Shared Office Space Creates Tension

Dear Suri, I work in a “shared office environment,” which only means that everyone shares an office with at least two other people. It is mostly a space issue, but my supervisor also says it was done to boost teamwork. I guess people were relying on e-mail and chat and not actually talking to each other for weeks on end.

I actually don’t mind this setup, and the people I share with are usually pretty good about not listening to loud music, keeping food and perfume smells to a minimum, etc. But now this one lady has started to mess the whole thing up.

She just got a new personal computer, and now insists that everyone lock the door when they leave the office. It is just stupid. I’ve already been locked out three times, and it is just a waste of time and productivity.

Business People Working In Office
We’re all in this together

Labor Intensive

I’m overweight, so I usually empty my pockets when I get to work. The way dress pants are made, they don’t leave a lot of ‘extra room,’ if you know what I mean. It just gets too tight and uncomfortable when I sit down with stuff in my pockets. I’ve started to put my wallet and keys in a drawer and leave them in there until the end of the day. So when this lady pulls this stuff, it means I get locked out. I am tired of it!

Twice Shy

I complained to a co-worker, and he said that she (my office mate) had some stuff stolen a few years back when she had her own office. They took her computer, purse and some other stuff. Some guy posed as a janitor and just swiped stuff from everyone. I guess he made off with a lot, and then was never seen again. But that was years ago, and also when her office was on the first floor. Now we’re on the second floor. It would take balls to come up here and pull that stuff!

I think this lady is being disrespectful. Constantly locking the door is annoying, especially since she has a drawer that locks! Just keep your stuff in there. Don’t force the rest of us to play this game every day! — Locked Out in Loch Haven, Pennsylvania
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Dear Locked Out, Rebuilding trust can be a long and difficult process. More than the mere loss of material possessions, theft is a violation of privacy and security. The emotional toll can last for years — even a lifetime.

Remaining sympathetic to your co-worker’s concerns, could you not draft a personal reminder to bring your keys when you leave the office? Good luck. ~Suri

Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya
Advice Editor
Residential Life Magazine

Suri Says: Life Stages

Dear Suri, I don’t have a lot of money lying around, but when my bro from, like, the first grade was getting married last year, I knew I had to get a gift. I mean, I wanted to get a gift. This was gonna be a huge day for him, and I definitely wanted to be there to give him my full support, and also help them out getting a life started, or whatever. We’ve been through some times together, and I wasn’t going to miss this noise!

bride and groom holding a sign that reads 'thank you'
Just say it

I didn’t buy anything special; just picked something on the gift registry and went from there. That’s not even the point, though. It’s been almost four months and I haven’t heard a word from him! No ‘thank you,’ no ‘It was great to see you, man,’ not even a ‘Go to hell,’ which would have been a lot better than them just ignoring me.

It’s been long enough that they’ve already taken their honeymoon and are back home now, so don’t even try to defend them on that one! I think they’re just cheap bastards and they don’t know how even basic courtesy. I know I’m cussing here, and it’s ‘cause I’m getting pissed.

I won’t ever go to any wedding again. And if these guys have a kid, or whatever, I don’t even care. I’ll ignore them like they ignored me. I haven’t talked to this guy in months. Who cares if we ever talk again. You get what you give, and that’s just the way it is. — Suck it
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Dear “Suck it,” Words often mask emotions. Your note begins with a nostalgic glimpse into what I’m sure has been an exceptional bond of friendship, but soon gives way to colorful sentiments I’m not entirely convinced you fully believe.

Now is the time to break the silence that has been created, to reach out to your friend and explain the reasons behind your reaction. Far from confrontational, this interaction should be a two-way discussion, focusing on your changing relationship, and how your camaraderie can continue to build moving forward. Good luck to you! ~Suri
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Suri Says™
by Suri Syrtauwnya | Advice | Residential Life Magazine

Awkward Proposal

Dear Suri, I’ve been dating ‘Derek’ for about three years now. We’ve been living together for two. He’s a wonderful man, and I couldn’t be happier with our relationship. I think we both know that we are made for each other, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he proposed during a hot air balloon ride. The thing is, I was.

sad faceI love him, and I am ready to get married. I’ve been waiting for it my whole life! I just didn’t like the whole “mid-air” proposal. The balloon-operator guy was there, and ‘Derek’ had obviously told people what he was going to do, because I could see our friends and family on the ground below. I never gave him an answer. I just stood there, shocked, then told the balloon guy he had to take us down. I could see ‘Derek’ was not happy.

When we landed, everyone wanted to know what happened. ‘Derek’ took off, pissed, and I ran off crying. I tried to explain it, but no one seems to understand what I’m going through, or why I did what I did. I mean, this is what I’ve always wanted! His friends won’t talk to me, and even my friends think I’m a psycho. What the hell is wrong with me?! — Apprehensive in Ansonia (CT)
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Dear Apprehensive, Emotions can be confusing and unpredictable. Perhaps you were nervous that day, or were ‘caught off guard’ by the proposal. Your emotional assessment of the situation may also have been affected by the presence of the balloon operator, or your loved ones awaiting your safe return. There is, however, another possibility to consider.

You and ‘Derek’ have shared a home for two-thirds of your relationship. Have you ever been apart for any length of time during that period? Emotional well-being includes a firm knowledge of oneself. Even married people should take heed not to lose the grasp on their personal identities.

Rather than expending your emotional resources on trying to “explain” your feelings, now may be the time to focus on yourself, as you determine — and perhaps reinforce — your true intentions for ‘Derek’ and the future of your relationship. There is no wrong answer, however the final decision is one that only you can make. ~ Suri 
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Suri Says™

by Suri Syrtawnya Advice | Residential Life Magazine