General Question

imrainmaker's avatar

What is the best way to avoid someone without being rude?

Asked by imrainmaker (8049points) September 26th, 2017

How to avoid someone who’s working in your company but with different department?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

jca's avatar

If you see them face to face, you smile and say “hello” in a cheery manner and keep walking.

muppetish's avatar

Can you provide additional context? That might change the types of response you get. Is there a reason why you might need to interact with this person, for example? Do you bump into each other often? There are plenty of people in my department that I don’t get along with, but as we’re housed in different parts of the building we rarely cross paths except in departmental meetings. In those cases, I might follow @jca‘s advice, or focus my attention on someone I’m more amicable with for the duration of the time we’re within the same vicinity.

Jeruba's avatar

I managed it for years, even though we were in neighboring buildings and ate in the same cafeteria. I never wanted to see her or speak to her again, and so I was on alert the whole time we were at the same company. (And this was the second company where we both worked.)

1. I tuned my visual filters sharply to make sure I spotted her anywhere before she saw me.

2. I moved fast, trying always to stay calm and inconspicuous and not like a fleeing criminal, but still: I left the room, or moved behind pillars and potted palms, turned my back, became engrossed in conversation with someone else, bent down to study something intently. I don’t think anyone would have noticed my evasive actions. I kept them nonchalant even though I was very conscious and deliberate about them.

3. When, inevitably, the day came that I missed the signs and came suddenly face to face with her, both carrying cafeteria trays and moving in opposite directions, I did as @jca suggests: offered a brisk but civil “Hi!” and kept on going.

If I ran into her today outside that business context, and were trapped, I would keep it cool and aloof and quick, stopping just short of rudeness, even though I don’t feel any moral obligation to protect her feelings.

AGRSAV8R's avatar

I just don’t understand people today…or perhaps it’s because I grew up on a Texas ranch, where folks tend to be pretty matter-of-fact about things. This passive aggressive or avoidance behavior makes no sense! Be blunt and get it over with.
If this woman has done something to make you dislike her company, just tell her so! Be honest, get it out there, and it will be done. You don’t have to be rude, just be factual. Something like:

“Lisa, I am sorry, but after what you did (how you acted, whatever) I just do not care to spend time with you any longer. I’m not holding on to animosity or anger, I simply do not wish to socialize with you.”

Something like that, I’m no good writing from a woman’s point of view. As a guy, I would say “Bro, get away from me, you’re a jackass.”

It’s good to be a guy. :)

Jeruba's avatar

There’s always somebody who doesn’t want to answer the question but can’t leave it alone and instead has to tell the OP why his or her question is wrong.

Kardamom's avatar

@AGRSAV8R That approach, while tempting to some, is unimaginable to some people who are shy, or suffer from social anxiety, and is also likely to end up with one or both parties being hauled into the HR department and/or being fired.

AGRSAV8R's avatar

Telling the truth and speaking plainly will get you hauled into HR? Not in my world.,..people are too delicate and easily offended these days- I believe that is their problem, not mine. I worked as a professional for 40 years very successfully, using my blunt approach. Blunt is not rude- it is simply a matter of speaking plainly and avoiding misunderstandings.
It amazes me that I recommend speaking plainly and to the point, and my suggestion is treated as if it is a joke or that I am some sort of troll…the world is in a strange place.

jca's avatar

@AGRSAV8R: What was acceptable in the work place even 10 years ago is no longer acceptable now.

When I started working, in the 1980’s, people were blunt in the manner which you say we should speak. In addition (not that you were advocating for this, necessarily), people made black jokes, Polish jokes, Jewish jokes, Italian jokes, jokes about dumb blondes, jokes about gays, jokes about fat people, all kinds of ethnic and gender jokes. Also acceptable in the work place were calendars with girls in bikinis and stuff like that. Those days are over.

No matter what you think of the way it is now, that’s the way it is. It has nothing to do with an individual being sensitive. It’s the environment we work in, even in government (where I work). In many places, if you’re not discreet and diplomatic, you’ll be hauled into HR and if you’re lucky, given a warning. If it happens again, you’re out. If you are not lucky, you’re fired and out the door by the end of the day without any chances.

AGRSAV8R's avatar

jca, the fact that you are unable to distinguish between being blunt and not “beating around the bush”, and being offensive, concerns me. While I am certain that people are way too easily offended these days, and that this is not “just how it is”- it is a temporary condition, many people are already tiring of this whiny, “poor me”: behavior, this is not what I’m talking about.
If someone does something that makes me angry, I say “Hey- you are making me angry with your behavior.”
I don’t say “Excuse me, if you have a moment in the next few days I’d like to get together, at your convenience, to discuss some of the ways you and I might communicate better”.

I’m sure option B sounds great to liberal weirdos, but I am not going to spend my time sweet talking every jackass that doesn’t know how to behave without inconveniencing those around him- it is not my job, or my problem.
Jokes, like words, are not harmful. Of course, we have taught an entire generation now to be delicate little flowers who cry at the drop of a teasing word, who are about as tough as a boiled egg, and who have no skills beyond being able to verbalize their pain.
If you worked in the 80’s, then you remember “Sticks and stones make break my bones…etc”
Kids had to learn to toughen up…these days, they don’t- you can reduce any of them to tears just by saying mean things to them. They do not know how to deal with the real world- which is why they resort to getting grandpa’s pistol and going to school and shooting people. I don’t remember THAT in the 80’s…in fact, the 80’s was one of the safest decades, until the very late 80’s (88–89) there was almost nothing, as the rules tightened in 88, and kids no longer had outlets for their angst due to the more stringent rules, the violence began.
I was in high school in the late 70’s…we dressed as we liked, listened to heavy metal music “the Devil’s music”- and partied a lot…it was a great time, and we didn’t kill each other.

jca's avatar

@AGRSAV8R: “Liberal weirdos?” Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, I’m describing what workplace environments are like now.

JLeslie's avatar

Usually, I’d just smile if I happen to run into them, and maybe say hello, and keep moving.

If they actually have no idea I don’t like them and ask to have lunch or work together, then it gets more complicated. Granted, me smiling and saying hello might contribute to them not knowing I’m annoyed with them, but usually people know there is tension.

I mean why do I dislike this person? What did he or she do? I just don’t like his/her personality? Or, do I hate them for something work related?

I would think if there is a specific incident that caused your dislike, that if the person doesn’t get the hint you can remind them what happened and that it still bothers you. I haven’t worked in a big office in a long time though, so maybe it’s impossible to do that know. I would only be blunt if forced to be; if the person just seemed not to be catching on. I would hope I have the frame of mind that maybe the air could be cleared, and the situation made better, but it depends what had happened.

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