How to deal with a very clingy friend?

My old friend and I are doing master together. We're in our final year, and I happen to be working as a TA now. Whereas we both have offices in the same corridor for our use, my friend can focus on only writing her master thesis at her own pace, while I have to do some teaching and deal with admin stuffs too. 

The problem is that she seems oblivious to the fact that I'm now working. She always pops in my office to chat, and - despite me saying that I have to work - she wouldn't leave, preferring to camp in my office with her books, where she feels she can ask me questions about her thesis or chat from time to time. Once I told her that I'm really busy, and she told me she'd wait until I finish the task on hand, and I could answer her afterwards.

I feel very uncomfortable with her presence now, because I cannot take a 5-minute break for myself without her saying, "so you're free now?". I had a serious chat with her twice (that now I'm not as free as before, and often I have to do overtime because I couldn't focus with having her around), and she said "OK", but apparently she's not listening and continues. Even sometimes my professor raised her eyebrows finding my friend camping in my office.  

I wonder if this is the end of our friendship. I'm so ready to tell her that I'm tired of being her friend, because she cannot give me space and uses my office as her playroom. It feels so absurd to lose a friendship over this, but I'm at the end of my tether. Advise?

Update:

Thank you for your two cents! I did some that each of you suggested. Now she's pouting but leaves me in peace, and I find out that I don't really care. I was very exhausted and now I feel that there is a burden gone. 

13 Answers

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  • 3 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    When she comes in, tell her right away that you can't have her in your office now, and that she needs to leave, because you're supposed to be working. Tell her straightforwardly that you can't concentrate if someone is lurking behind your back, whoever it is, and when you have a short break, it's a "me-time", not "whatever-her-name-is time".

    I had a colleague like yours before while doing an internship. She replied that she could have someone in her office, because it's nice to be in someone's presence. I simply told her that I'm not her, full-stop. That same day I put a sign on her door: "Jane's play room". It did the trick.

    Good luck!

    • Blanche3 weeks agoReport

      I did the sign and it worked. She's pouting and all, but for the first time I could work in peace!

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  • Daisy
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    She may need more explicit instructions.  May I suggest you tell her, "I have a lot to do with teaching responsibilities and my own work.  Let's meet on Friday (end of the week) for lunch and talk about your thesis had how you're doing."  You are still setting time aside for her and she needs to allow you to do your work.

    I was a TA back in the 80s.   I not only did the teaching, grading, etc- I had to keep up with my own classes,, etc.  It's a lot of work and there's a lot of pressure.   Hopefully, she'll get the idea and ease up.   If not, you may need to be more specific and ask her not to come to your office without asking when you're really free. 

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Not really an Etiquette question. Why not move it to 'Relationships/Friends'?

    • Your Majesty
      Lv 4
      3 weeks agoReport

      I think the OP actually wants to know how she could diplomatically banish her friend. 

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Slap him for 30 minutes non stop

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  • Dv8s
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Ask your professor, what you should do, she's already acknowledged the problem. She will be able to guide you better, knowing both of you.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Nobody can take advantage of you without your permission. Your leniency toward your friend's Behavior has caused it to be all right, as far as she's concerned.

    You've got to let her know that her presence in your office is distracting and causing you not to meet your goals. Also let her know that your professor is giving you the evil eye because of her presence in your office. Therefore, you can tell her that she is no longer able to work in your office.

    Your friend obviously has boundary issues and does not respect your space, therefore she has not earned the right to be there and it's up to you to tell her so.

    There is no need to come right out and end the friendship. But you do have to put your foot down and let her know that she can no longer study in your office.

    To your comments... Your friend will continue to take advantage of you as long as you allow her to. It is painfully obvious that she does not respect you, your time, your job, your profession, or your goals. She clearly does not care and listen to your requests of leaving you alone. You have given her chance after chance. It is now your time to stop playing the victim. You have control over this situation, but you choose not to exercise it. You simply say, I'm sorry you'll have to leave my office now I have to concentrate. Then stand up and motion to the door. If she tries to delay you, she doesn't have you super glued to the floor or to the chair, you can just get up and say I have to go now goodbye. Then leave.

    I always found it so peculiar that we as individuals are always too afraid to offend somebody who has first offended us. Why do we do that? This girl is an obstacle then you have to overcome so you can meet your goals. And if that means being a little more Stern and appearing to be rude yourself, then that's what you do. Nobody but nobody is worth forfeiting your forward momentum.

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    maybe you should lock up your office so she cant bother you

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  • 3 weeks ago

    I would ask for a change of office--to somewhere possibly in another bldg...so that it isn't s easy for her to wander in.  short of that--I am sure there is a door with a lock.  you can put up a "do not disturb" sign.  if she continues then she is either incredibly dense or she doesn't care about your feelings at all.  you can always tell her--I can't be disturbed right now--I have so much work to do--but I will come and find you when I am finished.  if she just continues to ignore you then it isn't absurd to lose a friendship over this--obviously she feels she is more important and your time is of little consequence.

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    • Your Majesty
      Lv 4
      3 weeks agoReport

      Reading your comments here, have you considered the possibility that she's jealous that you're a TA and trying to sabotage your work? I don't know her and you should be the judge of that, but it seems very strange that an adult does this. If she's doing master, she's certainly not "dense", right?

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  • 3 weeks ago

    I would have your boss tell her she is not allowed in the office anymore because it is interfering with your work.  That you can only talk in the break or lunch room, not in the office. 

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  • 3 weeks ago

    This really isn't your friend's fault, but your own because you have failed to set boundaries.  It also makes sense why if you aren't the confrontational type.  Setting boundaries often does require you to have that honest uncomfortable short conversation to define them, but sometimes that can be avoided if you have someone else to blame.  In your case, that would be your professor, claiming he has prohibited social office visits solves the immediate problem and you could offer her the consultative suggestion of asking her to text you about hooking up when you are free.  In reality you are only looking for a little space with some of your time and that should accomplish it.  If you want more than that, then you actually will need to have the short uncomfortable honest conversation about exactly what you need from her.  A real friend is usually initially ticked off by them, but gets over it quickly.  Good Luck.

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    • linkus86
      Lv 7
      3 weeks agoReport

      Your majesty, you shouldn't expect ANYONE to act a certain way.  We are all unique individuals that should not be generalized.  Hope?  Yes.  But not expect.

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