Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Co-worker Tries Too Hard to Be Friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: There’s a woman at my job who has decided that she wants me to be her best friend. Whenever she has a free moment, she hovers by my desk. She tries to go to lunch with me when I go out. She’s the first to sign up if co-workers want to go out for drinks -- if she hears that I am going. This woman is cramping my style. I like her fine, but she is acting like a stalker. How can I get her to give me some space? -- Stalker Co-worker, Philadelphia

DEAR STALKER CO-WORKER: Start by making yourself scarce right before you plan to head out with other co-workers. Be discreet so that this woman does not know your whereabouts. If she doesn’t think you are going to attend particular events, perhaps she will stop going.

You can tell her that on a particular afternoon or evening, you have planned to spend one-on-one with another co-worker. Perhaps she can join you at another time. If the subtle hints don’t work, you may have to be direct. Tell her that you like hanging out with her sometimes, but you need her to back off a little bit. You want the freedom to do whatever you want by yourself.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a daughter, and I have a friend with two sons. My friend is set on one of her boys marrying my daughter. Obviously, this is a long way away. The kids are just in high school now. But the reality is that right now my daughter doesn’t give these boys the time of day. She doesn’t seem interested in them -- even as friends. She has her own friend group, and I can’t force her to be close to these boys if they don’t share interests. I used to try to force them to spend time together, but it didn’t work. What should I say to my friend when she asks me to create moments for the kids to get together? -- Bad Match, Sausalito, California

DEAR BAD MATCH: Tell your friend to stop with the matchmaking already. The kids are just that -- kids. They have their lives ahead of them, and you do not intend to serve as matchmaker for them. Point out that when they get older, if they discover each other that will be lovely, but you will not be party to trying to force a match that doesn’t seem to be natural. One of the worst things that a parent can do is to pressure a child to be in a relationship that doesn’t feel like a fit.

I know that there are many cultures where arranged marriages remain common. But that is not the typical American way. Don’t get caught up in your friend’s drama. Ask her to back off. Give the children space to come together on their own. If it is meant to be, you will soon find out.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)