Tag Archives: office gossip

Dealing With Office Drama: The Office Friend Conundrum

9 Oct

If you work in an office with anyone other than yourself you are likely to experience some sort of office drama at one point or another. Maybe you told a co-worker that you trusted that you went on a date only to find out that she went and blabbed your news to everyone else or maybe you say something about one co-worker that somehow gets back to that co-worker and discover that they are upset with you. Whatever it is, we all know that drama isn’t fun, especially when it’s at the office – the very place that you spend more time than you do in your own house.

In my office I have two young women that I consider to be pretty good friends. We enjoy Friday lunches together, keep each other updated on one another’s lives, and sometimes plan out-of-office get-togethers where we sip on drinks and discuss things other than work. I would say that I feel pretty comfortable telling these women a lot of things, and sometimes I find that it is hard to determine where a line exists and if there even is one.

So I will give you an example of some recent drama that I dealt with at the office. One of my office friends (Office Friend A) had an upcoming wedding and me and the other office friend (Office Friend B) were planning on attending. About a week before the wedding, Office Friend B came up and told me that she was not able to attend the reception. A few days later I was talking to Office Friend A and simply asked if she was upset or disappointed that Office Friend B gave last-minute notice that she was not attending the reception (likely after the bill for her plate had already been paid). Office Friend A brushed it off and said no, she didn’t care. I told her I was glad she wasn’t bothered and relayed a story of when my husband and I got married and how disappointed I was when people cancelled at the last-minute. Fast forward an hour when Office Friend B comes into the office and breezes past my door at lightening speed (when she usually spends the time to come in and say hello). When I tried to say hi to Office Friend B later that day I could tell she was upset with me. She is one of those people who is always happy and chipper, so when she gave me a snarly look I knew she was upset.

It was instantaneously obvious to me that Office Friend A had said something to Office Friend B about my question. I became immediate anxious and uncomfortable, so I spoke to Office Friend A to ask if she was upset with me. Come to find out she was, and yes she had said something to Office Friend B. While I feel that I did nothing wrong (yes I offended them, but it wasn’t an intention offense), I hated being in the midst of office drama and having to be around these two women who were upset with me. While I could have held my head up high sure that I did nothing wrong, I decided to suck up my pride and send both of them apology emails. In the end the drama was resolved and everything was ok.

So, what did that little fiasco teach me? First it taught me that while these girls are my friends and while I confide in them with regard to personal matters, I can’t get too personal at work. It also taught me that no matter how close you think you are to someone, drama is always possible, especially at work.

If you find yourself in a similar situation or in a completely different situation involving drama and work, here are some tips:

  • If you think that you did something to offend someone, think about apologizing and taking the blame even if you feel that you did nothing wrong. Apologies go a long way and dealing with upset co-workers isn’t worth your pride.
  • If you feel that someone at your work is gossiping about you and saying bad things that could hurt your career or reputation with higher-ups, then say something to your boss. This may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it is important that your boss know what is going on so they are prepared when someone says something negative about you.
  • If you and another co-worker just can’t seem to get alone, avoid that co-worker, and when you can’t avoid them just simply ignore them. I know plenty of people who have co-workers they despise and they simply get through the day by being as professional as possible while ignoring them and removing themselves from situations involving that person.
  • If you have to work closely with someone who has caused drama in your office, tread lightly. Don’t engage in office gossip and NEVER say anything about anyone that you don’t want to get back to them. These people always seem so sincere and interested in your opinion, but they won’t think twice about throwing you under the bus to spread a little office gossip.

All in all I have come to learn that while you can have good work friends, you can’t be as candid and open with them as you can your real friends.

Have you guys dealt with office drama? What did you do to make the situation better?

Dealing With Difficult Co-Workers

3 Apr

We have all dealt with them – the chatterbox, the gossiper, the complainer, and the take-credit-for-things-I-didn’t-do person. Of course when you work in a small environment with a bunch of different people there will be a mixture of personalities. Some personalities you will be able to tolerate or even enjoy, but others will drive you absolutely crazy. Unlike other aspects of life where you can just ignore those people you don’t get along with, the workplace is completely different. Not only will you be called upon to possibly work with people you don’t particularly like, but you may rely upon them to help you or make your work life easier. Here are the four types of personalities I have seen at work, and advice on how to deal with them.

