My Husband's Coworker Drives Me Nuts!

Updated on November 03, 2010
S.B. asks from Chicago, IL
11 answers

Ladies, I need some advice for my husband. He has a coworker (a woman) who he is "friends" with that goes hot and cold on him nearly every week it seems. I'm pretty sure she's got some mental and emotional issues. In the past she has been inappropriate, in my opinion, by buying expensive gifts for my husband. I have put a stop to that, and her feelings got hurt, but she got over it. She's a shopaholic, and she has just about everything she could ever want for herself, so when her birthday or christmas comes along, my husband just usually gives her a nice card and that's that. We can't afford to buy expensive gifts for friends. Well, her birthday just passed on Sunday and my husband didn't have time to get a card and she flipped out. He has called and emailed to wish her a happy birthday and apologize, but she won't have it. While we both think that she is extremely immature and ridiculous, I hate that my husband has to deal with her craziness. They do work together, and the professional relationship should not suffer because of this. I should mention that she has flipped out like this before, more than once, and always returned to being friends with my husband. I should also mention that she is married and I do not believe she "wants" my husband, and he certainly wants nothing more than friendship with her. What advice would you give to help calm her down? I've thought about writing her myself and giving her my perspective.

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So What Happened?

She works in a different department, but my husband does have to do business with her on occasion. There are others that she has befriended in this manner. I'm not sure if she has ever gotten upset with them like this, though. She is not his boss, but her position is higher on the ladder, and she's got her nose in everything. He won't go to HR about it, it's not really that serious. I won't really write to her, but writing helps me organize my thoughts, so I thought it might help my husband know what to say. He'll probably just ignore her for awhile, and sooner or later she'll come around. I wish I could say that he would just drop her as a friend, but it's not likely while he works there.

Also, FYI, I am not a controlling wife, I am asking for advice FOR my husband. When I said I put a stop to the gift giving, what happened was I insisted that my husband tell her to knock it off. She wasn't just giving him gifts for birthday/christmas, it was random and way too often. She apparently treats all her friends this way, but I don't think it's right and we cannot reciprocate so I asked that it stop.

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answers from Austin on

The more attention you give her the more she will bother him. It is just like a child.. Do not respond to bad behaviors only to the good..

I do not understand why she is allowed to act this way at work.. Or is she a big boss?
She sounds like she has lots of issues.

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answers from Washington DC on

what won't she have? she can flip out all she likes but if your husband calmly tells her that he's sorry she's hurt but he doesn't do birthdays (i myself don't ever remember any but my own kids') and goes on about his business, she'll be ranting to thin air.
drama queens need an audience. your husband can be pleasant and professional but easily deny her the feedback she craves. she'll move on to a more receptive crowd.

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answers from Dallas on

OMGosh - no letter! stay out of it as much as possible! It is not your job and not your relationship. I do sympathize that her actions impact your house when hubby comes home upset, etc. But really, that needs to stay at work and he needs to find a way to leave it at the door.
I must admit I am a little confused. Are they the only two people in the office? Does she dote and spin out of control with all the people she works with?
Does your husband have a boss he can discuss this with? At the very least, the inapropriateness should be discussed with HR, especially if she is in a supervisory role over your husband or providing any kind of performance reviews. It is a form of workplace harrassment - she is creating a hostile work environment.
Is there any way, since she is just a coworker, he can simply NOT hang out with her personally?
I have worked with a lot of people that I don't socially spend time with. . .
A lot of unkowns, but I would suggest he 1. start to distance himself from her. 2. don't act as if anything "wrong" happened by not sending a card (ex, the excessive emails and notes - who cares just what she wants is the drama)
3. start documenting these run ins and
4. involve HR immediately!
Hang in there!

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answers from New York on

In the workplace one should always be polite, efficient and effective. This does not equal being friends with all or any of your coworkers. In a perfect world it would be pleasant and wonderful to have positive friendships with the people we work with but sometimes we just need to be professional and not cross over into friend country. Since she is immature and/or crazy, my personal motto is to leave the crazy people alone. I don't entertain relationships with crazy people. I maintain my professionalism, keeping things as simple as possible, daily hellos and good byes and discussions of the work if necessary but there is no unnecessary conversation with unstable people. No goo can come from it.

Your husband needs to make a decision about what he is going to do or not do in regards to his unstable coworker and then do just that while maintaining a exceptional level of professionalism and work ethic. As his wife your job is to encourage him but don't throw yourself into the mix. Doing so would be unprofessional on your part and I I know this may be a hard thing to ask of you but it must be done. I hope this helps.


Just read your post. Siince she doesn't work in his department there is no need for him to be nothing but coordial but nothing more. So no more cards, gifts or the like and he definitely shouldn't be accepting gifts from her and all of this can be promptly squashed especially since she is being weird with him now anyway. My concern as a wife would be that my husband would be entertaining this kind of drama in his workplace which could effect his pay and job. Not a wise move, I think.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

This should be your husband's problem NOT yours.. don't write her.. Clearly, your husband in "some way" must help to perpetuate her behavior.. Whether he realizes it or not. If this truly is a big problem for him, then HE, not you, needs to take it to HR.. Personally, I think too much time is wasted in the workplace trying to be PC and nice to everyone.. Unless you are friends with someone outside of work.. cards and gifts should be a no no... people are there to work not make friends.. So many have it the other way around.. When you say that you have put a stop to her buying him gifts, you also sound very controlling which leads me to believe it's YOU that is making a bigger problem of this than perhaps your husband.. My advice... you can't "calm" her down.. her behavior is her behavior and only she can change it.. .However, you can get a grip on your own behavior and just not let this kind of nonsense bother you so much. Life is short.. there are crazies everywhere in the world..

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answers from Orlando on

I don't know if I would notify HR yet, but I would definitely start documenting these outbursts & things that have happened in the past.

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answers from Seattle on

That is exactly the reason why I don't make "friends" with co-workers. It's just not good for your work life - too bad he has let this slide for so long.

I would say if he doesn't work with her on a daily basis, he should back away from her and only deal with her professionally. If she is letting her issues spill over into her work he needs to address it with his supervisor, but if it's not affecting the work they have to do together I would just let it go.

There is no need for big dramatic actions, this drama has gone on for way too long in the first place. Just back off, be polite and professional and no longer invite her into your personal life and decline her non-work related invitations. Period.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

Sounds like your husband may just need to leave it alone. Quit giving her gifts all together, she may be thinking he's leading her own when he does this.
Also she sounds like she's thinking herself a girlfriend. I've never known a "friend" that went nuts like this over a lack of birthday card but I have seen girlfriends or wives that have gone "nuts" over getting nothing for their birthday/christmas. ( as well they should)

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answers from New York on

You don't say much about the company, but he might want to talk to his HR department. This behavior can not create a healthy work environment...

That being said, don't contact her - she sounds like a whack-a-do and the last thing you need is to be more on her radar.

Your husband should try to get it back to a cordial work relationship - nothing personal, this is not a freindship it sounds like more like an abusive relationship.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I believe he (and you) should basically ignore her as much as possible. Easy to say and hard to do, I know, but really, what else can you do? She sounds very immature.

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answers from Boise on

I think if he is just polite and gets on with his work, she will come back around. That being said, that is how it should stay, don't have him encourage the friendship more than that with any type of gifts, etc. In my office, we may say happy birthday, a few people exchange cards, and if it is a big b-day there may be a cake. Nothing personal (unless there is a relationship outside of work), and no gifts.

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