How you can han­dle a spite­ful work­place col­league

The Hamilton Spectator - - CAREERS - MARIE G. MCIN­TYRE Tri­bune News Service

Q: A co-worker re­cently sent me a text that was clearly in­tended for some­one else. In the text, “Brian” stated that deal­ing with me was “awk­ward” and he’d had enough of me to last the rest of his life.

This was quickly fol­lowed by a sec­ond text say­ing the pre­vi­ous one was mis­di­rected, but it did not con- tain an apol­ogy.

Al­though he has a long his­tory of throw­ing peo­ple un­der the bus, he has never done that with me. Brian has been friendly since then, but I’m still up­set about his hate­ful com­ments. What should I do about this? A: Given Brian’s back­stab­bing rep­u­ta­tion, this stealth at­tack shouldn’t come as a com­plete sur- prise. Trash­ing peo­ple is an at­ten­tion-get­ting strat­egy, and you are just his lat­est victim.

Brian might be ma­li­cious, nar­cis­sis­tic or sim­ply im­ma­ture, but re­gard­less of his mo­tives, this is more about him than about you.

As for your next move, you ba­si­cally have two choices. If you can sim­ply at­tribute this in­ci­dent to Brian’s dys­func­tional per­son­al­ity, per­haps you can let it go. But if his nasty com­ments con­tinue to re­ver­ber­ate in your brain, then you need to do some­thing about it.

“Do­ing some­thing” does not mean send­ing texts or emails, how­ever. Dif­fi­cult dis­cus­sions should still take place in per­son. Calmly re­quest that he be more spe­cific. For ex­am­ple: “Brian, in the text which I mis­tak­enly re­ceived, you in­di­cated that work­ing with me was awk­ward. Since you’ve been say­ing that to my co-work­ers, I would like to know what I can do to re­duce the awk­ward­ness in our re­la­tion­ship.”

Should Brian of­fer sug­ges­tions, do with those what you will. If he apolo­get­i­cally replies that he was in a bad mood that day, take him at his word and drop the sub­ject. But for your own pro­tec­tion, re­mem­ber that Brian is not to be trusted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.