The Chatterbox

There is no way around it, this person loves to talk. It could be about the weather, their weekend, or their personal love problems. No matter the topic of conversation they always seem to be there, ready and willing to add to the it. At one of my previous jobs there was this young lady who I always seemed to get stuck in the break room with. She just loved to talk. Oftentimes I would find myself stuck in a fifteen minute conversation with her, all the while thinking, when can I leave? It wasn’t that I didn’t like the girl, it’s just that at work sometimes I get in a mood where all I want to do is focus and not chat. This woman became especially annoying when she began discussing her inability to conceive, when she was having her period, and how her and her husband had fought the night before. Trust me when I say that your co-workers really could care less about your personal problems.

So, what can you do to get out of these long and uncomfortable conversations? Rather than insulting your co-worker and telling her that you want nothing to do with her, tell her that you are swamped and don’t have time to chat, tell her that you have a hard time concentrating at work when you have lengthy conversations, and if you really do enjoy her company, suggest that the two of you grab lunch once a week. These things may send the chatterbox the hint that you don’t enjoy the long chats at work.

The Gossiper

This person, like the chatterbox, enjoys to talk, but this person usually loves to talk about other people. No matter the time of day, this person always seems to have the latest scoop on everyone and the latest dirt. While it may be interesting to get in on the workplace gossip, you do have to assume that sometimes you may be the person the gossiper is talking about to others. Also, you have to remember that the gossip can be both true and untrue. A lot of times the people who enjoy to gossip about others do so to make themselves feel better. As a result, a lot of what these people say is made up and exaggerated. So, if you enjoy listening to the gossiper, make sure you are cynical about what she is saying. While listening is ok, taking part in the gossip is never ok, especially with this person. Remember, this person loves to talk and stretch the truth. The last thing you need is for her to tell others something you told her in confidence and fabricate the story. If this person comes to you with “gossip” and expects something in return, just try to change the subject. If that doesn’t work simply tell that person that you don’t have any news and don’t like to talk about people behind their backs. That should annoy the gossiper enough to leave you alone.

The Complainer

Do you have that one person at work that always seems down in the dumps or is complaining about her boss, work assignment, or just life in general? There always seems to be at least one of these in every work environment. These people do nothing beneficial for the workplace and actually encourage negative thoughts and energy. While some people may complain and ask for your advice, the Complainer is not looking for your advice. They just want to vent and want to make others feel negative like they do. If you find that this person comes to you quite often to vent or complain, try not to encourage the behavior by changing the subject or by not responding to what they are saying. Eventually they will get the hint that you want nothing to do with their negativity.

The Take-Credit-For-Things-I-Don’t-Do Person

Just like the complainer, almost every workplace has a person who takes credit for projects or work they have not completed on their own. A lot of times this may be a more senior employee taking credit for the work of a junior employee, which makes the issue a lot more complicated. When this person works with other people on a project they usually accept all of the praise and don’t admit that they received help from other people. In a competitive work environment where you are competing for a position, this can be extremely detrimental. This person is the very reason most people don’t enjoy doing “team” type activities or having to rely upon other people to perform their job.

The other day I went to a hearing with my boss on a case I wrote the brief for. I heard counsel for one of the other defendants tell my boss that the brief was great. Now, he could have stood there and took credit without mentioning my name because he is the senior partner and I am a low-level associate. But, being the good person that he is, he told counsel that I wrote the brief. I was surprised that he did that, but then thankful all at the same time.

If you find yourself working hard with an individual who never lets others know that you helped, make sure you let people know. This will not make you look bad, it will make the credit grabber look bad. Also, refuse to help this person the next time they need something. Maybe this will send them a message that they need to be thankful for the help they receive.

Remember that working with different personalities is hard, but it is possible if you learn how to deal with them. If you find that one of these types of people really irritates you or takes your mind off of work, say something in the nicest way that you can. Remember, at the end of the day your professional growth and work performance are the most important thing. Obviously refrain from yelling at the annoying co-worker, but do what you need to do to make sure that you can work productively and efficiently.

Have you ever dealt with an annoying co-worker?