Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Interrupting Non-stop Talkers Communication Assertiveness

When I arrive at work, I start working immediately and get a lot done. How can I politely deal with a co-worker who comes into my workstation every morning, plops in a chair across from me, and starts talking and talking about herself and her family? I have given her some clear hints, but she does not leave.

When you have a co-worker who enjoys dropping-in and plopping-in, you need to do more than drop hints. You do not need to be impolite or aggressive, but it is time to be more direct and assertive.

The next time she makes her morning call on your office, one easy and direct strategy is to tell her that you do want to talk to her, but this is not a good time because you are too busy. Suggest a specific time for the two of you to meet for a few minutes later in the day.

There are also some less direct forms of communication that you might want to consider. For example, stand up when she walks into your cubicle. When you use this form of body language, she will be less likely to sit down, and that can help abbreviate the session. Another approach is to walk into her workstation when she arrives, have a brief discussion with her, and then head back to your workstation. The advantage is that you can end the discussion when you want.

It sounds like your co-worker is more inclined to send messages rather than receive them, and that is a hint for you to send her more than hints.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!