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baileysmom12's avatar

What should I do about a nosy co-worker?

Asked by baileysmom12 (957points) December 18th, 2009

A lady I work with is driving me crazy. Every time someone come to speak to me she runs over to my cubicle and just satnds there listening. A couple of times she has even elbowed her way into my cubicle and stood between me and the person I was talking to. When she comes to speak to me when I’m by myself she invades my personal space. She will satnd about 3 inches away from me. I have asked her to back up and she gets a little pissy about it. I don’t to start a big argument with her because we are at work. How do I tell her to leave me alone without causing drama?

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22 Answers

stratman37's avatar

a close talker!

pjanaway's avatar

Tell them to fuck off. I’m being serious, Thats what I actually do. :)

HighShaman's avatar

Have you ever considered telling her; “I’m sorry; but this is a PRIVATE conversation.”

IF she invades your personal space , tell her to “Step back , I don’t allow people too close to my face ..germs and all ..!” and be FIRM !!

baileysmom12's avatar

@HighShaman Yep. I’ve told her that several time and she still does it.

Jewel's avatar

Ask her for a little privacy when you are having a private discussion. Tell her it is a private discussion. You have nothing to be embarressed about. She is invading your space and breaking the accepted rules.
You also have the right to ask her to leave so that you can get back to work, or whatever is going on. If she wants to argue, refuse! A single person can’t argue! She can bitch and complain, but if you don’t respond to any of her noises, she won’t have anything to argue against. Right?

HighShaman's avatar

@baileysmom12 Then go to your Supervisor and ask for “Guidance” ....

baileysmom12's avatar

@Jewel Thank you Jewel.

SeventhSense's avatar

“Jerry she’s a close talker!”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

You need to ask her“Can I help you?” when she tries to listen in to your conversations.When you are alone and she talks in your face you need to tell her to back up,like you have been doing.Too bad if she doesn’t like it.People like her take awhile to learn and you might have to escalate it.Get personal if you have to….you could have a little fun with it too;)

ccrow's avatar

Eat lots of garlic & breathe in her face! :-D

Ansible1's avatar

Tell her to swing her arms when she walks

chyna's avatar

Stop your conversation with the other person, look at her and say “can I help you” or “do you need something?” When she says no, tell her it’s a private conversation and look at her until she leaves. When she gets too close just tell her she is in your space, move back.

mellow_girl's avatar

lol, i hate people like that and i’ve delt with them at work.for the person that runs up to hear what you are talking about, i stop the conversation and ask them what they want, if they reply “nothing” i then say that the conversation is personal and ask them to give us space. to the person that asks too many questions, i just say “why do you want to know?” and if they continue i tell them that they are rude and they ask too many questions, it doesn’t bother me to rock the boat, actually i enjoy it…

Poser's avatar

When she is listening to a conversation that is none of her business, simply ask, “Will you excuse us for a moment?” If she doesn’t get the hint, make it a bit more blunt, “We need some privacy, please.” If she still doesn’t get it, tell her that if she doesn’t leave, you’ll be forced to report her. Then do it, if required. Always start politely, and move to bluntness, even rudeness if necessary.

Buttonstc's avatar

Just get one of those surgical face masks and put it on whenever she gets that close.

Tell her you don’t want to risk getting H1N1. Nothing like a visual cue to get the point across.

Supacase's avatar

I take it subtlety is not her strong suit.

Do what @chyna said. Pleasantly say “excuse me for a minute” to the person who came to talk to you. Look at Nosy Coworker and ask what she needs. Silently stare at her with anticipation as though you are truly interested. If she says she is there to listen which she might since subtlety is obviously not her strong suit say “We need to talk privately. Please excuse us.” Then turn your back to her and tell the person waiting “I’m sorry for the interruption. You will have my undivided attention in just a moment.” Then wait for NC to leave before you continue the conversation.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Ask her what she wants. That’s what I’d do, in an even, steady voice. “Do you have any reason to be at my desk at the moment? Is there something you need here?”


“I am having a private conversation and I’m going to ask you to leave now. Thank you.”

jca's avatar

i totally agree with all who said to stop the conversation and ask her what she wants and don’t continue the convo till she leaves. if you continue the conversation as if she’s not there, that’s what she wants – she wants to listen in. if this tactic does not work, you can try asking your coworker (the good one) to come with you and chat elsewhere.

it sounds like Nosy Coworker really needs a firm message. i wonder if she’s crazy.

NUNYA's avatar

Give her a taste of her own medicine. Start nosing around her conversations and phone calls etc. See if it affects her at all. Then if she does notice, politely tell her that this is the way you feel all the time when she hangs over your shoulder or are in your business.
My mom use to call us kids “Nosey Rosies” when we would do that. lol

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Tell her “confidentally” that you don’t want alarm her but your manager asked if she has enough work to do, because she seems to spend a lot of time outside your cube, doing nothing.

I used to work with a guy that would come by my desk to talk with me and read aloud the e-mails that were up on my desktop. It stopped when I planted one that said, “Tom has this really rude and annoying habit of reading my e-mail out loud while he’s standing in my cube. If he doesn’t stop it right now, I won’t go to lunch with him anymore.” He read it, turned beet red, and from then on, would ask me to come to his cube when we needed to talk.

SirGoofy's avatar

Let’s keep this interesting, so try this: When she shows up, just start picking your nose. Not just picking, but meaningful thrusts of your finger deep into your nasal cavity. Look her right in the eye and DIG!! Don’t be afraid. Try to reach your brain if you can and if you’re real lucky, you’ll extract some colorful artifacts that will add to the effect. No need for talking, just make direct eye contact with her, look pacified and DIG!! DIG!! DIG!! Answer with head nods and blinks. With eyes crossed, study carefully the end of your glistening nasal probe. Think to yourself while she is there…“this is my hobby…this is what I do.” Let us know what happens.

Silhouette's avatar

Frustrate him/her. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

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