Here’s a situation that I hear about quite a bit, though usually it is a friend or family member inviting themselves along. A coworker needs to be handled delicately.
Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,
I have a business acquaintance who continually hints to me that she would like to travel with me one day. Whenever I mention that I am going somewhere she starts with the broad hints. “We should travel together. I also like going to ‘xyz’.” I continue to say nothing and ignore her each time. I would think that she would get the hint that I do not wish to travel with her. She is an extremely high-maintenance individual. Last year our company sent us to St. Louis for a week and while everyone else packed all they needed in carry on bags, she packed a huge checked suitcase along with her two carry ons. She is petulant and has a fit if she doesn’t get her way or things do not go as expected at work. The thought of being trapped in a room or a plane with her makes me cringe. How do I handle her pushiness?
Scared of Offending a Colleague
Dear Scared of Offending a Colleague,
Oh my dear, I offer these thoughts as response to your email.
- Do you goad this woman into thinking you would be open to traveling with her?
- Why do you continue to share your travel plans with her? Is it to show off?
- Have you considered that she is lonely and looking for a friend? I am not dismissing your very valid feelings about traveling with her personally. I obviously know nothing about either of you, but generally difficult people become so from insecurity. Perhaps she wasn’t sure about her wardrobe choices being appropriate which is why she packed so much to take with her on your joint business trip.
- Might you ‘day trip’ to local places of interest? This would give you both the opportunity to see a new place without the time or space commitment of being in a hotel room.
The bottom line is be kind. One never knows what struggles another has. And keeping peace at work is an important goal.
Best Peaceful Wishes,
The Lady Hooper-Brackett