Dear Diane Column — August 13, 2011

Dear Diane,

There’s a woman in my office that is constantly in everyone’s business. I cringe every time I smell her perfume, which is another problem. She seems intent on studying what everyone is doing and then telling tales to the bosses. She will ask questions that are really invasive, and I feel like telling her to leave me alone, but if I do, then I’m a person who will get talked about. I like my job, and I just want to be left alone to do it. This woman has no right to invade my workspace, yet I don’t know how to keep her away. She seems to have an “in” with the head of my department, but I’m ready to let her have it. How do I keep from blowing my top? Will I need to quit this job?


Dear T.L, 

We have all been a victim of a person like this, and I feel for you. The invasive busybody who tries to control things is practically an office cliché. Having dealt with this one myself, I can pass along a couple of tips.
First, have an answer prepared for when she swoops in for the attack. I used to say: “Oh, hey, I wish I had time to chat, but I’m on a deadline .Talk to you later!” You could also try something like: “You are so lucky to have time to chat! Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of work ahead, so I’ve got to keep plugging away.”
Secondly, visualize a white light of protection around yourself that fills your body and your workspace. When she approaches your desk, send as much light as possible to your problematic person. Most likely, she will begin to steer clear of you.
I pick up that your boss is wise to this woman, so don’t worry too much. I see her being transferred to another department by the end of the year.


Dear Diane,

About once every year or two my husband’s mother comes to visit. She’s a sweet lady, but it’s almost impossible to get her to go home. Last year she stayed for six weeks, and while my husband told her she was welcome to stay, I was getting very frustrated. She makes it impossible to do things with my friends, as she always gets involved with the conversations. When I correct my son, she tells me not to be so hard on him. Her last visit she cleaned out the drawers in my kitchen, which felt really unpleasant, like she disapproved of something. She’s a widow and Tom is her only child.  I want her to feel welcome to visit us, but I’m dreading the next time I see her. Any suggestions?

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up

You sound like a very kind and supportive wife, and it takes a lot of patience to deal with relatives, even nice ones.  I pick up that Tom’s mother is lonely, and she needs to feel needed again. The next time she visits, choose a few things she can do to help out. If you are thinking of planting a garden, you could ask her to go to the nursery and pick out some roses. Perhaps you could enlist her to watch your son while you and Tom have a romantic evening out.
So many people need help at this time, so you might get her involved in a charitable cause if you have one that’s dear to you. Hopefully, she will continue the cause when she returns home.
Finally, speak with your husband about planning a visit that has a set ending. Inviting someone for a specific week or month leaves a clear departure date for you to reference. With a few tweaks here and there, her next visit should go more smoothly.
I see her meeting someone special in a couple of years, who will bring a lot of joy to her life. Blessings!


Dear Diane,

I’ve had a small lump on my arm for many years, and my doctor said it was a fatty cyst, nothing to be concerned about. I don’t know why, but I’m terrified that it might be cancer. I know logically that it’s been there for a long time, so it’s most likely nothing, but I think about it obsessively. My friend said she thought it might be linked to a past life. If so, how do I get over the fear?


Dear Berta,

Irrational fear is a difficult thing to deal with. While I do feel that you have had a previous lifetime with cancer involved, I see that this problem goes deeper. There are issues from your childhood that are causing general anxiety, and this blemish is a perfect focus for it. Even if you remove this cyst, I pick up “fear” as an ongoing issue.
Talking to a therapist on a short term basis may help you to find the root of this stress. Otherwise, I see you finding another focus for your fear.
I pick up good health for you for many years to come, so please enjoy it. Good luck!


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