I’m convinced there are some people who need supervision and guidance in public. Not the holding their hands and making sure they get food in their mouth instead of finger-painting walls kind of supervision. More like someone who will give them a gentle nudge when they need it. Or a hard shove.
Case in point, a lady we’ll call Jane. Obviously this is not her real name, but I trust you all know how the “protect the identity” thing works. I met her several years ago. She seemed to be nice so we got friendly. Soon afterward she started doing and saying things that made me feel awkward and at times insulted. It was consistent enough I didn’t feel comfortable with her in a close-personal-friend position. I tried to gently back her off a step. Still a friend, just not as intimate of one.
Funny thing about Jane… She doesn’t recognize any level of friendship other than being close enough to share life details and TMI. If you are her “friend” she wants constant access and to tell you everything… and I do mean everything… that is going on in her life. She also wanted to help herself to little things around my house. She didn’t ask to use or borrow things, she just took them.
The final straw for me was when my mother sent me one of her periodic “care packages” stuffed with little things like chocolate, little toys for the kids and little this and that items she’d bought for me. (My mother is awesomeness, by the way.) Jane was there when I got it and stuck her hand in the box to grab things before I had a chance to see what all was there. I did take everything out of her had and let her know it was for me and my children. She acted quite insulted, as if she hadn’t just tried to steal my gift from me.
Luckily I moved several thousand miles away after this. Between distance and caller ID I was able to avoid Jane for a year.
Until she moved, too. Guess where she ended up?
I took the only evasive action left to me. I stopped answering the phone.
Last week she showed up on my front porch with children in tow. There was a stunned “oh crap’ moment as I stood face-to-face with her. Before I could form a defensive plan she had parked herself on my couch and sent all kids to the park. I had been outmaneuvered by a master strategist.
I had been peeking at my Facebook fan page when she arrived, and she asked me if she could pretty-please check her page. Before I knew it she had commandeered my computer and was loading Farmville.
Thankfully it was hot and the kids only stayed out for a little bit. When they came back in I noticed something odd. She has two boys, and I have three… but there were six boys sitting in my living room. She’d brought the other boy up with them so he could play video games. Um… thank you for volunteering my electronics?
After nearly two hours of my dropping hints, stating I needed to work, pointing out that I was sick and needed to rest, and flat-out asking when she was going to leave, she finally said she was hungry and asked if I needed help getting dinner ready.
Yes, she was inviting herself to dinner.
I saw an opportunity.
I jumped up and grabbed my keys, because I suddenly needed to go shopping. I kept up a nonstop chatter, telling her it was nice she drove all the way up here to visit and too bad she had to go and offered to walk her to the car on my way out. She was finally gone. She’ll be back.
Any suggestions for removing unwanted guests?