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I work with a coworker who is a chatterbox.

He loves talking regardless who it is - clients, coworkers, random telemarketing guys, recruiters, you name it, he doesn't need a reason to start blabbing. He tells them all his life story. Even the recruiter calling for an ex-employee reference gets to listen to what he did over the weekend.

He just walks into my cube often, and starts a conversation without asking if I am busy or not. Today he did the same while I was working on something really important for the client. I told him I am busy and will continue the topic at a later time. He left, and 10 minutes later returned with a different story. I repeated my reason as to why I couldn't talk, but he was back in another 15 minutes. Finally, I told him that I am really busy, I need to focus, so quit interrupting me and he just stormed out.

How can I politely deal with this kind of person in the workplace when being subtle hasn't worked?

I work for a small business company with only 6 employees, so it's hard to avoid these type of personalities. Unless you are straight in their face this guy doesn't get it. If I give him indirect clue that he's being annoying, he immediately asks - What is that supposed to mean? I deal with this on a daily basis.

We don't have HR and the boss lives out of state. So anything goes in the office and he's senior employee here.

Did I address the situation correctly by telling him not to interrupt me up straight? is there is a better way to handle it next time?

closed as primarily opinion-based by bruglesco, alroc, AffableAmbler, gnat, Mister Positive Apr 19 at 18:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Do you want an answer or is this just a rant? – thursdaysgeek Apr 16 at 23:52
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    @thursdaysgeek - I want to know if I addressed the situation correctly by telling him not to interrupt me up straight. I know it will happen again and was wondering if there is a better way to handle it next time. – yonikawa Apr 16 at 23:55
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    I did some edits to the post, to remove the not-so-nice words and phrases, so readers can focus on answering the question/helping instead. – DarkCygnus Apr 17 at 0:47
  • @DarkCygnus - That's the problem right, unfortunately, the world is so obsessed with political correctness that you can't say the truth, it has to be nice regardless of how annoying the situation is. Being nice doesn't solve the problem always, in fact it just encourages the wrongdoer. Sometimes rudeness goes a long way and trusts me it works. – yonikawa Apr 17 at 23:02
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    Is political correctness really an issue here? The edited version of your post clearly conveys that your co-worker's behavior is thoughtless, frustrating, and having an impact on your work life. Repeatedly calling him a moron doesn't add anything. If "rudeness goes a long way and trust me it works" then why exactly are you here asking for a better way to handle the situation? – Keiki Apr 19 at 12:25
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There are a number of tactics you can use to avoid this but they are all almost as disruptive. For example:

  • When you see him approaching pick up a pen and paper, stand up, tell him you'll be back shortly, walk around the office and go back to work
  • Tell him you're really busy and ask him if you can get back to him at lunchtime. For this to work you probably will have to talk to him at lunchtime
  • We used to have someone who did this to lots of us in an open office, we formed a telephone club and when we noticed him walk over to someone's desk one of us phoned the 'victims' extension
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I tried the first one, walked out to the restroom, came back. In 10 minutes, he was back again, My office is really small and not many coworkers, unfortunately, people put up with it. So I am all alone in this matter here. I already suggested him that we will continue the conversation the next day, but unfortunately, he is so childish that he has to speak his mind right away for some reason. I ignored his conversation and kept working on my stuff, then he started asking me direct questions once he figured I am not going to respond to his blabbing. – yonikawa Apr 17 at 22:56
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you may find this a little rude but its up to you. it is possible to purchase ear defenders with built in speakers, they are designed so a fire alarm and jack hammer can be running at the same time and you can still hear the backing singer. that way he can talk/shout/scream all he wants and you wont hear a bit of it!

  • I have headsets, but that doesn't stop him from standing right in front of my desk and blabbing expecting me to make eye contact or show some sort of response to his behavior. He does this to another coworker all day, once she leaves for home, he approaches me. – yonikawa Apr 17 at 23:15
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    i think the only way to combat this is talking to the boss. you may not want to but if he's stopping you and other people from working just because he wants a chat, then your boss will sort it out. i appluad your patience, personally i would have lasted about 15 minutes before shouting him out of the room. – Woodie 2714 Apr 18 at 8:26
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I have a task list (with about four months worth of work on it). If you are in a similar position, and he does a similar job to you, then you can ask him whether he isn't busy right now. Either he is busy, then you tell him he should better get back to his work. If he is not busy, then you can assign one of your tasks to him, since you are busy, and he is not.

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