I've gotten unsolicited feedback in the past that I can come off as "stand off-ish." But really I just value my privacy and keeping my work life separate from my personal life. I don't have anything that I'm ashamed of, but my family is precious to me and I have big protective boundaries around discussing my personal life at work.
In the last couple years, I've had two coworkers (at different times) with really poor boundaries. They immediately share overly personal information or want to be instant BFFs. They've got a mean girl vibe about them that tells me I'm too old to deal with the high school drama that would come with engaging in any kind of "friendship" with them (one was 28 years old, the other was 62).
Each time, I told myself, "Everyone sees this person for who she is. I just have to do my job, be professional, and I don't have to worry." But they sense that I'm not willing to engage in the kind of friendship they seem to be pursuing, and they get offended. They both were office gossips and found ways of bullying me. The last one was so devious, it impacted my quality of work and nearly cost me my job.
How do other people find a way to distance themselves from these toxic coworkers and get their jobs done? I'm a pretty direct person, but other coworkers who have successfully dealt with these women seem to have some kind of finesse about it that I just don't have. Any advice? Why do I feel like I'm somehow especially appealing to female coworkers with poor boundaries?