Silent colleague

(99 Posts)
ChooseTheLifeYouLove Sat 09-Jul-16 17:49:03

I work away Monday to Friday and our company pays for us to be in a hotel during that time and we have company cars we drive to and from work from the hotel. Two people do each shift.

On my shift I drive in with the most awkward odd person I have ever met and I honestly think it's starting to impact on my life to the point where I'm dreading the drive (35 mins each way) with this man.

He's about 25 and the word that I most want to use to describe him is "weird" and I'm not trying to be unkind. He's very junior to me but still an adult obviously yet can't even make polite conversation he is usually silent but it's a tense silence if you know what I mean. He acts super nervous but when I try to make small talk he snaps back with something very short. Eg. The other day we were driving to work and there are no pavements on the road and there were two pedestrians walking their dogs in the road. I slowed to go past and said "not an ideal road for walking here" and he said "well where else are they supposed to go!" So whenever he speaks it's a snappy rude ish comment making zero effort.

I will say I have given up trying with him now and I didn't just try and make small talk I tried to chat to him about work and his hobbies but it would be one word short answers and no effort the other way.

I now feel anxious spending this time alone with him as he has such an awkward air and makes me feel so ill at ease. I know this sounds trivial but I have to do this for another month and it's really getting to me now! Any advice please?

Purplehonesty Sat 09-Jul-16 17:51:05

Put the radio on and listen to that? Just ignore him if he can't be polite and make an effort to chat.

FuzzyOwl Sat 09-Jul-16 17:53:48

I agree about putting the radio on. I used to drive with various colleagues at time and had nothing really in common with them, so having the radio on made the journey go quicker and was less awkward.

ChooseTheLifeYouLove Sat 09-Jul-16 17:55:56

We are in remote Wales with no radio signal or at least signal that comes and goes or that would be the perfect option. For some reason he really puts me on edge.

DeathStare Sat 09-Jul-16 17:58:44

Get some CDs. Audio books would be perfect as it puts anyone off talking

Andrewofgg Sat 09-Jul-16 17:58:51

I thought in remote Wales you got yesterday's radio programmes delivered by a boy in uniform from the Post Office.

Does your ICE not include a CD player?

MiddleClassProblem Sat 09-Jul-16 18:00:24

Then get some CDs music or audio books

ChooseTheLifeYouLove Sat 09-Jul-16 18:01:06

I'll have to go and study the car radio and sound system. That will definitely help but even with that I feel so uncomfortable sitting with him every day! No choice though. I'm fantasising about telling him how rude he appears. He even gets in and out of the car without so much as a "thanks for driving" or anything! (He can't drive)

MsKite Sat 09-Jul-16 18:03:11

I was going to suggest audio books too, DeathStare. Just put one on and pretend he's not there!

RadicalPessimist Sat 09-Jul-16 18:03:19

Yes, CDs would be the way to go. Don't bother trying to make small talk anymore. Just put some nice music on and ignore him as far as possible.

Nksw Sat 09-Jul-16 18:03:57

This doesn't sound trivial, it sets the working day off so badly.

Is he generally awkward at work or just with you on the drive? Is he a nervous passenger? Does he hold on?

ImperialBlether Sat 09-Jul-16 18:07:07

If he's very junior to you, you need to pull rank. He should be polite and he should thank you for the lift. He'll never get anywhere unless someone tells him.

Maybe when he gets out of the car on the Friday you should say something to him (in work mode) and then if he doesn't improve on the Monday, bring it up with his line manager?

wobblywonderwoman Sat 09-Jul-16 18:07:21

He might have additional needs / social skills issue. Can you go in your own car if you are feeling uncomfortable ?

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Sat 09-Jul-16 18:19:29

I used to work with someone like this. Making pleasant small talk with her was like trying to get blood out of a stone. She would also do the weirdly snappy responses to a light remark ("cold out this morning, isn't it?" "I didn't think it was cold." Said with a death stare and a tone that implied that being cold was due to a personal failing on my part) In the end I just gave up trying to talk to her. In your case I would try audio books and brazening the silence out.

ToadsJustFellFromTheSky Sat 09-Jul-16 18:21:12

Perhaps he's shy?

shazzarooney999 Sat 09-Jul-16 18:24:54

If you dont know this guy well he could have socail communication problems, could even be on the spectrum.

CheeseCakeSunflowers Sat 09-Jul-16 18:26:35

The way you describe him sounds like he could have ASD. I have similar car journey conversations with an ASD person who is totally unaware that he is being impolite. Please don't challenge him about it, as it will probably make the situation worse, just imagine you are driving in alone and leave him to his own thoughts.

Ditsy4 Sat 09-Jul-16 18:26:58

I wonder if he is on the Autistic Spectrum. People on the Spectrum don't understand small talk and are very literal."Where else are they supposed to go!" Could be a literal statement. It could be that he is. Nervous too and perhaps worrying about the journey as that can happen and therefore they are so distracted by what they are processing that they can't manage to hold a conversation. Could you find out a bit more about him? Try some classical music it might help both of you.

Ditsy4 Sat 09-Jul-16 18:28:10

Ha ha! That's three of us in two minutes!

BennyTheBall Sat 09-Jul-16 18:28:18

He sounds like my colleague, but worse.

My colleague has Asperger's and conversation just doesn't come naturally to him.

He can be drawn with a bit of cajoling, but I don't hold out the same hope for you, OP. An audio book could be your saviour.

CrazyDuchess Sat 09-Jul-16 18:28:37

Is he actually rude?? If so then he needs pulling up but if he is just awkward... hmm not sure he can be punished for not making adequate small talk.

trafalgargal Sat 09-Jul-16 18:30:10

Audio books
Podcasts

Anything but silence

BonnieF Sat 09-Jul-16 18:33:42

Sounds to me like the guy could be autistic / aspie. As long as he isn't offensive, being crap at making small talk is hardly a disciplinary offence.

NoahVale Sat 09-Jul-16 18:33:52

He probably cant help it, spectrum or not.
or just painfully shy.

agree turn up the stereo

Idiotxit Sat 09-Jul-16 18:35:38

We are in remote Wales with no radio signal or at least signal that comes and goes or that would be the perfect option. For some reason he really puts me on edge

Listen to your instincts if 'on edge' means 'wary of' as in you don't feel comfortable around him in any other sense.

If he has ASD or is on the spectrum, then that's a different matter. I"m answering your OP and other comments without that knowledge.

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