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I am an enterprise software dev in the USA. Another developer recently joined my small team. While he and I do share some similar interests, I find him annoying and am not interested in spending time with him outside of work. My boss has hinted that I haven't "been a team player" outside of work, not given him "the [company] welcome", been too focused on work instead of team banter, etc.

He means that I don't really joke along with this guy. I will just listen to what he has to say and reply, "OK, well, let's get to the topic at hand", or something like that. Normally he is trying to be funny by tearing others down and I don't care to respond to that. But the "team player" stuff he alluded to would be things like playing video games together after work, bars, etc. Not workplace, whole-team stuff but i.e. "How about you try to find a video game to play together?"

I expect this will come up in my annual review next month.

How do I politely explain to my boss that while I don't mind working with the guy in a professional context, I'm not interested in being his friend?

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    Do the "team banter" activities mean lunch events, team meetings, and other things within the work environment ? If yes, then you should participate. But, if "team banter" means asking the new guy to join your weekend activities such as your own sport club, music club, dancing club, movie club, book club, etc..., then that is not reasonable and your boss should not require you to do that. Apr 24 at 23:53
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    It reads confusing - the title says "outside of work" but the question talks about things you normally do in work. Apr 25 at 0:02
  • @Job_September_2020 He means that I don't really joke along with this guy, I will just listen to what he has to say and reply "OK, well, let's get to the topic at hand." or something like that. Because normally all he has to say is trying to be funny by tearing others down and I don't care to respond to that. But "team player" stuff he alluded to would be things like playing video games together after work, bars, etc. Not workplace, whole-team stuff but i.e. "How about you try to find a video game to play together?" Apr 25 at 1:00
  • Has the boss actually said that team players and company welcome include inviting him to your house to play video games? (Or multiplayer games on off hours though I am not sure how that would build camaraderie.) Is it possible you are misunderstanding the boss- like find a game you both play and talk about it for a couple minutes?
    – Damila
    Apr 26 at 20:26

2 Answers 2

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Keep bringing the annual review back to results. If you work well with this person, you don't need to socialize outside of work.

If your dislike of this person is affecting your results at work, then there's an issue that needs to be addressed; until then, it should be business as usual.

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Normally he is trying to be funny by tearing others down and I don't care to respond to that.

I think this is your out. There is nothing worse for team morale than gossip or saying negative things behind other people's back. After all, what does he say about you to others?

If it was me, I would document whenever he says something negative about someone. Then use that in your discussions with your manager. Also, when he does so, I would respond with something like:

"I don't think it is funny to say such about X. I respect his ability to do Y and is an integral part of the team."

Being so condescending to others is certainly not a basis for friendship.

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  • That sounds like becoming an anti-team player. The colleague might have a bad taste of humour or just be insecure - depending on the degree of their jokes. But if the first thing a new colleague does is document each conversation and brings up every joke nitpick in a review, that risks souring that relationship way more than politely not interacting with them. There is a risk to loose a colleague and become known as the difficult person. Especially since banter seems to be accepted to some degree. Apr 27 at 2:32
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    Granted the boss might have no idea about the content of their conversations. And yes, if they bully people explicitly or make really inappropriate comments that don't fit into the work culture then it is worth bringing that up, but OP seems not particularly bothered and the boss neither. Maybe we read the situation differently, but perhaps you want to take that point of view in and,e.g. guard bringing such (implicit) accusations up with a bit of testing the waters and weighing the offence etc. Just as a hint of why this can come with risks/drawbacks. Apr 27 at 2:32

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