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Old 03-29-2011, 12:54 PM   #1
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Need help setting boundary

This is just one example of a situation that keeps reoccurring with different people in my life. A former co-worker now cleans my house for me, and each time she comes, she proceeds to tell me all her marital problems, in great detail. All this time, I really don't offer anything, as she is very long-winded in describing every detail, and I sort of tune it out. However, it leaves me feeling very drained. I've tried telling her maybe she should talk to someone who knows how to help in these situations, because I don't feel right about offering advice. I've made excuses to leave when she comes, but don't feel I should have to, when I have things I need to be doing at home. I'm a pretty passive person and usually avoid confrontation, so I don't have much practice in setting boundaries.

 
Old 03-29-2011, 02:59 PM   #2
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Re: Need help setting boundary

Direct:
Be honest with her in that you would like her to just clean your house without adding any other stress in your life.

Indirect

Get a new house cleaner. Or if you really would like to still have her around because her cleaning skills/helping a friend, wear headphones and do something else.

 
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Re: Need help setting boundary

I know you're right, and she is a very good cleaning lady (they are hard to find!) so I think I'll have to be direct. It does stress me out. I have that mess on my mind for hours after she leaves. So that would be an honest approach, too. Thank you so much. I needed those examples.

 
Old 03-29-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Re: Need help setting boundary

If she starts again next time she is at your house, you should interrupt her and say, "I'm sorry to hear you're having a rough time. I have a lot on my mind right now too, so it's hard for me to focus on what you're saying. I hope both of our situations improve." and then walk away and go to another room. I think that's a good way to at least give her a hint. If she keeps doing it, just keep telling her, "I'm sorry, I'm really busy right now and I don't have a lot of time to talk, thanks for your understanding!"

 
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Re: Need help setting boundary

I am sorry, but I don't think this will change. You have already given her enough hints, but she goes on and on. If you are direct with her, she may become resentful and the quality of her work may drop.

I know she is a good cleaner, but if this situation is stressing you big time, you better hire another one.

But I know this can be another source of stress for you: How are you going to lay her off without hurting her and giving her your actual reasons for doing so?

 
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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Re: Need help setting boundary

I also agree that it is not going to end -- or should I say end well -- even if you are direct with her.

It is likely that she will be hurt -- even though that is not your intention -- and it is possible that there will be a period of sulking, maybe passive aggressive ("Well, I wanted to ask you about the laundry, but you had your headphones on...") behavior and other negative things I cannot think of right now.

And, after that period, I would bet that when, in her mind, "the dust settles" or something major or devastating happens and she is crying at work or whatever, you'll be right back in the grip of it. Not because of you, but because she is lacking the boundaries.

There are plenty of people who clean well and I think it might be a good idea to at least start seeking referrals.

Take care.

 
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