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How do I handle an unpleasant and manipulative colleague?


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Old 1st June 2017, 12:27 AM   #1
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How do I handle an unpleasant and manipulative colleague?

Nick and I got hired at the same time to work at this office. I generally like the atmosphere and get along with everyone there, including Nick. In fact, at the beginning we were like super friendly to each other and I enjoyed hanging around him, we would talk, go for coffees. There was always something a bit off about him, he was very secretive about his life, he felt like a movie character when he would speak, he also said some inappropriate things about his own race, but overall I liked him and even asked him for advice after my break up. It's a small office, we spend a lot of time together and I didn't see anything wrong with this.

Then, another girl from the office, Sally, told me then when our boss was asking for two people to work on a project in French, Nick told him I couldn't speak French - which is not true. He said he had spoken to me in French and I was terrible - this never happened. He did at some point share some French slang words with me and I didn't know them, but that was all. I couldn't believe he would go behind my back. Of course I could prove my knowledge of French but I was so hurt. Sally and I are pretty okay and I don't think she's an evil mastermind who would try to plot against Nick.

Not wanting to get her into trouble, I didn't confront Nick, but I did distance myself from him and he could tell because I am super bad at hiding my feelings. I didn't say anything inappropriate to him, I just went from super friendly to cordial and he has on a few occasions tried to indirectly get closer to me again. When he failed, he went back to Sally to call me fake. Like a grown a** man gossiping about me in this way, it's so pathetic to me. I was super hurt and didn't want to be friendly with him anymore and now I am worried he will say or do other untrue things to me and I don't want to get Sally into trouble by confronting him. He's also really patronising to me, he acts like he's my boss when he himself messes up very often and we were hired at the same time. Please help. Thank you.
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Old 1st June 2017, 1:58 AM   #2
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Petty problems like this never get solved without honest communication. You got offended by something Nick said which he may not have meant maliciously, he may have truly thought you didn't speak French because you didn't know common slang. That was obviously an incorrect assumption but he may not have had any ill intent. Instead of talking to him about it you started being cool and distant so then he became offended and instead of talking to you about it he complained to Sally. Neither one of you are very adept at communication or conflict resolution.

Sally, whom you are so protective of, is the gossip and the trouble maker. She is the one running between the two of you and stoking the fires because she enjoys it. If she doesn't want to own up to something she said then she shouldn't have said it. She likely acts like she is on your side when she talks to you and then acts like she is on Nick's side when she talks to him. If your not willing to have an honest discussion about this with Nick and you just want to rely on the second hand gossip that Sally provides then you can expect this childish feud to continue and to grow bigger.
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Old 1st June 2017, 11:55 AM   #3
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Take a big step back from your friendship with this guy (as it sounds like you've done already) and concentrate on being cordial and getting the job done. Send an email to your boss saying 'I think there may have been some miscommunication somewhere as my French is to a standard where I'd have no problems taking on a project that requires it. Just wanted to clear that up, thanks!'

Who cares what gossiping Nick is or isn't doing? You're both there to work. Don't stoop to his level and take it as a learning curve to keep your distance emotionally from colleagues. Focus on maintaining your professional reputation. Nick's actions are out of your control and can only hurt you if you retaliate in an unprofessional manner.

If you have specific concrete examples come up where he tried to manage you, you can smile, act a little confused and say 'sorry nick, I think you've misunderstood something, you don't have any managerial response over me' stop it in its tracks.
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Old 1st June 2017, 12:08 PM   #4
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Hey :)

You go to work to fund your lifestyle and pay the bills, period.

Don't get sucked into office politics and nonsense.

Go by the book, do your job to the letter, be polite.

Ignore all this shenanigans, rise above it, focus on your allotted tasks.

Others will expose their characters by their actions, more than likely they will get caught in their own trap.

Don't take part in it, don't discuss it.
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