Picture this: You’re on your usual quiet morning. It’s 10AM, and you’re already either busy with work or still ogling over the latest news on the internet.
Then in comes one of your workmates. There’s a distance between you and the office entrance, but you’re sure that workmate has arrived because she just greeted the office security with a “Good morning!” at the top of her voice, which reminds you of the same amount of cheer a preschool teacher greets five year olds. Workmate does this to everyone she passes by on her way to her desk — you included, except after she greets you, she lingers by your desk for some chit-chat about her commute to work this morning — every morning, and why she came in late today — and every day. She engages you in a conversation, which you accept out of courtesy because you just don’t have it in you to burst her bubble this early in the day.
Somehow that conversation ends, and she heads on to her desk greeting more people before she finally takes a seat. You, on the other hand, continue on with work (or your browsing), thinking you’re done with her chattiness for now, knowing fully well though, that the day has just begun, and the worst is yet to come.
Sometime in the day, not long after your first encounter, while you have your nose buried in all the paper work, a weird feeling of someone or something hovering over interrupts you. So you slowly, cautiously lift your head to see — there she is, trying to keep herself from giggling — almost as though hovering over you just as you suspected. This creeps you out, and you let her know, but she doesn’t care because she goes on engaging you again on yet another senseless conversation. The conversations are fine, you can probably look past that. Probably. But it’s more than the conversations, it’s the time both of you spend on it; it’s her loud voice —the kind that even her whispers sound like it’s coming from a megaphone; and it’s the animated way she tells her stories — complete with body gestures, yes, body gestures with her arms flying all over the place. It’s a whole show, and it’s a show she enjoys performing in.
This annoys you because although you’re an outgoing person and enjoy the once in a while mingling and socializing, you do value your ‘alone time’. And when it calls for that, you need people to understand, know, recognize, and acknowledge personal boundaries. This one particular workmate though is not capable of that, you feel. You’re tempted, every single time she comes to you, to tell her to back off or at least take a step back, but you don’t because you know it will offend her — terribly.
It’s quite a pickle you’re in, huh? This is your reality every day, at least at work, or when that particular workmate is around.
Your workmate oddly reminds you of a cartoon squirrel. The kind with two large front teeth, always munching on a nut, always lurking around, always with a seemingly crazy annoying smile on her face. And like a cartoon squirrel, oddly too, and admittedly, workmate’s demeanour annoys the heck out of you, but not in the way that would make you want to throw a shoe at her at every single encounter. She’s annoying, but not that annoying.
If you were both cartoon characters, workmate would be Dee-Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory, and you would be Daria (or if Daria’s too much, maybe Eeyore). You’re not just from different cartoons series, but you also do not (and should never be) in the same one. You’re just too opposite; and no, unlike what Paula Adbul believes in, opposites do not always attract.
Actually, come to think of it, in your case, opposites do attract because why else would workmate always ‘squirrel around’ you in the first place, right?
Point is, things — your work world (at least between you and workmate) would be a much better place if workmate just knew where to draw the line and actually acknowledge it.
That, or if you just had more patience in you than you have now. More patience to understand that not everyone’s as introverted as you are. And some people, like workmate, are just naturally harmless squirrels.