroom, dietary, or reproductive habits…
          The other two women totally get it and don’t expect me to be buddy-buddy because their children aren’t terribly close to my age (either younger or older by at least 7 years) but this woman’s daughter is my exact age and she seems to really want to be my bestie. It’s annoying.

      2. Alli525

        Man if someone I worked with was doing that to me regularly, I would take her aside and tell her point-blank “If I were pregnant, you would not be the first person I told. That is reserved for my partner and my family. Also, for many women in this country [assuming I or anyone else in this scenario is U.S.-based], telling their boss and coworkers that they are pregnant is something that requires planning and tact, and your mentioning even the possibility out loud here in the office is neither something I’ve planned NOR tactful in the slightest. So I never want to hear you mention the possibility of my being pregnant ever again. It’s prying, unprofessional, and problematic.”

        I mean, basically what you said, but say-out-loud-able.

        1. Ruffingit

          Yeah, not to mention what if the woman in question is trying to get pregnant via IVF or whatever and it’s not working? It would be downright painful to have to hear that all the time.

          1. Elizabeth West

            Or doesn’t have a partner but wants a family.

            “You look tired. Are you okay?”
            “I’m okay, thanks.”
            “Could you be pregnant?”
            NO BUT THANKS FOR REMINDING ME THAT I’M NOT!!!

        2. I'm older than I look!

          The few times it’s happened (I say regularly because doing it more than once in two years when I’ve obviously rebuffed it) it’s caught me so off guard that I didn’t even realize how obscene it was until I was fixing my coffee.
          I have a girlfriend in my personal life who also does that. If I ever choose water instead of wine (the horrors, someone’s NOT drinking at book club) she immediately and loudly goes ARE YOU PREGNANT? She’s doing it because she thinks it’s funny (and we all really did jokingly laugh together, yea we were 25 and married but we didn’t want BABIES YET EWWWW) because for so long many of us were married but *NOT* at that stage yet, but now it’s becoming a little more contentious. Next time it happens Imma have to say something a little more firm about it methinks.

            1. I'm older than I look

              I think I really like you Elizabeth West :) I can actually hear your yelling voice in my internal monologue.

      3. notpregnant

        Certain people LOVE to be the one who figure out that a woman is pregnant before she announces. I know who they are because I’ve fainted a few times at work (low blood pressure) and that always brings them to my office – always so pleased with their own cleverness. Strangely out of the many women at work who have gotten pregnant over the years none of them have ever fainted…

        1. Dirk Gently

          My mom is doing this right now, with a close friend of mine who recently posted a photo on Facebook where she had a hand on her stomach. I’d had the same thought, but kept it to myself. My mom, on the other hand, has checked with me, my sister, and her neighbor (all three families are close friends and were all at this friend’s wedding earlier this year) to see if they also think my friend might be pregnant.

          I’ve made sure that she knows not to say anything to my friend or my friend’s family (who, luckily, have recently moved away from my parents’ street), and I’m reasonably confident that she won’t say anything to them…

          1. I'm older than I look!

            I mean everyone does that. I do that about my friends, but never to their face! And most of the time when we get suspicious (the two times this has happened) they were actually pregnant.
            But, I let them both think they were fooling me because they weren’t ready to tell. To be honest though, I don’t always drink wine at book club or whatever but if I consistently wasn’t drinking wine at book club or anywhere else for several months running I’d be surprised if no one figured it out, but I certainly hope you don’t blatantly out me!
            (again, not pregnant, just have been in the situation where I’ve known a friend was preggers and purposefully didn’t out her. She thought she was so sneaky! hehe)

            1. I'm older than I look!

              Sorry, when I say never to their face I mean, I keep it to myself. I’ll think in my head, oh I think she’s pregnant, but I don’t discuss it with other friends/people (hubby maybe but he literally couldn’t care less about whether or not someone is pregnant and he knows not to ever repeat until it’s been announced)

        2. Whippers

          Ugh, why are some people so keen to know before the woman wants to tell? Two women at our work got pregnant around the same time and one person was so pleased that she knew before everyone else. Yeah, the reason you knew before everyone else was because you bloody asked them! I suspected about one of them but didn’t want to say because it was her choice to tell.
          Seriously; if someone wants you to know they are pregnant they will tell you!

      4. Ad Astra

        I’m about your age and I get the “Are you pregnant?” thing every time I mention any slight illness or discomfort. I only realized a year or two ago (when my friends started having kids) that most women wait quite a while to announce a pregnancy, especially at work. So now that I know that, I feel extra weird about people (who are older than me and presumably aware that you don’t immediately announce this stuff) asking me about the contents of my uterus.

        1. Stranger than fiction

          “Why yes I am I just found out. But I won’t be next week…unless…hey you want a kid? You seem really into them”

          That oughta shut them up.

      5. Not Myself

        Even if you were pregnant, just lie to them. If when they realize what’s up, everyone will know and they hopefully will be properly embarrassed. No need to let people out you, and it’s none of their business anyway..

        1. I'm older than I look!

          I agree and that would obviously be the plan. But, who knows IF once I’m pregnant if she caught me on a really bad day? Also, I’m a really terrible liar. NO poker face. And sometimes I cry at commercials. My best friend who recently had a baby said that she’d cry if you asked her what day of the week it was when she was pregnant (not all people do obviously but, what if that’s me? Or the proverbial pregnant person who is ever asked by a nosy coworker).

      6. NK

        A friend of mine was outed by a coworker who asked in front of a bunch of people if she was pregnant when she was very early on. Poor friend, between being really caught off guard and pregnancy hormones, burst into tears (and she’s not typically a crier). So that gave it away. Not cool at all to ask.

        1. I'm older than I look!

          YES. Exactly the scenario I was thinking in the above comment but wrote my comment before I read yours.

