As quality officer I have to interact a lot with the business analyst. Things went OK in the beginning when the BA just started in the company (I have been here for 8 years), but later on we become somewhat friends and the attitude changed.

The Ba is constantly making negative comments, especially about my own boss and my direct peers, but also about his own colleagues. For the past months, I had to have lunch with the BA every day at his chosen place and hour. I know my assertivity is low and I worked on it, by telling him I have other plans. He'd push by saying he'd come along.

As for work, he cannot explain things well, and got furious one day when I did not understand, and later on, not agreed with his position. I could see he was trying hard not to insult me.

I tend not to pick up the phone when he calls (first thing in the morning, just to 'chat' about how annoyed he was the evening before with his girlfriend/guests/shop assistants), and frankly I start to dread my job because of the obligatory work contact I have with this person.

I told him several times he was being negative and did not want to talk about work after the job, but he thinks I am joking.

The last thing was that he took full credit for a small project that I helped him with a lot, as in spending 2 hours a day for a week on it. When he presented it to management and got praises, he acted so cocky and full of himself and said something like 'you are paying me to deliver and I deliver'.

I would like to avoid working with him altogether, but there is no other job available.

How can I keep my distance from him?

  • Next project, remind him how he failed to give you credit, so he can truly do all the work this time.
    – user8365
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:43
  • 3
    Can you explain why you are required to have lunch with him? Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 20:54
  • 4
    If he isn't behaving like a friend, he isn't a friend. Stop treating him like one. "No" is a perfectly reasonable word; use it for anything not business-related.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 0:20
  • You have to tell this person, change how you act or I won't be you any more than the job requires.
    – user8365
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


There isn't a simple answer to your question. You need to learn how to create and maintain boundaries, and to develop your assertiveness. Creating boundaries is a skill that a lot of people struggle with in the workplace, so you are not alone! Facing a boundary crosser, though, is a great opportunity to learn this important skill.

When someone is crossing your boundary, the more you engage with him, the more you encourage boundary crossing. When this person is doing something you don't like, you need to name the activity in as few words as possible and end your engagement in a non-emotional way. And if you are challenged, repeat yourself using the exact same words (broken record technique).

Example: The BA is saying negative things about people at work. You say, "I don't want to hear negative things about people at work." And then you get up and leave. This may mean leaving a half-finished meal on the table the first time or two, but if you are consistent, he will get the message. If he asks you about it later, just keep repeating the exact same words. If you engage in debating or explaining yourself, you are rewarding him. There simply is no further explanation needed.

Example: He invites you to lunch and you don't want to go. Don't lie that you have other plans - one lie just leads to another. Be honest, few words, broken record: "No thanks, not today." He says, "But why?....." You just keep repeating "No thanks, not today." If he persists, or is asking you every day, address that with truth as well: "I need a break from lunch with you. You are too negative." He says he promises not to be negative, and you just keep repeating that you need a break from lunch with him.

Example: He is furious that you do not understand what he is saying, so he keeps pushing his point. Say, "We need to change the subject now, or I am leaving." Say it calmly - you are simply stating your boundary. If he persists, get up and leave. He says, "Wait, I'll change the subject." Wave goodbye and say, "I'll see you later."

When you state your boundaries clearly (and this requires becoming clear in your mind about what those boundaries are), and you are consistent about ending engagement when the boundary is crossed, the boundary crosser will either have to change his behavior or find a new target.

Good luck!

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