I sit next to a co-worker who consistently has issues. As a human being I feel bad for her, but at the same time I do not appreciate the constant (once a week) loud personal conversations that she has in the office, often times with her ending up with her crying. This have been going on for close to 2 years now.

These instances usually are not less than 30 minutes, and frequently last over an hour.

Should I suggest she go out of the office for these conversations? At the moment I am left with putting on headphones and waiting for it to go away.

As I am a co-worker, not this person's manager, I do not know the best way to proceed without putting myself at risk of being "that guy".

If there is a way to help them, I would like to do that. In the end the distraction she creates needs to go away, and I am not going to risk my standing in the company.

UPDATE: This is also sensitive due to the fact that I am male and she is a female. I don't want to be seen as an insensitive jerk. This is not the same scenario as folks are trying to link to (as a duplicate).

UPDATE II: She was given a very nice severance package, so she could figure out her personal issues without worrying about income for a few months. Very nice of the company to do so, and her boss FINALLY observed an incident.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Loud and unprofessional employee
    – user30031
    Dec 12, 2016 at 17:27
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    Is your goal to help your coworker or is it to deal with her crying and not be distracted by it?
    – enderland
    Dec 12, 2016 at 17:31
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    If you have the same boss I would go the them. If you approach this person about loud conversations and tears that is would you are likely to get.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 12, 2016 at 17:50
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    1. How can you describe something as "constant" when it happens only once a week? 2. If I read your post right, you are saying that the maximum length of this conversation is a little more than 1 hour. So, it's once a week and for a little more than one hour? Go and have yourself a lunch break! Dec 12, 2016 at 22:08
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    Well, ask her to have her conversations during your lunch time and you're all set. Dec 12, 2016 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


This seems appropriate to bring up to this person's supervisor, for the reason of being a significant distraction and affecting your job performance on regular basis. The solution for the individual would be to take their conversation outside the work area, or do after work hours.

However, play by ear: take your best guess at how the supervisor is likely to react. (e.g. is this employee the supervisor's best/favorite subordinate?) So consider the circumstances.

You might also consult with your HR dept to see if there is a policy in place to handle distractions or unprofessional behavior (which this qualifies under) in the workplace.

  • A better solution for this individual might be to seek professional help. If she is audibly crying in the workplace on a regular basis, she clearly has some serious issues to work through. Dec 27, 2017 at 0:31
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    @AffableAmbler I agree, for the person crying your advice might make sense. However the person asking the question is not the person crying, but a coworker trying to figure out what HE should do in this situation.
    – A.S
    Dec 27, 2017 at 1:33

I do not appreciate the constant ( once a week ) loud personal conversations that she has in the office, often times crying.

A loud conversation (say, 10mins on average) once a week doesn't sound at all like something you should be taking action about. When this happens, go have a coffee break. Problem solved. If the frequency were 3 times a day, I could start to see your dilemma.

  • This isn't a frequency thing as much as it is a duration thing.
    – Neo
    Dec 12, 2016 at 17:52
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    Surely someone else would notice them, no? Dec 13, 2016 at 14:42
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    @AndrewBerry you would think so, but this employee has not had an on-site supervisor for the last year so this does not help.
    – Neo
    Dec 14, 2016 at 13:46

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