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Doctor E
Doctor E, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience:  I am a Ph.D-level therapist and college professor with a specialty in couples counseling.
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A few years ago a Phillipino work colleague asked me out to

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A few years ago a Phillipino work colleague asked me out to see an Asian performance in the city.I decided to go see something differentt and have a night out.She said that we would go there together with a group of people.I was looking forward to this.After a had purchased tickets the plan had changed I was to go alone and meet them there. Also I was told that I would be seated on my own. When I got ther at the arranged time I waited approx 40 mins.When they arrived I confronted her in humor and asked her if they stoopped for coffee on the way ....she laughed apologised for the delay. A few days ago she asked me if i would come to her mothers funeral.I thought this was a bit arkward because i only met her mother once and only found out she was unwell 3 weeks ago by accident.I would have liked to have gone but again she stated that i could travel with her and i thought it was likely the plans would change last minute and I would end up on my own.Then i would have to do alot of travelling on my day off after working seven days straight.i would have to travell 15km to her place and the another 30km to the burial.
I told her on the phone that i would not feel comfortable as i am not a family or close friend of family.She stated she understood that also i would be tired on my day off and would want some rest.
My mother thinks I should keep away from her because she thinks she can do what she likes with me .What do you think?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Doctor E replied 1 year ago.

Doctor E : Hi there. Thanks for writing in with your question. I think this is a delicate situation, especially since this woman's mother recently passed away and she is grieving. She could therefore be more sensitive and vulnerable to your actions and reactions than usual. My first impression of this situation is that your coworker is definitely interested in you, though it is unclear as if yet whether as a friend or companion or something more. I do find it interesting that the plans from the time she asked you out changed so that the two of you would be alone. It's possible that she was excited to spend some alone time with you and this was how she felt more confident getting you to spend the time with her.
Doctor E : I'm not sure as to how she has been acting toward you in the time since she asked you out and recently when she invited you to the funeral. Is she originally from the Phillipines? Culturally, this may play a role as well. If she is relatively new to the country she may be lonely and looking for companionship. But since you mention her mother's funeral, that seems unlikely.
Doctor E : I think you handled the funeral situation very, very appropriately. You did not lead her on, either way, and made your reasons clear to her as to why you would feel uncomfortable there. I think you being direct but sensitive in this situation will help clarify for her that you do not feel close to her. It's very, very important that you draw boundaries in this situation and in the case of the funeral, you did so.
Doctor E : What remains unclear is what this woman's intentions are with you. I'm not sure I see it the way your mother does, that she thinks she can do what she likes with you, if there have only been 2 incidents where her behavior has been odd like this. You also mention that others have been put in this situation, which again suggests that this woman may have some different ways of seeking friendship or companionship that is not exactly the "norm".
Doctor E : I wonder why you feel you are isolating yourself? It would be helpful if you explain this. Again, I see that you have clarified your role to her and drawn a good boundary as to what you believe is appropriate and inappropriate. However, if you personally feel that your mother is right and you're being taken advantage of, then that is entirely your prerogative and I encourage you to go with your gut. You should never have to question yourself and someone who causes you to do so may not be someone you want to spend time with as it is.
Doctor E : Please let me know if this is helpful. I'm happy to discuss it with you more.
Customer:

I would feel isolated because I live alone without a partner. Also my mother easily dismisses any friendships I have and always makes me feel that I am being taken advantage of.

Customer:

The phillipino lady has been here a while.She usually does change plans and I have a mutual friend that has dismissed her for that reason,they have been friends for a shorter period.

Customer:

There was an occassion at work when she insisted thatI I relay to her what a work colleague said about her,As I was already angry with this colleague over another issue I decided to devulge.She later went to the manager with this and the relationship with the work colleague and I deteriorated.I know know i should of kept out of it but at the time i was trying to establish relationships.

Doctor E :

Oh, I see. So this is definitely more complicated than initially I understood from the first message. I can certainly understand you trying to develop a relationship, and sometimes we get caught up in feeling camaraderie with another person and we end up telling them things we wouldn't normally. It definitely wasn't fair for this woman to go to the manager with the information you gave her, but I hope you aren't beating yourself up over it too badly. These mistakes happen. It also sounds very difficult to have your mother be so involved in judging your friendships. Friendships are a tricky thing because we can't always be friends with people who are exactly like us: so we have to be in control of what qualities we will allow in our relationships, and the unpleasant ones that we can look over. Some people prefer to be pickier with their friends and then have less of them, if they can be happy with being alone more often. Others feel the need to surround themselves with more people, but a greater variety, even if personalities don't always mesh so well. That's a difficult decision that only you can make.

Doctor E :

With regards XXXXX XXXXX woman, I'm not sure she is "taking advantage" of you. But she may have poor boundaries herself, and is someone that you may wish to keep at arm's length until you have a better idea of what her own personality is like. Being friendly and superficial is OK, and sometimes there are relationships that are better left like that: friendly, casual, hanging out. You may be able to enjoy spending time with her if you know that this is someone who isn't always trustworthy, but at the same time could be fun to be around.

Doctor E, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience: I am a Ph.D-level therapist and college professor with a specialty in couples counseling.
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