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5 ways to spot an annoying co-worker

By Todd Phiefer, Contributing writer
Published On: Sep 15 2011 12:47:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 20 2011 10:37:54 PM CDT
businesswomen office worker apart from co-workers

iStock/kzenon

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone in the office got along? Unfortunately, the realities of life often follow people to the office, and the same rules of social interaction apply in a professional setting.

Some people simply have personalities that do not mesh well with everyone else. Whether they are labeled annoying or irritating may simply be an issue of semantics, but the point is that they are not the most pleasant individuals to be around on a regular basis.

Identifying these individuals may be a key factor when it comes to getting work done and tolerating the office setting.

Granted, people should exercise some compassion for irritating individuals, but if people continue to engage in behavior that they may be able to control, there are certainly times when they should be avoided.

With that in mind, here are a the five most common types of annoying co-workers and tips on how to spot them.

boss shouting at employee in office

No. 5: The Motormouth

Sometimes spotting the annoying co-worker isn't about seeing. Rather, it is about hearing, because this annoying co-worker is the one who is talking even though no one is listening.

A person could close her eyes, but unfortunately she cannot turn down the volume. It would be rude to ask questions such as, "Are you talking to anyone in particular, or are you just talking?"

Perhaps the annoying co-worker is uncomfortable with silence or maybe he just likes to talk. In either case, these are the types of people who keep the conversation going, even if there isn't any dialogue occurring.

There are times when people stop responding to the motormouth, but unfortunately constant talkers may miss the cue and keep right on yammering.

Of course, it could be worse. The irritating co-worker could have the ability to appear instantly in another place.

office worker looking over cubicle wall

No. 4: The Teleporter

If a co-worker is annoying, there may be opportunities for people to get away. Unfortunately, a small office or adjacent working spaces can make this difficult.

In addition, some people just seem to have a unique ability to appear out of nowhere. A group of co-workers may be gathering to chat and the annoying person seems to just materialize.

This can also occur when people are trying to escape for lunch and the irritating colleague suddenly rounds the corner. Before people know it, they are reverting back to elementary school and shouting, "Look out! Here he comes! Go! Go! Go! Run for it!" This may be a bit sophomoric with elements of being mean-spirited, but escaping from the annoying co-worker sometimes requires some drastic strategies.

After all, people do not want to hear the biography of irritation yet again.

disgusted annoyed office worker

No. 3: The TMIer

Constant talking has been mentioned as sign that a person is an irritating co-worker. However, sometimes annoyance stems from content rather than sheer volume.

These are the types of people who lack a "filter" to their speech.

It is certainly nice to get to know people, but typically this happens when there is a mutual interest in deepening a relationship. When people openly share their inner secrets, their dating results, and their personal habits, it can make the workplace definitively uncomfortable.

Again, there is a level of compassion that should be exercised, as this may be a sign that the person is crying out for help. However, caring about a co-worker does not mean that people must listen to everything that they say on a daily basis.

As the world has advanced, irritating workers have also started to make their presence known on the World Wide Web.

man looking at computer screen

No. 2: The E-Mail Abuser

The annoying co-worker is the person who lacks a general sense of social graces and etiquette, regardless of the environment.

E-mail has become a great way to quickly and efficiently conduct business, but it also has the potential to be an informational wasteland and an environment where people can display their ignorance to large groups.

The annoying co-worker is the person who constantly forwards emails that he finds funny, uses the e-mail system to advertise his garage sales, and insists on "replying to all," even though the entire company does not need to see his response.

Since e-mail allows people to think before hitting "send," it would seem reasonable that individuals would have more time to ponder the wisdom of the email. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Clearly, the annoying co-worker can sometimes be identified by the lack of awareness, even if this includes his entire personality.

businesswoman relaxing in office

No. 1: The Clueless Colleague

When it comes to people, awareness can be hard to teach.

Unfortunately, this can extend to the workplace and people may find that certain co-workers have no idea about how they come across to others. This includes their vocal volume, conversational content, wardrobe, general popularity, skill set, and role in the company.

Sadly, some co-workers simply do not "get it," and everyone around them must navigate the awkward atmosphere that can go along with a clueless colleague.

In many offices, the generally unaware person fills the role of annoying co-worker, as everyone else must resist the temptation to tell this person on a daily basis that they are not in touch with reality. People that are not in touch with their surroundings can be inherently annoying in the workplace.

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