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Thursday, April 3, 2008

a-blee, a-blee, a-blee, a-that's annoying, folks!

It has occurred to me recently that I am annoyed by a certain socially aggressive trait exhibited by one of my coworkers. I'm not sure if aggressive is actually the right word, but assertive isn't it either, because being assertive means dealing with people in a moderate, reasonable, respectful way. Most people, sadly, don't seem to use this modus operandi, but instead exhibit too passive of a nature (like me), or too aggressive of a nature (like my coworker, BLC).

BLC is one of those people who don't quite understand that conversing is a two-way street which involves taking turns. Instead, whenever BLC has something to say, he begins talking and, like a broken record, repeating the first word of his sentence until you stop talking so he can finish his sentence, which is obviously more important than yours. So important that he feels it's socially acceptable to interrupt you and not listen to what you were trying to say. You know Porky Pig? That's what he sounds like half the time he opens his mouth. He stutters his way into controlling the conversation.

It's funny that this should annoy me because his conversational personality and my conversational personality are actually pretty complementary. I tend to let other people monopolize the conversation, and am not likely to volunteer much input unless I am asked. BLC, on the other hand, wants to put his two cents into everything. But it's the way that he does it that gets under my skin. Like what he has to say is gold to your silver-plated nickel.

But the truth is that a lot of what comes out of his mouth isn't actually useful. Frequently it's obvious. Like when he brings me back some of the draft letters I put on his desk and tells me which ones he's made changes to and why, as if I couldn't just look at the damn letters and see that the changes are there without him wasting my time and patience in explaining it to me. (Sometimes I suspect that people think I am slightly retarded just because I am reticent.) In reading this back, I see that this example doesn't seem like such a big deal, but I'm just not explaining very well why his over-explicative-ness is unusual, unnecessary, and annoying. You'll just have to trust me that it is.

But my interactions with BLC do not usually invite the type of annoying interruption that is characteristic of his speech. Instead, I usually overhear those conversations through the paper-thin faux wall dividing my office and GSD's office next door. Sometimes I just want to bang on the wall and say, "For god's sake, BLC, let GSD talk!" I wonder if GSD ever feels the same way.

What about you guys, are there any annoying habits of your coworkers that you stew about?



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13 comments:

Yo soy SOV said...

Well, I don't have any coworkers, but I myself have a bad habit of not letting people finish sentences before I interrupt them. I'm conscious of the fact that I do it, but it's not until after the conversation that I tend to realize it. I don't know why I do it either. It's some sort of quirk that I've picked up in the last 5-10 years or so. I think it may have something to do with my willful attempt to be more assertive socially, and perhaps that backfired slightly on a psychological scale, but I don't know. I do know that I need to stop it though, lest my friends stop talking to me.

Sra said...

That's funny, I've always considered you a rather respectful listener in conversation.

Also, I think a little bit of interruption is normal in conversation. The type of interruption BLC does is like him bulldozing his way into the conversation. He has a thought and needs to get it out NOW, even if you're in mid sentence. And he does it by starting and restarting his sentence until you notice that he wants to talk and acquiesce. Now THAT is disrespectful and not normal interruption.

Me? I don't interrupt enough.

As a side note, I remember somewhere in my linguistics studies learning that in general men interrupt more than women. Might have to do with men wanting to dominate and women wanting to share.

Adam said...

I owned my own construction business for almost 2 years (trust me, it's a long time for me to hold down one job), and I had a myriad of workers whose little foibles peeved me to no end.

I had one guy who, every time I looked for him, I would him on the other side of the house we were working on, on his damn cell phone talking to his girlfriend. I would spend twenty minutes cajoling him to get the f**k back to work. It got so bad, I actually grabbed his phone once and threw into this huge dumpster filled with old insulation and moldy plywood. (Which is odd, because I'm not usually aggressive or assertive. But I can get mighty pissy if I have to.)

In retrospect, I should have just fired him. But I enjoyed tormenting him too much.

heidikins said...

I have a coworker who whistles... all. the. time.

Yesterday the theme song from Jurassic Park was floating through the office and I finally had to make a choice:

a) strangle whistling coworker with his phone cord
b) leave the office immediately for an extra long lunch.

I don't think it's a secret which one I picked... and will have to pick again because I can distinctly hear the James Bond tune wafting over Cubiville.

Loralee Choate said...

I. Talk. Way. Too. Much.

The Over-Thinker said...

Hi! I found you through Loralee's blog and I had to check yours out, simply based on the title of this post. I'm pretty sure I'll have you to thank when I'm whistling the WB cartoon theme song for the duration of the weekend.

Hmm...annoying co-workers...well, there's this one gal who is bound and determined to wear hard contacts and cant get the hang of them. When she talks to you, her eyes (double) blink with each word. It's like they're double-jointed. I'll stick to my nerdy glasses, thank you.

I love your writing style--I know I'll be back.

Sra said...

Adam: Wow, I'd have fired that guy! Everyone wastes a little time on the job, but when people waste practically all their time, it drives me nuts.

heidi: Incessant whistlers, hummers, and singers are indeed annoying. However, I admit to being guilty of whistling whilst I work.

Loralee: Somebody's got to do it!

Over-thinker: Welcome! I thought my family were the only ones still holding on to hard contacts! I wear soft ones, and figuring out how to get those in my eyes the first time was hard enough! But they are at least comfortable. Even so, glasses are a nice relief, and I'm glad they are fashionable now. Thanks for visiting!

Sterkworks said...

I think your standard reply should be, "Wow, what an interesting perspective." Respond that way no matter what the coworker says. Too funny and coworker maybe one day will get it.

I have a coworker who always has to one up me. I tell her I passed out in the store and she tells me her sister has the "influenza" strain of the flu. WTF?

Sra said...

Oh man, I hate one-uppers. What's the matter with people like that? It's like they can't just listen, they always have to be the star of the show. I don't even care if they aren't exaggerating about their one-up, that type of behavior is rude.

Sra said...

Oh man, I hate one-uppers. What's the matter with people like that? It's like they can't just listen, they always have to be the star of the show. I don't even care if they aren't exaggerating about their one-up, that type of behavior is rude.

The Over-Thinker said...

Hi! I found you through Loralee's blog and I had to check yours out, simply based on the title of this post. I'm pretty sure I'll have you to thank when I'm whistling the WB cartoon theme song for the duration of the weekend.

Hmm...annoying co-workers...well, there's this one gal who is bound and determined to wear hard contacts and cant get the hang of them. When she talks to you, her eyes (double) blink with each word. It's like they're double-jointed. I'll stick to my nerdy glasses, thank you.

I love your writing style--I know I'll be back.

Loralee Choate said...

I. Talk. Way. Too. Much.

Sra said...

Adam: Wow, I'd have fired that guy! Everyone wastes a little time on the job, but when people waste practically all their time, it drives me nuts.

heidi: Incessant whistlers, hummers, and singers are indeed annoying. However, I admit to being guilty of whistling whilst I work.

Loralee: Somebody's got to do it!

Over-thinker: Welcome! I thought my family were the only ones still holding on to hard contacts! I wear soft ones, and figuring out how to get those in my eyes the first time was hard enough! But they are at least comfortable. Even so, glasses are a nice relief, and I'm glad they are fashionable now. Thanks for visiting!

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