Are You Driving Your Coworkers Crazy?
In every workplace, there's an annoying individual that drives their coworkers crazy. You might think that person is someone else. But have you ever stopped to consider it might actually be you? A lack of self-awareness is often the culprit behind irritating behaviors. So if you want to find out if you're blind to your own flaws, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I Interrupt Other People Mid-Sentence?
Interrupters are like train wrecks, in more ways than one. Not only do they make a complete mess of standard conversation protocol, they completely derail other people’s thoughts and halt their momentum. Some people think what they have to say is so important it just can’t wait. Obviously, there are valid reasons to interrupt a conversation. However, in reality, most interjections are unnecessary. And in fact, they're usually downright rude.
When you interrupt a conversation, or even a single individual expressing herself, you're giving the impression that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Many interrupters aren't even aware they possess this bad habit, because it often goes hand-in-hand with self-centeredness. If you’re really interested in finding out if you are the one driving your coworkers nuts (and probably everyone else in your life), pay attention. Make note of when and how often you insert yourself into a conversation, and for what purpose. If you find yourself butting in on a regular basis for no good reason, chances are, your coworkers have been fantasizing about duct taping your mouth shut for quite some time.
Do I Think I am Smarter Than Everyone Else?
If you think you’re the smartest one in the office, you may be right. But more than likely, you’re not. Carrying around this egotistical attitude is not going to win you any friends. Most people pride themselves on their knowledge and skills—warranted or not. So if you go around insulting other people’s intelligence, you’re going to annoy them. Do you often use phrases like, “you wouldn’t understand” or “let me break this down for you in simple terms?" Do you pretend to listen to others while in your head you’re just telling yourself how much better your ideas are than theirs? Arrogance is never an attractive quality. And if you’re really convinced you're always the smartest one in the room, your attitude is going to show, even if you try to keep it under wraps. So if this sounds like you, try digesting a big slice of that proverbial humble pie and come down to earth with the rest of your colleagues. You might actually learn something.
Am I the Office Gossip?
It may seem like having the scoop on all the goings-on in your coworkers’ lives makes you popular. After all, when you say things like, “Did you hear what happened to Jim?” people are going to turn their attention to you. It’s only natural. But after they walk away, they're not just thinking about what you revealed; they're wondering about what you might be saying about them, and they're unlikely to share any information with you unless it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, they might go out of their way to avoid you altogether. If you find that people only come to you when you entice them with the promise of a juicy story, you are probably not as well liked as you've led yourself to believe. People tend to gobble up gossip by the spoonful, but they still find the one serving it to be offensive and untrustworthy.
Am I a Compulsive Multitasker?
Efficiency is great. Everyone appreciates the guy who can get a lot done in a little amount of time. But some workers take multitasking a bit too far. Are you the person that continues typing when other people are talking to you? Do you frequently have two people on the phone at once, putting them on hold as you switch back and forth between them? Are you the one eating a smelly tuna salad sandwich at your desk, while you rattle papers and talk with your mouth full? If any of this sounds like you, you may be a compulsive multitasker. And you’re definitely driving your coworkers out of their minds. It’s important to be efficient, but it's just as important to be polite, considerate, and composed.
Am I a Negative Nelly?
If you were hanging out in the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh and the gang, would you be the Eeyore? Nobody likes a negative attitude—it brings everybody else down. Constant complaining is not only incredibly annoying, it can actually reduce morale and productivity. So it's not just your coworkers who are likely to be averse to your bad attitude, but your boss as well. If you often hear yourself muttering things like, “that will never work” or “I hate this place” or “another meeting that should've been an email,” you're probably pulling your coworkers into your downward spiral. To avoid getting sucked in, they're going to start avoiding you.
No one likes to think of themselves as annoying, obnoxious, or unlikable. But there are certainly plenty of people who exhibit these qualities, and most of them are completely clueless about it. Take a moment to stop and ask yourself, “Could I be one of them?” There's no time like the present to become self-aware and start making some much-needed changes.