My workmate is so irritating

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

On one particular day out with my colleague, my wife came along, and to my shock, my colleague started sharing stories of the girls that I flirt with at work and office gossip about me

Dear Caroline,

I have a problem with one of my colleagues at work who seems not to have boundaries. He is quite the rumour monger, and it has caused a bit of a rift between my wife and I. On one particular day out with my colleague, my wife came along, and to my shock, my colleague started sharing stories of the girls that I flirt with at work and office gossip about me. My wife was visibly disturbed as much as I was, and she kept confronting me. How do I get my workmate to clear this up?

JB

Hello JB,

Sorry to hear that your co-worker has crossed the boundaries and is now in your personal space. Given the sensitivity of the matter and the impact that it has had on your wife, you want to address this matter as quickly as possible.

 Indeed, the way forward is to speak with your co-worker and set the record straight. I am not sure of the nature of your relationship and how friendly you are. I shall assume that since you go out together, you are close. You must speak with him to help him appreciate the boundaries of your relationship.  Equally important is to re-visit some of your co-worker’s comments to your wife. Is it true that you flirt with the girls at work?  There may be something there that requires you to revisit how you manage your relationships in the workplace.  The assumption is that your co-worker has seen how you engage with your colleagues and has interpreted that engagement level as flirtatious. If, on the other hand, you perceive your relationship with your colleagues as being friendly, then set that record straight as well.

As you reflect on the above, you may also want to rethink how you manage your relationships with co-workers. While many of us spend and develop friendships with co-workers, we need to be mindful of how we define the relationship and decide when they move from being co-workers and being friends who then become a part of our network outside the workplace. It is always a balancing act, and sometimes it takes a long time to bring a co-worker into the fold of your other life.  Given the description above, you may have opened up your different life too early before he and even you were ready.  Talk with him, let him know, and then manage your relationship carefully.  Goodluck.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]

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