My co-worker always talks about her personal problems. I like her but I’m starting to dread going to work just to hear more of her saga. Can I tell her what I’m thinking and give some advice or do my best to avoid her?
Dear Annoyed Co-worker,
My advice lessons for the annoying co-worker
- Someone who shares their problems isn’t necessarily looking for a solution.
- My solution fits my life, which is why it’s a solution I created. It may not work for them.
- I am energized by helping others develop a plan or solution but I can quickly become burned out by carrying their burdens.
- Be careful of loose lips- If someone is careless with the details of their life and especially someone else’s, chances are they’ll be careless with yours. Have you heard the term “loose lips sinks ships?”
- Stating the obvious here but quick morning chats and relationship building are key for a great work environment- gossip sessions and personal life saga’s are not.
What you can do when responding to the annoying co-worker-
- If someone hasn’t specifically asked for advice but you’re catching the vibe they want it, you could simply say, “that’s a tough situation, I’d love to give you my perspective if you’d like it”.
- Once you have the green light, make sure to change the way you give advice with one simple word. You could rather than you should. This frees you from responsibility of their outcome and it’s polite and not bossy.
- They may tell you that they’re just venting. In that case, just listen with an open heart. BUT… If they always vent about the same issue, tell them you’re not a counselor and to hit the road. I’m kidding.
- You could stop listening and focus on your work (basically ignore them) or kindly begin the day with a big smile and as you walk past them say, “Good morning so&so, Today’s going to be busy so no chatting for me today!”
Passive aggressive? Maybe and if this doesn’t work then you’ll have to confront the issue in private, professionally and directly.