Confronting Coworkers Who Blow Up Your Pregnancy Spot, Cutting Ties with Hobos, and Other Questionable AdviceS

Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions to caity.weaver@gawker.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."

I am an American working in China. A new Canadian colleague arrived around the time my husband and I got married. I was tired during her training and she suggested I was pregnant. She followed up a few times, asking how I was and if I'd gone to a doctor. When it turned out I WAS pregnant and she asked again, I told her (at an expat function separate from work) we'd just found out that day that we are expecting. She immediately told the Chinese staff that I was pregnant and now I am being harassed by my manager to "tell the truth" about my pregnancy, and management has sent various employees to find out whether or not it's true. I feel that as a fellow North American, this woman should have had some idea that it's not appropriate for anyone but me to tell my boss this news. Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

The "fellow North American" qualifier is a flawed one, as many things we Americans consider rude are actually quite polite and normal in Canada. While, in the United States, serving someone an inferior bacon product is a punishable offense, in Canada this is standard practice. Punching someone in the stomach is known as a "Halifax hug." Many Canadians refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. Et cetera.

On top of that, haven't you ever watched an episode of Degrassi? You saw how fast word got around about what Bianca did to Drew in the boiler room. (If you haven't seen it, she did a blowjob to him and everyone found out immediately.) When the gossip involves sex (or a sex by-product, like a baby or STD), Canadians cannot keep it to themselves.

All of which is to say: just as not all tired women are pregnant, so aren't all North Americans well versed in the rules of social propriety.

It was wrong of your colleague to inform management of your pregnancy, not only because it now places you in the awkward position of being repeatedly interrogated about just what is happening inside of you these days, but also because it robs you of the chance to break your happy news yourself.

It's not completely clear from your letter whether your colleague intentionally ratted you out to the boss, or mentioned it in passing, under the erroneous assumption it was public knowledge. Regardless, it's probably best, from this point forward, to restrict your remarks to this woman to things you wouldn't mind having rebroadcast around the office—even if the two of you are interacting in a non-work setting.

If she continues to pepper you with questions about the pregnancy (it seems, from the anecdotes you shared, like she's a big fan of follow-ups), just deflect them. You're under no obligation to keep this work colleague updated about your personal life, even if she is from a country that signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Consider mentioning, in passing, "I had a baby a couple weeks ago," after the child is born.

All this is not to suggest, though, that you should be unpleasant to her. I'm still a bit mystified as to how she figured out you were pregnant just from seeing you tired a couple of times. (Did she see you yawn one morning, grasp both of your hands in hers, and whisper "You are with child"? Or were you taking long naps at your desk every afternoon?) However she did it, it's pretty obvious this strange woman from the Canadian forests would make a powerful enemy if crossed. If she can predict pregnancy from tiredness, who knows what other gifts will be made manifest in the time you two are coworkers?

Also do not rule out the fact that she may have impregnated you herself after making her prediction, just so she wouldn't be wrong.

I have a friend who lives about 20 minutes from me, who does not have a car due to financial problems/wasteful spending on other things. Every time we all hang out as a group (about 6 total) one of us has to go pick her up. Lately it has become kind of a pain in the ass. We literally have to wait outside for 20 to 30 minutes while she gets ready, even though we ask her to get ready way the hell in advance. Though it would feel a little douchey, I honestly think we should cut all contact with said person. Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

Your friend is guilty of taking a while to put her face on, not murdering a child, so cutting off all contact with her would be a little extreme.

On the other hand, the way she's behaving toward people who are doing her the courtesy of chauffeuring her around town is also unacceptable.

Be straightforward with your friend. You say she regularly takes too long to get ready, even after you've told her to get ready "way the hell in advance." Have you ever told her outright "You promised us you would be ready by X o'clock and you're thirty minutes late. You can't do this again"? Or have the conversations been more "We're picking us up this afternoon-you haaaave to be ready when we get there."

If you've never had a serious discussion with your friend about why her behavior is problematic, it's possible she thinks that, in a twisted way, this lateness constitutes part of her charm. She takes forever to get ready, everyone teases her about it in the car, all the friends laugh, and there are no further repercussions. The ride still comes next week.

Some people might suggest telling your friend to be ready thirty minutes earlier than you actually need her to be ready. It's true that this tactic works on occasion, when used sparingly. However, the first time you tell your friend to be ready by 7:30 and then pull up at 8:00, she won't read the situation as "Wow, good thing the guys got stuck in traffic – I needed that extra time to finish getting ready." She'll see it as "They showed up half an hour late. Next time they tell me to be ready by 7:30, I'll know I actually have until 8." Before you know it, you're back to waiting for her until 8:30.

While it's always tempting to deceive our friends and loved ones, you must resist the temptation in this instance. Tell her that, if she's not ready to leave when you pull up, she'll have to call a cab or make other arrangements. Follow through with this threat. Two or three cab rides could go a long way toward curing her of her compulsive lateness. (If she's a hobo-type, introduce her to rail riding.)

If you'd feel cruel leaving her stranded when you're only "late" to hang out with people—I suspect you wouldn't, since you're already willing to cut-off all contact with her, but still—schedule something. You have to leave by 7:30 to arrive on time to a dinner reservation/motion picture/plane ride to sunny Aruba. If she takes too long, tell her you'll meet her there. (And don't let her trick you into the "10 more minutes" game. After two rounds of 10 more minutes, you've already waited 20 minutes, and if you've already waited 20 minutes, why not just hang around and let her finish because she'll "be down in 2 seconds" 10 minutes later. Leave when you say you're leaving. Buses do, and the service you're offering is better than a bus because it's free.)

I also find it a little odd that your friend insists you wait outside when you arrive to pick her up, particularly if she's going to putter around her house for a further twenty minutes. Broke, inconsiderate, and doesn't let outsiders into her domain—have you considered the possibility your friend is a bear? Being a bear would not excuse her behavior, but it would help explain it.

And, if she's not a bear, what is she hiding?

(Is it the child she killed? Cut off all contact.)

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