Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Co-Worker Oversharing Driving You Nuts?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Co-Worker Oversharing Driving You Nuts?

Article excerpt

DEAR NATALIE: I work in a government office, and I have one co-worker who constantly is talking about her personal life. For example, a few weeks ago she was speaking with her divorce attorney and discussing really personal things in the work area. If it is not about that, then it's about her oldest child whom she had to kick out of her house, or her sex life and what method of birth control she is using. I have tried keeping my headphones on, but you can only turn up the music so loud. Short of going to my boss and complaining, is there any other recourse I have? - FRUSTRATED CO-WORKER

DEAR FRUSTRATED CO-WORKER: If she is this annoying, just confront her. I don't mean in a "Real Housewives" kind of way, but in a, "Hey, I'm concerned for you as a colleague" way. Even if you really aren't that concerned about her, and it's more about getting her to stop airing her dirty laundry, the way you present it could make all the difference. For example, pull her aside and say something like, "Is everything OK at home? You seem to be talking a lot about some really personal things that I'm assuming you don't want everyone to know here at the office. I don't want people to start talking about you, so maybe it would be better if you told just your close friends about things outside of work."

If she doesn't seem to care and gives you an eye roll along with a "If they don't want to hear it, then they can tell me to their face!" response, your only other course of action may be to let your boss know that it is creating an uncomfortable workplace for everyone around her. If you cringe at the idea of bringing your boss into it, try one more time and be even more upfront about your feelings or buy bigger headphones.

DEAR NATALIE: My sister recently had a baby, and now everyone is bothering me about it. Don't get me wrong. I love my sister, and I'm totally in love with my new nephew, but I have no interest in starting a family. …

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