Dear Kally,

I know you gave out good advices and recently you wrote a post of negativity. I saw many of your readers wrote back with great advices and I wonder if you and them can help with my problem. It is very similar to the negativity post however of a different nature.

I have a colleague sitting next to me, let’s named her Mary who loves to gossip about everyone in the company. No one and I do mean NO ONE is spared from her gossips. From the CEO to our receptionist, she always have something to say about them. However, her gossips are rarely malicious and she loves to exaggerate her words.

The thing is while I do enjoy her company, my productivity went down a lot since the day she moved in next to my desk and in our office, our desks are open concepts, meaning I don’t even have a partition to ward her off. I don’t have the heart to let her know I’m suffering because of her gossips and I’m sure if she do know, I’ll become one of her gossip victims.

What can I do in order to pull my productivity up and yet not offend her?

Please help.

Thank you,
Veronica A.

Hi Veronica,

Thank you for reading my articles!

Now for some real advice for you, I’m sure that in some way or another you must have encourage her in endless chatting because as you’ve said, you enjoy her company. Since now you have realized the danger of her filling up most of your time, you will need to stand firm.

Your company certainly did not pay her or you to fill your working hours with gossips and your bosses will bound to take you or her or both to task. So it’s great that now you recognize the danger and move on to increase your productivity. What you can do is to talk to her and lay her down gently that while you enjoy the talks with her, could she keep it during lunch and break time? You can subtlety let her know that your work load recently increased and you don’t want the bosses to move you away to another seat because you enjoyed sitting next to her.

If that doesn’t work, I’m afraid you might need to invest in a pair of good earphones and let her know that you are listening in to some work related audio files. Hopefully, she’ll decrease her need to talk to you during working hours. But do increase the volume of your friendliness during lunchtime so she doesn’t feel that you have left her out.

You can opt in to tell her directly how she is affecting your work however, I can sense that you don’t really want to do that. At the worst case scenario, you might need to move your seat away from her. You may need to ask your management to move you with some other excuses like the lighting is poor at your area. Finger crossed that she doesn’t follow you along.

I wish you best of luck!!!

Thank you for writing to me.


32 replies on “A Word of Advice: Chatty Catty

  1. Very sensitive, well-balanced, reasonable advice! I would venture to say that, for this situation, you have offered the perfect advice, though it will take courage and determination to carry through! But article packed with timely wisdom! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Why not just say to her you really don’t want to listen to the talk if it concerns colleagues? You can do this without being rude and the more you listen to her the more she will think you are a like minded person and actually enjoy the gossip.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree. It’s a fine balancing act between being nice (or maybe too nice) and just bring by honest. I believe being nice would be to be honest and say the gossip isn’t welcome. A difficult judgement to make though without knowing the individuals involved

        Liked by 1 person

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