You know I don't want to talk to you!
November 27, 2012 10:33 AM Subscribe
How to deal with a junior coworker who's overbearing?
posted by ergo to Human Relations (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This colleague is a woman a few years my junior (both age and experience, I'm 29). We'll call her Sri for short.
We don't even do project work together, our interaction is mostly for social events within the department - we're two of several people who are active in the social/fundraising/youth programs, and plan things for our department - voluntary, fun things, non-critical things.
She has an overbearing demeanor I often find inappropriate and grating. Some of her other less-than-desirable qualities include: social obliviousness and self-absorption, lack of tact, nasal whiny voice, her wanting to be the center of attention, and her being very defensive and quick to take offense. If it matters, she still lives with her parents. They came here from India less than a decade ago I think.
Most of those traits I can forgive, but I hate it when she forces herself upon me. I think she does recognize when I'm not open to talking with her, but she'll make me stop what I'm doing and give her my undivided attention anyway. She'll stand in my way, she'll get into my personal space, she'll demand I stop and answer her, she'll even shout after me. Half the time it's an attempt at being social and friendly. A few weeks ago she interrupted my conversation, elbowed her way in to our table, and forced me to look at her a pictures of her family on a recent trip. The other half the time it's regarding an event she's planning - last week she shouted at me to get me to answer whether I'm coming to her cocktail party after work, even though I've RSVPd (tentative), and I was busy walking and talking with a colleague. I'd tried saying "not now" and she refused to be brushed off. I then started to bark something rude back at her before my colleague pretty much cut me off and led me away, telling Sri we're busy talking about work.
Talking with people in the office, it's clear they all know what she's like, and that people have just done their best to appease her or ignore her. I think this is how she's adapted to people trying to ignore her and avoid her - she's gotten more aggressive and refuses to be ignored. Ugh.
At this point, I need to pick a strategy to handle her and proceed with that. But I'm getting different answers from different people. One suggested I proceed with accommodating her and even apologize for barking at her (because she probably took offense) and just don't let her bother me, just let it go - her career is going to suffer as a result, isn't that enough? Another colleague suggested talking to her about it and seeing about coming to an understanding, go see our supervisor maybe and see if he can talk to her. But my Bangladeshi friend who just left the office and knows her best says to ignore her - ignore, ignore, ignore. It's her punishment for being socially incompetent, and it's not our place to educate her at this point in her life. Don't bring it up with our boss, we don't want to be known for making waves.
Please, metafilter - how would you deal with this lady?