Q&A with Jane: How to deal with a talkative co-worker?

Hi Jane,

I am working in the editorial team of a PR agency. I joined the agency hardly a month back. The company has a lot to offer and I foresee major scope for the desired growth at my workplace. The workplace culture is very sound and this new experience of working in the professional arena is very pleasing for me. I am really happy to have been pitched at the desired profile and I am dedicatedly enjoying my work. But above all this, there is a talkative co-worker bothering me a bit.

Our workplace ground encompasses 20 cubicles; forming a row of ten twined cubicles. For I was the last one to join the company, I was assigned the last-corner cubicle which was empty then. Next, to me sits a 50-year old woman working in the same team. She was the first co-worker in the office who attempted to strike a conversation with me to make me feel at ease. She frequently talks to me sharing her work and life experiences. Sometimes, she shows pictures of her pet cat as she lives alone with it and is emotionally attached to it.

I don’t mind discussing work with her but such banter is a bother. I would love to listen to her but work-hours are not the right time to discuss personal talks. She calls me to her desk often and I respond in the middle of my work in order to be courteous to her.  Not only does she disturb me but she also blabbers loudly whenever she’s conversing with someone on the phone. This disturbs me which adversely affects my concentration at work. I am perplexed about how to deal with her without offending her.


It is always a potential deal to build the rapport with your co-workers. It will make your office environment warmer and comfortable. Interpersonal skills are a must and always help to excel at your workplace. The office is a place where you respect each and every individual irrespective of their personal habits. Despite this, I think you are in a right lane for remembering your key motive at the workplace. Your work should be the primary concern even if the co-worker is an acquaintance.

I totally understand that you are tending to shut your talkative co-worker in a professional and kind manner. Firstly, let your actions express well that you are in the middle of your work and so it’s not the perfect time to chat. Don’t just totally ignore her; it may look rude. Instead, attempt something tactful that would hit your target and also won’t hurt her. Next time when she calls you, just tell her that you are in the middle of something and will get back to her when free. It will signify that you don’t have time to spare for casual chitchat.

In case she doesn’t decode this subtle sign, then it’s time to be direct without being offensive. Politely tell her that you would love to discuss the given topic with her but now isn’t the right time as you have deadlines to meet. By saying this, you won’t ignore her but you have given her a valid reason for ignoring her. If she is a thorough professional, she will respect your space. If she isn’t, then at least she’ll think twice before disturbing you. In case it doesn’t stop, bring it to your manager’s notice. Let him handle the situation in a tactful manner. After all, you don’t want to spoil your rapport with her as you have to work together and she also sits next to you.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.