Coworker from Hell: The “Honest” Coworker

 

These are the coworkers who are opinionated and blunt. They will often say things like, “I’m an honest person. I just say things the way they are.”

By billing their behavior as ‘honesty’, they try to absolve themselves from the consequences of their actions, and give themselves permission to not care about the feelings of others. The challenge with these opinionated coworkers is that they can create tension in a work environment. Their ‘honesty’ is rarely positive, and you can never be sure when this coworker will start being ‘honest’ about you.

Here are three things to do when you have an ‘honest’ coworker:

A. Stay away from him (her)

Chances are your boss sees this person as a negative influence. You don’t want to be painted with the same brush.

B. Don’t encourage him

Even if you agree with his opinion, keep your poker face. You don’t want to reinforce his behavior.

C. Change the subject

Try abruptly changing the subject when he starts on an opinionated rant. It sends the message that you’re not interested.
E.g.:
‘Honest’ person: “They don’t know what they’re doing over in the billing department. The people there are completely under qualified…”

You: “So, what did you think of the basketball game last night?”

You will stop the conversation dead without having to be confrontational. If he challenges you about it, stick to your guns by going back to your topic.

E.g.:

‘Honest’ person: “What, you don’t agree with me?”

You (with a smile): “Great game, huh?”

It might take a few tries, but eventually he will take the hint and give up.

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