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What to say to unreasonable (I think) colleague?

(59 Posts)
Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 16:46:57

I work with someone who "kicks off" at another slightly annoying colleague every now and again, he's a bit of a stickler for the rules and she is a very loud, bubbly, friendly type who is lovely most of the time but shouts and swears in an unpleasant way if someone crosses her. Anyway, this happened the other day, I usually try to keep out of it and stay quiet but she was particularly unreasonable and stormed out, then he left then she came back and started ranting at me about him and I said, "oh, its fine" just trying to say "calm down" without saying it, then she started shouting at me, I said "don't shout at me!" and she just kicked off again, I told her I didn't want to hear it all again as I was sick of hearing their arguments and she shouted then stormed out. We didn't speak for the rest of the day. I have to work with her this week and I don't know what to do. Its ruined my weekend. I thought she'd apologise.
Should I text her? I really don't like a bad atmosphere and conflict. We have been pretty good friends until now!

SmallBee Sun 06-Mar-16 16:50:39

I don't really think there is anything you can say to a grown woman who has Tantrums is there?
I'd find someone like this very difficult to deal with though as I don't like 'drama llama' types and tend to avoid them. If I were in your shoes I'd be distancing myself from her but I accept thats not easy as you work together.

Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 16:57:10

Thanks for replying. Its just such a shame as we get on well and whilst I never agree with her shouting at our colleague I kind of see her point, but she needs to know you can't treat people like that. I am just dreading work. I always give her a lift too. sad

Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 16:58:41

I'm hoping she feels bad but I have a feeling she feels wronged that I'm not on her side so is pissed off with me.

sleeponeday Sun 06-Mar-16 17:24:21

Bluntly, she sounds like a bully. She is picking on those whose social skills are below her own, because she is annoyed by them? In the workplace? Does she imagine they have a choice about their social adeptness or otherwise? She's the one throwing strops at people for no real reason, and in fact in that setting there can be no reason nor excuse for that level of aggression, can there.

Sounds to me as though you are someone she regards as lower than herself in the pecking order, too. I doubt she throws tantrums at her manager, does she? So I'm afraid you are now reaping the whirlwind, too. You say she kicks off at people, but then characterise that as "their arguments". That isn't arguing. It's workplace bullying, and she should be facing formal disciplinary proceedings for creating a hostile workplace environment.

sleeponeday Sun 06-Mar-16 17:24:55

Are HR aware of her conduct?

Fishface77 Sun 06-Mar-16 17:25:56

Text her an apology.
Text her "sorry your a tantrumming twat".
Yanbu sounds like bullying to me!

PotteringAlong Sun 06-Mar-16 17:30:19

Don't apologise. Put a formal complaint in instead

Clarissa69 Sun 06-Mar-16 17:34:02

Do not apologise! Her behaviour is completely unacceptable at work. I would speak to your HR and flag it up as an issue at this stage and make sure you wrote down exactly what happened and keep a record. Don't put in a formal complaint right now but like I said, flag it with her manager or HR.
Don't let this ruin your day - she sounds like she needs help.

SmallBee Sun 06-Mar-16 17:38:15

I think if you really want to text her I'd say something like:

I'm sorry you were so upset the other day. Shouting, swearing and fighting make me feel uncomfortable and I don't like being part of it. Just because I didn't join in it doesn't mean I was taking sides so I hope you don't think I did. I understand you and Male Colleague have your own way of dealing with disagreements but in future I'd rather be left out of it as I find it really stressful and upsetting. I really like being friends with you and hope we can keep being close.

Katenka Sun 06-Mar-16 17:42:02

If someone tried bringing me into their bullying then shouted at me because I wouldn't join in. I would be filing a complaint. About all of it.

Not thinking about apologising.

SilverBirchWithout Sun 06-Mar-16 18:03:35

I used to have someone who I considered was a good friend and a work colleague who behaved like this. She was a fun and likeable person, but foul temper if she thought someone was either critising or disagreeing with her. She thrived on the drama, whilst I like to work in a friendly and supportive environment.

Over the years I gradually came to realise that she was actually a bully and she got away with often appalling behaviour because people avoided anything that would cause a confrontation.

I eventually got on the wrong side of her and became yet another one of her victims. I ended up having to leave a job I loved because I could no longer face the daily treading on eggshells to avoid an argument.

Whatever you do (unless you agree with her all the time ) you will end up in the wrong. Try to distance yourself from her rages. I think it would be sensible to talk to a more senior member of staff about your concerns.

sleeponeday Sun 06-Mar-16 18:04:15

Agree with Katenka. And I would not be texting someone who bullied someone else, characterising that conduct as "their own way of sorting things out", either. OP says he is annoying - not that he kicks off at anyone.

Fishface77 Sun 06-Mar-16 19:37:34

Sorry when I said apologise I was being sarcy! Doesn't translate well on a message blush.
Op like others have said, she is a bully and needs to be called in it properly.

Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 19:51:50

Small bee, thank you so much! That is so diplomatic and I will probably text just what you suggest. I agree her behaviour is unacceptable, but yes, I think she may have done this once to our line manager, who is incredibly calm luckily. The male colleague reported it to him too.

Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 19:54:13

Thanks for all your advice, I just needed those points of view. Its just so rubbish as we are (were) friends!

SmallBee Sun 06-Mar-16 20:08:07

Happy to help but I still agree that she is a bully and if I were in your shoes I'd be avoiding, disengaging and maybe reporting to hr.

Tanyaaah Sun 06-Mar-16 20:15:49

I think she just can't control her anger, or doesn't want to. Maybe she is used to this way of dealing with things. She is always loud and over the top. But, its definitely not on.

sleeponeday Sun 06-Mar-16 20:17:06

I would leave out any line implicating her victim in her aggression, tbh. He may be annoying as all get-out, but if you imply in any way that he behaves as she does, then she can potentially use that to claim victimisation if they take it further. Same with the reference to taking sides, I think. If she is behaving as she is, and you talk about "their own way of sorting it" and how you don't want to take sides, the effect is that they have mutual shouting matches and neither of them is any better than the other. This is not the impression of the OP. Please say, "I know you find him really annoying but the shouting etc makes me uncomfortable" - please. She is victimising him, and however annoying someone may be, nobody deserves to feel unsafe at work.

sleeponeday Sun 06-Mar-16 20:19:33

Happy to help but I still agree that she is a bully and if I were in your shoes I'd be avoiding, disengaging and maybe reporting to hr.

Absolutely, especially if there is already very probably a file on it.

She could seriously harm someone. I am sure the guy is intensely annoying, but that should be managed correctly by a senior. It doesn't mean he deserves to be attacked as she is doing. Nobody does.

SmallBee Sun 06-Mar-16 20:23:17

What sleep said, that's much better!

MadamDeathstare Sun 06-Mar-16 20:28:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StillYummy Sun 06-Mar-16 20:32:12

If you don't hear from I'm her, then assume she has found another lift.

kawliga Sun 06-Mar-16 20:35:21

I agree with not texting her. She is not 2 years old. This is not a difference of opinion or misunderstanding. She had a full blown tantrum! Wasn't her first, won't be her last. If you try and talk to her just like you would with a normal disagreement/misunderstanding she will just continue tantruming.

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sun 06-Mar-16 20:39:13

She sounds horrible.

Hope you can avoid giving her a lift.

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