Dear Annie: Morgan and I are from the same hometown, and a few weeks ago, she moved to the city where I live now. Though I'd never met her, we have a ton of mutual friends back home (or so I thought). She asked whether I'd show her around. I remembered what it was like to be new in town, so I was happy to help.
Morgan and I got along well and had a lot in common. The first night we went out, she asked whether she could sleep on my couch because it was so late. I said sure. Then she stayed the next night, without asking — and then the next. One morning, when I woke up, my car was gone. She had taken it to the store without even asking. She must have dug through my purse for the keys.
On top of this, she just got a job at the same store where I work. I started to get a little nervous about the lack of space, and I told her I needed to set some boundaries and hang out less.
This week, she asked whether she could live with me for a bit. I said no, but she won't stop bombarding me with calls. I asked a mutual friend what Morgan's deal is, and he told me that she's crazy and all our friends stopped talking to her years ago. Now what do I do? I feel really guilty ignoring her. — Suffocating
Dear Suffocating: Run; don't walk. You set boundaries, and she disrespected them. You told her she couldn't live with you, and she wouldn't take no for an answer. All this and you've only known her for three weeks.
I'm sounding the stage-five "clinger" alarm. Stop letting this girl into your life. Don't feel guilty; don't entertain any sort of dialogue. If you give her an inch, she'll take a mile (along with your keys, wallet and Social Security number).
Dear Annie: I work for a stationery company, and most of my co-workers are women. I am what you might call a guy's guy. I am a fan of every Chicago sports team (Cubs, not Sox). After a big game, I want to talk about it over the watercooler with my co-workers, yet I can't. The majority of the people I work with aren't big sports fans. The one other dude in my department spends his free time knitting sweaters for his pug. (I'm not even making that up.)
I come in Monday morning after a big Bears win, and people don't have a clue what happened 18 hours earlier. Jimmy Butler drops 53 on Philadelphia, and I want to compare his skills as a two-way player to MJ's yet have no one to talk to. The Cubs are in first place. The sorry, lovable-loser Cubbies, who haven't won a World Series in over 100 years, are in first place, and people in my office could not care less.
I like my job, and I do like the people I work with. It just feels as if there is a barrier, as if there is a side of me that they could never understand. How do I connect and get them to care about this stuff? — Secret Sports Guy
Dear Secret: If you focused more on doing your job, you'd be less bothered by the fact that your office isn't a sports bar. Sure, it's nice when we share the same interests as our co-workers, but it's by no means a requirement. Find time to connect with your fellow fans outside the office. Work is for work.
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