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Distraction at work


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Old 14th January 2010, 2:50 PM   #1
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Distraction at work

I have shared a very large office with another girl on our team for a year.

She is really shy and quiet but we got along well. Because we spend so much time together (40 hours a week at least), we started talking a lot. Nowdays I feel like literally hours of my work day have been taken up by talking to her.

At first this was my fault. I almost found her like a therapist, I hardly open up to anyone and the sheer amount the time we spend in close physical proximity made me more open. I told her everything there is to tell about my family, ex boyfriends etc. I probably did about 80% of the talking but she would listen intently.

Anyhow, I made a big mistake by telling her too much. I started complaining about my job, about the boss etc. I went through a really bad patch at work and I ended up giving her play by play details of every meeting with the bosses. I even started looking for another job
(and told her all about it), but since things have improved and I decided to stay. The problem is she is in direct comptetion with me for promotions. She shows clear signs of envy when I am sent on business trips and she is not etc. I guess I don't trust her not use the information she has against me somehow.

The more immediate problem is the loss of productivity just from talking to her that much. I tried to change this dynamic by not initiating conversations and cutting them short when she initiates but she has approached me and in tears asked me why I am avoiding her. I told her that I need to work for the time I am at work and she suggested hanging out after work so that we can talk more.

Now the problem is, she is really not someone that I would want to be friends with if it wasn't for close proximity at work. She is kind of dull and boring, methodical and over-organized. She also expects me to entartain her in terms of conversation and never has anything remotely interesting to say. She constantly keeps bringing up my bad patch at work and I am sick of talking about it anymore. I have moved on and it's only depressing me to talk about it.

She has been away on holidays for over a month now but is coming back soon. I am soooooooo happy when she is not there. My productivity went up hugely and even my boss commented on it. I just feel guilty (for ignoring her) and overall burdened by her presence. I am also fairly sure by something my boss said that she has repeated at least parts of our conversations to the boss.

My question is: how do I manage to talk to her less at work and not hang out with her after without offending her?
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Old 14th January 2010, 3:15 PM   #2
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is it possible

This is the perfect opportunity for you to "bond" with the boss by letting him help you in a very constructive manner.

So you go to him and ask him if you can speak in confidence. And then you simply explain that while you truly like your colleague, you feel that out of loyalty to him and the company you really need to keep your personal conversations to a minimum and your productivity as high as possible.

He will love this and will know that you are being honest here and telling the truth. Now to the punchline.

You tell him that she is clearly lonely and because of that she really does want to spend an inappropriate amount of time chatting. So you ask if he would have a meeting with the 2 of you and play "tough cop" and tell the two of you that he knows you are friends - but that you both really need to limit the amount of non-work conversation because it impacted productivity last year for a while and HIS boss asked him about it.

If he asks you to address it with her - I would tell him that you have found lonely people take personal rejection very badly.

This is simply asking him to do his job - which if he is even halfway competent he will happily do.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SadandConfusedWA View Post
I have shared a very large office with another girl on our team for a year.

She is really shy and quiet but we got along well. Because we spend so much time together (40 hours a week at least), we started talking a lot. Nowdays I feel like literally hours of my work day have been taken up by talking to her.

At first this was my fault. I almost found her like a therapist, I hardly open up to anyone and the sheer amount the time we spend in close physical proximity made me more open. I told her everything there is to tell about my family, ex boyfriends etc. I probably did about 80% of the talking but she would listen intently.

Anyhow, I made a big mistake by telling her too much. I started complaining about my job, about the boss etc. I went through a really bad patch at work and I ended up giving her play by play details of every meeting with the bosses. I even started looking for another job
(and told her all about it), but since things have improved and I decided to stay. The problem is she is in direct comptetion with me for promotions. She shows clear signs of envy when I am sent on business trips and she is not etc. I guess I don't trust her not use the information she has against me somehow.

The more immediate problem is the loss of productivity just from talking to her that much. I tried to change this dynamic by not initiating conversations and cutting them short when she initiates but she has approached me and in tears asked me why I am avoiding her. I told her that I need to work for the time I am at work and she suggested hanging out after work so that we can talk more.

Now the problem is, she is really not someone that I would want to be friends with if it wasn't for close proximity at work. She is kind of dull and boring, methodical and over-organized. She also expects me to entartain her in terms of conversation and never has anything remotely interesting to say. She constantly keeps bringing up my bad patch at work and I am sick of talking about it anymore. I have moved on and it's only depressing me to talk about it.

She has been away on holidays for over a month now but is coming back soon. I am soooooooo happy when she is not there. My productivity went up hugely and even my boss commented on it. I just feel guilty (for ignoring her) and overall burdened by her presence. I am also fairly sure by something my boss said that she has repeated at least parts of our conversations to the boss.

My question is: how do I manage to talk to her less at work and not hang out with her after without offending her?
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Old 14th January 2010, 8:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mem11363 View Post
This is the perfect opportunity for you to "bond" with the boss by letting him help you in a very constructive manner.

So you go to him and ask him if you can speak in confidence. And then you simply explain that while you truly like your colleague, you feel that out of loyalty to him and the company you really need to keep your personal conversations to a minimum and your productivity as high as possible.

He will love this and will know that you are being honest here and telling the truth. Now to the punchline.

You tell him that she is clearly lonely and because of that she really does want to spend an inappropriate amount of time chatting. So you ask if he would have a meeting with the 2 of you and play "tough cop" and tell the two of you that he knows you are friends - but that you both really need to limit the amount of non-work conversation because it impacted productivity last year for a while and HIS boss asked him about it.

