Stay away from my desk!
April 1, 2012 4:35 PM Subscribe
An acquaintance keeps showing up at my office. What's a reasonable boundary for me to draw here, and how do I do that?
I'm a graduate student. I met "Jen" on a dating website a couple of months ago, where she mentioned that she's a student in a department that shares a building with mine. (I'm also a woman, if that matters.) We exchanged a couple of emails, but neither of us suggested meeting in real life. Then, about a month ago, I met her in the elevator at work. She followed me to my department's office, where we sat in the common area and made awkward conversation. She mentioned that she's actually an undergrad. So the next time I saw her, a day or two later, I told her that I don't want to date an undergrad in a department I might TA for, and that was that. Right?
The thing is, she now seems to think we're good friends, and we're not, and I want her to stop making social calls to my office. She's a nice person, but I just don't like her all that much, and anyway it's unusual for non-work friends to visit people there. She has shown up there at least twice, and asked my colleagues for me. The last time, I arrived at the office and she was sitting in the common area. I went to put my stuff down and she followed me to my desk. (The office has a common area in the middle and a warren of cubicles around the edges of the room. My desk is not visible from the common area.) So, now she knows where it is.
Then today, April 1, she emailed me:
Her: You should consider coming to the office today. Let's just say April Fools is my favorite holiday.
Me: Please tell me you didn't do something to my desk. That would not be funny.
Her: That's a shame. It was really cool.
Me: Yeah, I'm really not comfortable with people who are not my coworkers going to my desk - much less modifying it - when I'm not there.
Arrrggh. Am I over-reacting, or is she really being inappropriate here? Do I need to say anything more to make her stop? I can't ask her not to come to the office at all, because she might take classes that have their office hours there. What is a reasonable boundary for me to draw, and how can I enforce it?