A coworker invited herself along on my vacation

This is a repost blog.

Original posts by Letter Writer #842 at Captain Awkward. Only the original questions/updates are reproduced here - to read Captain Awkward’s advice, click through to the original links.

16 Feb 2017: #942: “A coworker invited herself along on my vacation.”

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a situation that is getting very awkward indeed. In a few months, I will be going on vacation to Tokyo with my best friend. This has been a dream of ours for a long time, so we have a lot of plans. A coworker — with whom I’m friendly, but not very close — heard through the grapevine about my trip and started a conversation about when I was going and what I planned to do.

The week after that, she told me that she was planning a trip on the same dates, and she was so glad to know someone who could show her all the sights’. I was a bit taken aback, but I told her my plans had just included myself and my best friend, and we already have reservations booked for just the two of us for most of the attractions we want to see. She seemed to understand and didn’t mention it again for a while.

However, I later overheard her talking to another coworker about our trip’, and how I had planned everything out for us’ to do. I waited until the other coworker was gone so as not to embarrass her, but this time I told her in no uncertain terms that my plans had not and would not include her. She got upset and said I’d been so enthusiastic about my trip that she’d gotten excited as well, and why was it so difficult for one more person to join us?

Since then, she’s kept talking about our’ trip and what we’ll’ do and all objections I make are completely ignored, even though I’ve stopped being polite and I have told her in front of others that she is in no way involved in my trip. I want to have a great experience with my friend and I absolutely do not want to be stuck playing tour guide to an acquaintance.

Since this is not work-related, I don’t feel like I can bring it up to our managers. I know I can’t stop her from making her vacation plans, even if they coincide with my own, but she already knows the name of my hotel and my rough itinerary from that first conversation, so how can I get it across that my friend and I do not want her with us? I’m concerned that she might have booked at the same hotel or that she’ll show up there, and I don’t want to cause a scene or have to try and avoid her. To my knowledge she’s never done anything like this before, so I’m completely baffled by her behavior. Obviously this problem is a bit different from many of the other letters you get, but I have no idea how to address this situation. Help?

Thank you,
Tokyo Traveller

preferred pronouns she/her

17 Feb 2017: UPDATE

LW here! Thank you so much for responding to this so quickly, and thank you for the advice and great scripts. I have begun implementing these suggestions today. I’ve explained to all my (reasonable) friends at work that the vacation is now a no-go subject, and I’ll be documenting any further conversations with Coworker. I will be talking to my manager on Monday as well.

I think I’ll keep changing hotel arrangements as a last-ditch plan for now, though. The one we’ve booked is great for our needs and J’s advice is reassuring.

Once again, this is just mind-boggling. Friend and I have been on vacation together before and absolutely nothing like this has ever happened.

Thank you all!


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September 27, 2023