If he asks you to address it with her - I would tell him that you have found lonely people take personal rejection very badly.

This is simply asking him to do his job - which if he is even halfway competent he will happily do.
This kind of scheming is why people hate their jobs. This is a tough position to be in and I don't have any suggestions right now, but I think the above suggestion is hostile and manipulative.
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Old 14th January 2010, 8:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SadandConfusedWA View Post
My question is: how do I manage to talk to her less at work and not hang out with her after without offending her?
ask your boss if you can work in a conference room part of the week
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Old 14th January 2010, 11:41 PM   #5
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This kind of scheming is why people hate their jobs. This is a tough position to be in and I don't have any suggestions right now, but I think the above suggestion is hostile and manipulative.
While I did think of mem's suggestion before, I do not think I have the aptitude for that amount of backstabbing.

I feel partly responsible for creating this sort of dynamic with her; I should have kept my distance from the start.

This girl is just very draining company with absolutely zaro sense of humor. She doesn't get my sarcastic jokes at all and gets offended if I look at her "the wrong way" and then wants to discuss it . So not only am I losing out on productivity, I get no fun out if it at all.
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Old 15th January 2010, 1:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SadandConfusedWA View Post
At first this was my fault. I almost found her like a therapist, I hardly open up to anyone and the sheer amount the time we spend in close physical proximity made me more open. I told her everything there is to tell about my family, ex boyfriends etc. I probably did about 80% of the talking but she would listen intently.
The more immediate problem is the loss of productivity just from talking to her that much. I tried to change this dynamic by not initiating conversations and cutting them short when she initiates but she has approached me and in tears asked me why I am avoiding her. I told her that I need to work for the time I am at work and she suggested hanging out after work so that we can talk more.


My question is: how do I manage to talk to her less at work and not hang out with her after without offending her?
so basically YOU took up HER time with chatter and now she is taking up YOUR time with the same?
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Old 15th January 2010, 1:28 PM   #7
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so basically YOU took up HER time with chatter and now she is taking up YOUR time with the same?
Yes but, she clearly enjoyed it then and would constantly ask me more questions....now I am clearly not enjoying it and giving her 1 word answers. I think she is just lonely and welcomed my chatter from before and now has trouble letting go.
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Old 15th January 2010, 1:39 PM   #8
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Yes but, she clearly enjoyed it then and would constantly ask me more questions....now I am clearly not enjoying it and giving her 1 word answers. I think she is just lonely and welcomed my chatter from before and now has trouble letting go.
yeah.....

well if she asks, just say something like -it was noted by yourself and even your boss how much work you had gotten done while she was away and you weren't able to talk with her. so you know realize how much time YOU must have been taking from her by talking early on. so you don't want your working friendship to negatively effect HER work either.....

something like that where you kinda take the blame.... i would think that would work and not be offensive.
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Old 15th January 2010, 1:45 PM   #9
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yeah.....

well if she asks, just say something like -it was noted by yourself and even your boss how much work you had gotten done while she was away and you weren't able to talk with her. so you know realize how much time YOU must have been taking from her by talking early on. so you don't want your working friendship to negatively effect HER work either.....

something like that where you kinda take the blame.... i would think that would work and not be offensive.
I like this idea to some point. You just want to make sure that you're putting the blame on the both of you. Use words like "we are accountable for..." and "We need to put a little more focus on...." Maybe this will ease some of the pressure of making her sound like it's her fault. And if that doesn't work, say something like "This is our jobs. We need to work more than we talk." Good luck.
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Old 15th January 2010, 2:01 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. I will make it seem like we are equally responsible, and will explain in a logical manner so that she sees that it's affecting her work too. If she presses for after work hang outs, I will offer going to lunch on some days. I guess it won't kill me...
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Old 15th January 2010, 2:14 PM   #11
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Thanks guys. I will make it seem like we are equally responsible, and will explain in a logical manner so that she sees that it's affecting her work too. If she presses for after work hang outs, I will offer going to lunch on some days. I guess it won't kill me...
i would go all that far... a work "friendship" is one thing... but you do not HAVE to hang out with her, although i am sure she would enjoy the comradery.
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Old 15th January 2010, 3:34 PM   #12
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i would go all that far... a work "friendship" is one thing... but you do not HAVE to hang out with her, although i am sure she would enjoy the comradery.
Yeah, I don't really want to hang out with her at all. I just thought that she would be less offended if I offer lunch...
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Old 15th January 2010, 3:41 PM   #13
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Yeah, I don't really want to hang out with her at all. I just thought that she would be less offended if I offer lunch...
... just give her a $1 in quarter and tell her she pick ANYTHING she wants from the snack machine!!! hahahahahahaha
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Old 15th January 2010, 4:04 PM   #14
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... just give her a $1 in quarter and tell her she pick ANYTHING she wants from the snack machine!!! hahahahahahaha
This might not be a bad idea, she loves the snack machine
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Old 15th January 2010, 4:14 PM   #15
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success

This is a fair and humane approach. Better then what I initially suggested. You have actually taken your fair share of responsibility for this situation which is more then most people do.

I always used to be amazed at work when people would ignore my ever increasing non-verbal signals that I was anxious to return to work. I simply learned to get up - say "walk with me" and walk to the coffee machine with them - quickly get a coffee - turn and say "thanks for stopping by to chat" and walk back to my office without another word. No one EVER followed me back to my office when I did that. And I learned to use that technique immediately with the many people who were clueless to body language.


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Yeah, I don't really want to hang out with her at all. I just thought that she would be less offended if I offer lunch...
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