16 September 2008

Dealing With Social Klutzes

You know the ones - the people who have no social graces and no clue on how to get some. The people who talk on and on and on about themselves and their their pets and their children and their families and their ailments and their family members' get the picture. The ones who openly eavesdrop on your conversations, butt in on said conversations and never let you get a word in edgewise, or try to read e-mails over your shoulder, or who never seem to get the hint that you're busy and don't have time to listen to their verbal diarrhea.

I work with a couple such klutzes. And in the past, I've simply bitten my tongue and not said a word in order to be nice and keep the peace. Well, for many of these people, nice=doormat. They'll take every inch you give them and steamroll over you without a second thought.

Yes, I would prefer to be pleasant, but I've learned when not to be. Mondays are the busiest days of the week where I work. A certain male klutz has made a habit of stopping by my desk when he finishes his tasks in my department, 'cause he wants to tell me all about his freelance jobs and his "love" life. (Ewww!) Yes, you guessed it, he had a crush on me at one point until he found out I was married. Gee, buddy, you'd think my wedding/engagement rings and the photo of me and my man on my desk would've given you a clue. But like I said, these klutzes are clueless.

So after weeks of putting up with this guy's hovering and inane chatter, and my complaining about it afterward, yesterday I took a stand. When he loomed over me (did I mention he has no sense of personal space?), I smiled, said hello, and told him I was just swamped and had no time to chat. Then I went back to my work. I wasn't rude, but I was firm. First he looked startled, then his face fell. He mumbled something about "have a nice day" and schlumped out liked I'd kicked his puppy. But I'm no longer falling for the "kicked puppy" manipulation. I'm tired of being steamrolled by someone who wastes my time so he can feel better about himself. Frankly, it pisses me off.

That's one good thing that came out of my divorce. I'm no longer a people-pleaser with the word WELCOME stamped on my forehead. I'll give people chances to see the error of their ways and get a clue, but failing that, I'm perfectly willing to set boundaries; I've learned I am responsible for my own happiness, and no one else's. A very hard lesson learned, and I'm not going back.


Nan said...

Send some of whatever you're drinking my way, will you? I spent four hours this morning in Panera Bread with a guy who owns his own agency- the premise was that I was applying for a copy writer freelance he expects me to show up at a small business meeting in the morning to "watch" how he promotes the biz-so, I can sell, sell, sell...

I just keep smiling and nodding...

Too bad I don't have another job offer in sight...

Cheers for you! Nan