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Keeping a distance: co-workers....(3 posts)

Keeping a distance: co-workers....jrm
Jun 14, 2002 2:22 PM
What if i dont want to spend my free time with a co-worker nor do i want to offend them because i have to work with them 5 days a week. Most time i have plans so i state so. Otherwise i make excuse after excuse and it gets old.
the secrets of blowing somebody off...mr_spin
Jun 14, 2002 2:47 PM
Fall back on Miss Manners. Etiquette doesn't allow you to tell them to @#*! off, but it also doesn't require you to provide explanations for declining invitations. A simple "I'm sorry, I can't" should be good enough. The key is not to allow the conversation to continue. Change the subject immediately, walk away, shut the door, etc.

That is actually hard for a lot of people, including me. Instinct is to provide further explanation. "I can't. I have other plans" is common, but this often provokes an innocent query of "Oh really, what?" Now you are stuck and you have to make something up. Be careful. You might come up with something the person enjoys doing, which is almost an invitation!

If this happens a lot and you always come up with an excuse, just accept that they are clueless and will never take the hint. If you don't want to risk the work relationship, keep making excuses. Maybe it gets old, but apparently it works.

What you need is to simplify the process with a fake recurring event. Your kids play soccer every Saturday. You need to go cook dinner for mom. You're in the National Guard. You have to pick up trash on the side of the road. You're going to shooting competition. Whatever. Pick a good one that won't appeal to this person and use it next time. Provide details about how it will be happening every weekend for some indeterminate time. Then, all you have to do in the future is use shorthand: "I can't. Soccer game." Walk away. Change subject. Close door.
Let him/her knowmickey-mac
Jun 14, 2002 2:48 PM
Depending on how sensitive this person is, you should be able to be honest without offending. Many people I know like to keep their work lives and personal lives separate. As long as you haven't been hanging out with everyone else at work, your co-worker shouldn't be offended by this explanation.