For.all her efforts to be an authentic person, Ingrid O'Donnell of Nashville, Tennessee, found it necessary to pull out every ounce of fakeness and duplicity she had in order to navigate a relationship with an overly-chummy coworker, Sergio Greene - and succeeded in spades.
"He refers to me as his dear friend, and sometimes brings me special treats," said O'Donnell. "And yet I've never once spent any time with him outside of work, and only have to deal with the occasional stupid text. I've managed to keep it all at a level I can handle, which I feel really good about."
According to O'Donnell, Greene first adopted her as his new BFF - without her consent - when he learned that she was a vegan. "He told me he's a vegetarian, and that he could tell we had a special bond," said O'Donnell. "I didn't have the heart to tell him I think vegetarians are the lamest! If you're going to do something, do it all the way. Don't half-ass it."
Greene began greeting her in the office every day with a hug and barraging her with instant messages regarding everything from his spirituality to how he had slept the night before. But when he tried to set her up with his cousin so that they could be "family," O'Donnell knew she had to set some limits.
Some of the tactics O'Donnell has used to fend off Greene's overtures include "not noticing" his IMs when they pop up on her computer screen, being "vulnerable" with Greene about her seasonal defective disorder which makes her not really want to talk that much, and telling him how great it is to have friends like him who understand and don't pressure her to open up when she's in a dark space. She also "confided" to him that she thought their female boss might have a crush on Greene, and that maybe they should back off on being so overly chummy, so as not to stir up petty jealousy.
And O'Donnell says that she genuinely appreciates Greene for all he's taught her in the course of their relationship. "I've learned so much from him - like how annoying people can be. I thought I knew that already, but he took my awareness to a whole new level."
She added, "I've also learned that I'm actually not a very nice person. But what can you do?"
The most important lesson O'Donnell has taken from her dealings with Greene, however, is that forthrightness is best reserved for non-annoying people. "Sometimes dishonesty is actually a better policy."