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Bizarre Behaviors

Whenever I meet with my manager, he takes out his nail clippers and cuts his fingernails throughout our discussion. I think this is rude, inconsiderate, and sort of gross, but I don't want to say anything because he could get real upset. What can I do?

If anyone has a right to be upset in this cutting episode, it's you. If you want your manager to clip his nails on his own time and not on yours, you are going to have to say something.

The next time you are meeting with him and the clippers come out, don't even let the cutting begin. Tell him that you would greatly appreciate it if he would not cut his nails while the two of you are talking. After you say this, be quiet. There is no need to discuss why you feel this way, how much it disgusts you, or anything else.

The next move is his. He may surprise you and put the clippers away. In fact, this outcome is not as unlikely as you might expect. With your message delivered in a calm, direct, and businesslike style, he might actually get it.

On a worst-case basis, he will look at you and then proceed to clip away. This means that he is sending you a message well beyond the clipping. That message is that he is not interested in your thoughts, feelings, or needs. He is only interested in himself and his nails.

A word or two with his boss is in order here. However, if your manager continues his clipping service, then you have some nail-biting decisions to make.

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