      7. BananaPants

        Ew. I knew my friend at work was pregnant before she announced it because I overheard her call her OBGYN’s office and I recognized the name of the test that she was calling for results on. She also looked pretty pale and she was clearly wearing maternity pants again and had started showing a bit. I still didn’t say anything to her or anyone else until SHE announced it, and then I told her that I’d figured it out weeks earlier. She said she basically assumed that was the case – none of the men we worked with had any clue and I’d never have said anything about it.

        The other woman in my group guessed that I was pregnant with my first before I announced it – she noticed the maternity panel on my pants. She tactfully didn’t say a word until I decided to out myself at work.

        Any time I mention feeling sick or tired MY OWN MOTHER asks if I’m pregnant. She actually asked this question several times each time I’ve been pregnant and I lied like a rug until we were ready to share the news, so I’m not sure why she thinks I’d suddenly be honest if I was actually pregnant!

      8. Aim Away From Face

        Just imagine if you told the little sweetheart that you didn’t want (nor like) kids.

        1. I'm older than I look!

          Actually that’s generally my go-to. I really am still unsure – I’m 28 and don’t have these strong maternal urges that my peers (and even people younger than I do). I feel like because I don’t explicitly WANT one, maybe that means I don’t want one? I get way more worked up about a puppy than I do a baby, and I literally want ALL. THE. PUPPIES.
          Regardless, my hubby really wants one so we’re having them eventually, we’re just not in a rush. I don’t blatantly NOT want them, I just am not baby-crazy I think.

          1. JoJo

            Having a child because somebody else wants one doesn’t seem like such a good idea, especially since you’re the one who will be pregnant, you’ll take the hit to your career and probably do most of the work.

            I’d do some hard thinking about what you really want.

            1. I'm older than I look

              Eh well like I said, it’s not that I DON’T want them, because no I don’t feel a baby-hatred or anything… I just don’t care really. Whereas many of my peers already have serious baby fever. Does that make sense? I have always thought I’d want kids, but the fact that I don’t OMG REALLY WANT ONE RIGHT NOW OMG is what gets me sometimes. Can people want them and NOT be crazy about it, I guess? Does this mean I don’t actually want them?
              (getting really deep here)

            2. I'm older than I look

              I don’t have baby-repulsion, and I actually like them fine and enjoy kids. I just see my friends with this inner burning desire and it honestly really seems similar to the way I feel about puppies. Am I supposed to feel about babies the way I feel about puppies? Bc I just kind of feel “meh” about babies. But I’m sure I’d be totally obsessed with my own, right?

              1. CV

                I never had a burning desire, I just knew I wanted kids. Like, I knew that I would like to have a little family and would enjoy doing kid-parent stuff. I was really taken by surprise to be so head-over-heels with my kids when they came along. I blame hormones!

                1. I'm older than I look

                  Thinking that’s what’s going to happen. I feel like if I really didn’t want them I’d have the opposite feeling – a burning desire to NOT have them.

      9. Student

        My response to this, generally: “No, I’m fat. Thanks.” {stink-eye}

        My response when I really want to make someone feel bad for asking: “No, I’m fat and sterile. Thanks for the reminder.” {stink-eye, walk away}. It’s true, and it’s a great way to lather guilt upon a nemesis. It was voluntary, surgical sterilization, but they don’t need to know that; and I happily lied before I was sterilized because I take a special, wicked glee in making people feel horrible for asking horrible questions like this.

      10. Elizabeth West

        I remember when a supervisor had begun showing and hadn’t said anything to our bosses yet and I didn’t even ask her. I figured she’d tell me when she was ready, and what if she wasn’t? What if it was some dire health condition? (It wasn’t; it was a bouncing baby boy!)

        I don’t know how the bosses could have missed it, but one of them was pretty dense.

    3. Career Counselorette

      Did she also put brown lunch bags in the bathroom to put sanitary napkins in? If so, it might have been my mom or her cousin.

  10. Jerry Vandesic

    “It’s the first time the company has ever had interns and she IMMEDIATELY flocked over to mother them …”

    Just proves the old adage that to avoid being a lion’s dinner you don’t need to be the fastest antelope on the savanna, you just can’t be the slowest.

    1. Cat

      Yeah, when I read the title of that post I was like “oh, well, that is annoying but it happens in offices . . . .” and then I got to the body and I was like “WHAT IS THIS CRAZY.”

  11. MiniatureAmericanFlagsForOthers

    The type of comments we are getting here are the ones I sort of expected on the last “older coworker won’t leave me alone” post, or for these ones to go the same way as the last ones, anyway. It’s interesting to see that the two have gone in different directions.

    1. LBK

      I thought it was interesting to see how different the response was in this case, too. I think it’s because of the implied romantic/sexual dynamic that occurs when the genders and sexualities of the people involved align. There was also direct evidence of romantic/sexual intentions in the other letter (he sent her “borderline inappropriate” texts), though, so it’s not like people are just immediately assuming the guy was interested in her because all guys must, by default, be interested in any woman they speak to.

      1. A Dispatcher

        Yep. Also (at least as related to the LW), the “mother” all but stopped her behavior by the end of the update. The older guy scaled his back, but didn’t stop (or move on to some other target)

    2. CC

      YES. Why is one meddling inappropriate man different from a meddling inappropriate woman? Both of them needed to be told to STOP.

      1. Lesbia's Sparrow

        Because it’s a lot less likely that a meddling inappropriate woman will escalate to stalking or physical violence.

  12. stellanor

    Wow. Maybe she should adopt a pet with special needs to get all that mothering out of her system. I’m sure she could find a sickly older dog or cat that would appreciate her attention way more than OP or the interns!

  13. Mena

    So now she is someone else’s problem (the interns)? Not really a solution to inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

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