The Mooch Coworker: Why Am I Still Paying for Her Lunch Every Day?

mooch coworkerDear Broketh,

You’re acquainted with the good old mooch coworker. They borrow pens, mooch lighters & cigarettes, help themselves to your lunch and even treat your wallet as their own. I was flabbergasted when she expected you to pay for her sub when you didn’t even order anything for yourself. Rose feels entitled to your money! So, how do you handle the office mooch?

The best way to deal with a mooch is to be proactive. The next time you go out with Rose begin quizzing her before she has the chance to strong-arm you to pay for her coffee. E.g. “Hi Rose. Did you bring your wallet?”

If it’s an embarrassing situation because Rose pushed the bill to you after ordering all food for herself, so be it. You are going to have to just stand there and look at her like she’s got two heads, what was she thinking ordering all that stuff and not being prepared to pay for it? If she asks you why you are not paying for it, say “no, I don’t want to,” you don’t need to justify or explain why.

Tell no to anybody, for that matter, you want to, at any time when you know you need to. Your relationship with the mooch coworker will probably not survive because she will not get that power thrill from making you pay for her anymore.

Better yet. Start with a direct approach: “Hey, Rose, I've paid for all these meals for you, it's time for you to step up and treat me a bunch of times.” Do this a few times, and she might start thinking that you’re not a pushover she thought you were. You should also ask her to download an app to split bills. This should send the message.

Put your foot down girl, you got this!

I would suggest a few more lies to avoid going out with a mooch coworkers like Rose for anyone who is in a similar situation:

“Oh, I brought my own coffee. Thank you for asking though!”

“I’m sorry I’m on a specific diet. I’ll definitely accompany you on a cheat day.”

“I have too much work to do, I don’t think I can go out today.”

“I am not feeling well today. Maybe later this week.”

Do you have any experiences with the mooch coworker? How have you handled it? Share your tips on how to deal with a mooch coworker in a comment below.

Q&A with Jane: The brutal and straightforward answers to HR-related queries and concerns. Send in your queries with the subject line ‘Ask JANE HARPER’ at [email protected]

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