Recently I rubbed one of my coworkers the wrong way. In my opinion, it was totally understandable but she has been giving me the cold shoulder for weeks now. She had been transferred to another location for a year. During that time, she got married and apparently gained some weight around the tummy. So when she came back to my location and I saw her, I immediately assumed she was pregnant. I joyfully congratulated her and asked how her mom felt about it. Well she snapped, "About what? My fat?" and walked away. I was left standing there like an idiot. We used to be on good terms and I want to go back to that. What is the etiquette here? I feel like a fool, but she looked pregnant! Should I go and apologize or will that make it worse?
- Not feeling clear, blue, or easy
Never mind how she looked! You wouldn't assume a balding man had cancer and ask how his chemotherapy was going! (Although Alotta suspects you might.) You're trying to find a reasonable explanation for the size 13-snow shoe you have in your mouth at the moment—and that's not helping. Alotta's not sure this situation is at all fixable, but the first step here is to remove the foot from your mouth in order to make room for the plate of crow you must eat. Realizing you made a mistake and owning up to it is important if you sincerely want to fix it. Since it's been a few weeks and she's had time to cool off, you may approach her. Tell her that you feel terrible, that you're very
sorry and that you hope the two of you can work past it. Whatever you do, do not make reference to her weight or attempt to explain your reasons for making the expectant inquiry—as you may end up the one who gets "knocked up".
- Alotta, prolifically
I am captive in a small office with a co-worker who is slowly making me insane. I don't even know how to explain his behavior. He is constantly speaking to himself in these cartoon voices. He'll do the whole cast of what I believe to be Rocky and Bullwinkle on a regular basis and have an entire conversation with himself about the work he is doing at the moment. Like, "Gee Rocky, do you think I should copy these files to my D drive or to the share?" and then he'll answer himself in another character's voice and make a "boing" sound when he drags each file onto the drive. Oftentimes he'll look over at the person nearest him to see what their reaction is. I am not sure if he is using work as amateur hour and just wants a laugh or if he is just off his rocker. Moving desks, wearing headphones, or listening to music are not options, as the environment here does not allow for it. People say I should just ignore it, but they have never heard it. I'm starting to really hate coming here but I don't want to switch jobs because this one is great otherwise. How do I get him to stop or tune it out?
- Slowly going insane
This man is riding a bus that's only 2 stops away from crazy town.
He may have a mental disorder that you are not aware of. Regardless, his boss must tell Mr.-Mel-Blanc-over-there that the animated soundtrack to his day must stop. You shouldn't have to learn to "toon" him out. You have a job to do yourself and deserve an acceptable environment in which to do it—without the loco lampooning. You must raise the issue with the boss and explain that you are having trouble getting your work done, "what with all the ruckus next door". If you do not share the same boss, then you should raise the issue with your boss and let him
talk to the animaniac's boss. Alotta is confidant that will he get a talking to—Mr. Spacely style.
- Alotta, comically