A co-worker in my office is extremely opinionated and feels it necessary to comment on every little thing. This can run the gamut of what someone is wearing, what I’m wearing, the proper way to fill out a form, why we shouldn’t have our annual holiday party, and the best way to arrange the coffee cabinet. I do my best to tolerate these comments, but some days I just want to scream. She has no authority over me and is basically a know-it-all. How do I continue to work with this woman and not go insane?
Nutty in Nebraska
Dear Nutty in Nebraska,
Years ago I had a colleague who also felt that everyone in the office should adopt her style, ideas and opinions. It can get old. What helped me find the daily patience to deal with this individual was to realize that on some level she wanted validation. People who accept themselves unconditionally also accept others, so know this person is probably extremely hard on herself. Her internal dialog is most likely just as critical towards her own efforts. By seeing it this way, you can find more compassion in your heart during these moments.
In addition, the following two phrases are gold in these types of situations. After she makes a comment, you can simply say, “Thank you for sharing” and walk away. If you don’t agree with what she is saying and feel compelled to state that, simply say, “I see it differently.” Then get back to focusing on your own work.