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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole

I’m embarrassed by my girlfriend insisting on bringing my lunch to
me at work. I know that she means well, but it’s really not necessary, and my co-workers tease me about it. Would it be rude if I asked her to stop? — Embarrassing Girlfriend

DEAR EMBARRASSING GIRLFRIEND: While it is sweet for your girlfriend to bring your lunch to work every day, it also could be considered excessive. It is OK for you to ask her to hand you your lunch before you leave home in the morning. In that way, you can have it, but the handoff does not occur at your workplace. Be honest with her. Tell her that your co-workers are teasing you about it, which makes the gesture disruptive to your work environment. This may hurt her feelings, since obviously she is trying to make a big gesture to show her commitment to you.

Point out that while her deliveries are lovely for your relationship, she may also want to think about the relationship status of others at your job. For the single people or those who do not have partners who are able or willing to engage in this way, the gesture may make them uncomfortable. For you, it has added a layer of aggravation that is distracting you from your work.

Gently ask her to stop bringing your lunch to work. You will be happy to accept it at home if she still wants to create it. If she decides to stop making you lunch altogether, that’s a sign of a bigger issue. Perhaps she needs the attention at your job, or she feels the need to let people know you are hers. Either way, that level of possessiveness can lead to challenges over time.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My roommate is becoming increasingly jealous of
the time that I spend with her younger sister. My roommate’s younger sister moved in with us after she graduated from college. When she first moved in, all three of us would hang out, and there were never any issues. When my roommate started picking up more hours at work, her sister and I naturally started spending more time together at home without her. She told me the other day that she thinks I like her sister more than her.

I don’t want to cause any issues. Should I stop spending so much time with my roommate’s sister? — Jealous Roommate

DEAR JEALOUS ROOMMATE: Your roommate is experiencing the pros and cons of being fully occupied with work while you and her sister are not. And yes, she is jealous. Sit down and talk to her with compassion. Acknowledge how great

it is that her work has picked up and how much you miss her because
of it. Remind her that you know this new work schedule is good for her, at least short-term, but you see that it is hard for her to be disconnected from her personal life.

Be clear when you tell her that you enjoy her sister’s company, but that in no way means that you are no longer friends with her or that you prefer her sister. You do not need to cut her sister out of your life — a move that would
be awkward, considering she lives with you. Instead, help your roommate understand that it is
her new schedule that is creating distance between you. You still love her and will happily spend time with her when she is able.

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