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Compiled and edited by Julie Tereshchuk

 

 

Dear Mentors,

Don’t get me wrong – I like to socialize and get to know my co-workers. And Slack’s a great way to communicate at work. But… One of my co-workers is, in my opinion, stepping over the line and being way too chatty. Yes, we’re all still WFH and I miss human contact, too. No, I don’t want to hang out endlessly swapping gifs and emojis. Any advice on how to gently corral my Chatty Cathy?

Yours,

Mentee

Dear Mentee,

The great thing about communication via technology is that you have a lot more control. Turn off the alerts on Slack so you can have undistracted work time, and decide when you’ll check it. (Here’s a suggestion: check it between other tasks not during other tasks.) When you do check it, not every funny gif requires a response from you. Also request that your colleague keep the socializing in the appropriate channel, so it doesn’t hijack other discussions and people can “drop in” on that channel when they’re looking to socialize, but otherwise keep that channel muted.

Yours,

Maura Thomas

 

Dear Mentee,

That personality type is self-focused and won’t process rational suggestions. They DO understand that you are “taking care of yourself.”

How about simply saying: “My business mentor asked me to stop my Slack and other conversations. Thanks for understanding.”

Yours,

Reesa Wolf

 

Dear Mentee,

Sometimes a (semi) direct approach is best: “Cathy, you are too funny! Hey listen, I’ve got to focus on a project right now, and I’m way too easily distracted. For right now, could you keep me off your Slack stream? Of course, grab me if you need me for something you’re working on.  When I come up for air, let’s set up a virtual happy hour.”

This sort of message can be further softened by directing it to the team at large.

Yours,

Julie Wickert

 

Dear Mentee,

Some people just need attention. But it’s not your job to give it to them. Nor is it your place to “corral” another co-worker. What you can do, however, is protect yourself by setting your own boundaries and enforcing them. By that I mean, choose how much or how little you want to interact with your needy co-worker. Ignore the rest of her missives. If you decide that responding to Chatty Cathy once a day is enough, do that, and no more. If once a week is enough for you, do that. If she calls you on it and asks why you’re not responding, tell her the truth. You’re busy and that’s all you have the bandwidth for. Then stick to your guns.

Yours,

Mary Ann Roser