Every office has one. The one person on your team who everyone despises. You roll your eyes every time they ask an unnecessary question in an already too-long meeting. They walk by your desk and the conversation about lunch plans immediately ceases for fear that they will invite themselves along. And when you have a complaint and need to bitch at the water cooler, the odds are very high that it’s about something they have said or done. Luckily for me, this person in my office also happens to think that we are best friends.
This delightful person is someone we’ll call “Jessica.” A temp who has been around since December, she started with two other temps and we immediately knew there would be issues. During training, the ongoing saga of her relocation and moving in with her boyfriend was never ending, along with the daily log of how little sleep she received the night before do to all the moving hassles. On top of the chatter that the five of us in the training rotation had to endure was the fact that she’s definitely not the brightest bulb in the box. One day she put a file number accidentally into Google, and a porn site popped up and she was confused and didn’t understand why I was laughing so hard. (I know, I know I’m a mature adult.) I can handle dumb, and I can handle talkative, but put them together and I lose my patience very quickly.
I am by no means overtly nice or friendly to her. Almost every other day through our interoffice messenger, she asks me an awful question that she should know the answer to, and I have to clarify that my response isn’t too blunt or mean with the girl at the next desk before I send it. Just read, Jessica, it’s the same process as the last twelve times you did it. I actively avoid sitting by her in meetings, and everyone else knows of my feelings yet somehow Jessica herself remains oblivious.
Surely, I can’t be the only person this has happened to. Where do you draw the line on being cordial in an even stronger attempt to shut them down? Am I too late in the game to fix this one-sided “friendship”? If I’m already questioning my tone, the next step could be dangerously close to inappropriate work behavior. Clearly, my efforts to deny her invites to out of office activities aren’t working either. No, Jessica, I don’t want to go to hookah with you, and please stop trying to tell me about your low alcohol tolerance at team happy hour. Sooner or later, she’s probably also going to realize that I make fun of her outfits on a daily basis. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hoodie does not have a place in the office even on casual Friday. Then again, maybe if she knew she would back off and harass someone else.
Look, I get it. We all need someone close enough that we feel comfortable bitching to who can distract us from the daily grind. But if you’re actively being shut down and I never initiate the conversation, it’s time to give up and move on. Picking up on social clues should have been a skill that you’ve mastered by now.
Next month, we move floors and her desk will be one away from mine. I am dreading it since she has already mentioned that she “can’t wait to be so close.” I’d like to say that our break up will come swiftly, but how do you end something with someone who doesn’t even realize you aren’t together in the first place? Is there an amount of eye-rolls that if seen enough will finally convey my feelings effectively? Unfortunately, only time will tell. .
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