Don't talk about me
April 3, 2010 6:42 PM Subscribe
Where I work, it seems that a certain amount of time is spent talking negatively about other people behind their backs (or even to their face, disguised as a "joke").
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have seen a coworker love all over another person, including paying that person compliments, joking with that person, even hugging that person. And then when that person walks away, coworker in question immediately disparages that person, saying how ugly they are, how they are always late to work, how they really don't do their job, how skanky they are... the list goes on.
I routinely hear coworkers lower their voice to talk about another person. There is no topic that is off limits, from where a person parks their car to what they are wearing or how they talk, from how a person does their job to what they weigh or even where they slept last night.
I regularly have Coworker A approach me to complain about the actions or words of Coworker B. The very next day Coworker B comes to me to make the exact same complaint about Coworker A. I would find it amusing if it weren't so pathetic.
I see this behavior equally in men and women, and equally in the young and older.
I know why people do it. It momentarily makes them feel good, and momentarily makes them feel accepted by their peers. I have heard it described as "venting."
I find myself talking about others, and it is usually when I am angry, jealous and feeling insecure about myself. It is usually more about how I am feeling than about what the other person has or has not done. But I have overheard people talking about me, and I know how much it can hurt. I want to not do this.
1. I have worked at the same place for over 10 years, so I am not familiar with how other places function. Is this normal? Is this the way the world really works? I am not naive, I guess I just want to know if the basic goodness of people is outweighed by their gossipy and mean behaviors?
2. How do I stop myself from engaging in this behavior? It is so easy to do, yet the consequences of it can be so hurtful. I love sarcasm, I love to joke, I love to push the envelope sometimes. But I don't want to be hurtful. How do I keep my spicy personality and still not make others feel bad?
3. Is there anything I can do to combat it in others? I don't want to come off as holier than thou, because god knows I'm not. But the negativity of it all is getting to me.