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Relationship Health Message Board


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Dreamer:

You have pretty much come up with a great solution on your own, based on what you said in your last post...

I am the same way -- I do not allow my personal life to be the fodder for conversation at work or in other social situations where I feel it is inappropriate.

However, it is nearly impossible to NOT discuss home-life with the people we work with. This is normal -- can't get around it much. But we CAN pick the topics about our home life that we will ALLOW to be discussed.

For example, trading recipes for brownies or discussing a funny TV show with co-workers is a good way to share little bits of your home life with the crowd and be accepted while contributing to the social dynamic of the workplace. You can talk about your pets, you can talk about your furniture, your prized roses in the yard, things like that.

It is important not to be rude and REJECT people who broach topics which are borderline. But it is equally important to define your own limitations.

This requires you to SPEAK UP sooner or later.

You do this politely and respectfully. Let people know that some things are just too private for office discussions.

If someone asks you if you and your boyfriend snuggle on the sofa when you watch TV, and you find this to be a little too personal to discuss, say something like: "That's information that is kept confidential between myself and my boyfriend!"

And here's the important part -- when you say this, you SMILE!

Smile BIG. Be friendly. Let your eyes sparkle to show that you are NOT offended but that at the same time, you are NOT giving up that information!

Then change the topic to something else that is innocuous, like Easter decorations or whatever you want to use to put an end to the questioning.

Once you do this a few times you will find that soon not many people will ask you questions that are very private in nature. They will "get it" that you want to keep things professional while at work.

If you reach an impasse with someone who is very stubborn after REPEATED attempts on your part to get the message of propriety across, THEN you can tell them in a more firm and clear-cut manner that you believe this is not appropriate conversation.

But you would STILL do this with a smile!

"I'm sorry, Jack... I just don't think this is appropriate to discuss at work. Can we talk about a different subject, please?"

That's as polite as you can get and it also leaves NO room for error.

99% of people will respect this and stop prying into your life.

That last 1%, should you meet that guy or gal, is truly ignorant and THEN you may wish to discuss the situation with management only when you have exhausted all your other polite and respectful options.

Good luck. I can tell you're the kind of gal who can handle this easily.

Sometimes it's just a matter of knowing what to say and how to say it, but ultimately -- it's usually the TRUTH that works best.





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