Ask Kari: How can I stop my colleague from texting me late at night after work?

Dear Kari,

I need some advice on to how to deal with a colleague at work who texts and calls me late at night. I think that she is lonely and needs some kind of social connection, but I have a full work schedule and a home life and I am growing tired of feeling like I need to respond to her. Plus, my wife is not keen on her contacting me anymore.  How can I get her to stop leaning on me for support?

--Not Feeling Friendly

Dear Not Feeling Friendly,

It sounds like your co-worker is lonely and is leaning on you for support. I suggest that you establish your professional boundaries as soon as possible before she causes challenges both at work and home.  I recommend that you do not respond to her calls and texts. Instead, practice your normal professional behavior with her and communicate with her only as needed for work. Hopefully, she will begin to understand that you are not available to serve as her support system and will turn her attention elsewhere.


As published in the September 2014 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

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