Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: AreaWoman on April 16, 2013, 03:58:43 PM

Title: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: AreaWoman on April 16, 2013, 03:58:43 PM
That title was harsher than I intended...

Let me start by saying that I have really and truly lovely coworkers.  I am also in the latter stages of my first pregnancy at a slightly advanced age and am having a number of issues.  Because folks can see me hobbling down the hall (mostly to get water, because I'm so darn thirsty!), I get a cascade of "are you alright, are you okay, need anything," etc.  Because I get up about once an hour, I'm really tired of it.  I also need to walk around to help with some of my issues.  Frankly, I'm trying not to think about my issues and would really prefer if folks just left me alone.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

As an aside, I was also the OP on the refusing the baby shower thread -- it sorted itself out well, as a coworker who is also pregnant had a baby shower and folks were pleased with that.  Word got around through a trusted coworker that baby showers are "not my thing," which everyone understood.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Seiryuu on April 16, 2013, 04:21:25 PM
Have you tried something along the lines of "I appreciate your concern but I can take care of myself. If I need help I'll ask?"
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Deetee on April 16, 2013, 04:41:58 PM
First I have to say I sympathise. I delayed telling anyone at work about my first pregnancy for that sort of reason. In fact I delayed so long people started to ask if I was.

I also sympathise because I know it gets worse as you get more pregnant. I just had my second kid so I can vividly remember this.

So I suggest a two fold approach. Acceptance and minimization. First just realize that no matter what you di or say or look like some people will comment. It might not be polite or wanted but it will happen.
The other is decrease concern by rarely mentioning your pregnancy and when you do keep it very superficial and positive and then changing the subject.
" it's all going well. I'm bit tired but that's normal. How was your weekend?"
Or
" doctor says it's all good. Let's look over these reports"
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: EllenS on April 16, 2013, 04:54:46 PM
I second with "accept and redirect." 

If you are actually up and moving at the time of this approach, I recommend the perky voice - don't stop moving, just chirp something like, "Doctor's orders, gotta walk around!"  or "Hydrating, thanks!"

Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: TootsNYC on April 16, 2013, 08:28:21 PM
Smack your forehead, and say, "Holy Toledo, do you know how many times people ask me this? I'm just pregnant, I'm not going to die this very moment!"

No, maybe not.

But I think I would start saying the very same thing in a slightly less dramatic way.
"I know you're trying to be nice, but since everybody does it, all the time, it's actually really unpleasant for me. Please stop."

And use that trusted coworker to help get word around about THIS! She did such a nice job with the earlier project, I'm sure she'd do a good job with this.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 16, 2013, 08:49:34 PM
That title was harsher than I intended...

Let me start by saying that I have really and truly lovely coworkers.  I am also in the latter stages of my first pregnancy at a slightly advanced age and am having a number of issues.  Because folks can see me hobbling down the hall (mostly to get water, because I'm so darn thirsty!), I get a cascade of "are you alright, are you okay, need anything," etc.  Because I get up about once an hour, I'm really tired of it.  I also need to walk around to help with some of my issues.  Frankly, I'm trying not to think about my issues and would really prefer if folks just left me alone.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

As an aside, I was also the OP on the refusing the baby shower thread -- it sorted itself out well, as a coworker who is also pregnant had a baby shower and folks were pleased with that.  Word got around through a trusted coworker that baby showers are "not my thing," which everyone understood.

Is it practical for you to keep a bottle of water at your desk?
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: DottyG on April 16, 2013, 09:03:03 PM
I would think she'd need to get up to get rid of that water as well. ;) Even if she kept a bottle at her desk.

Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Raintree on April 16, 2013, 09:55:27 PM
I think people need to get up at least once an hour regardless. Prolonged sitting is really bad for your back.

Sorry, that doesn't really address the question. How about, "I know you mean well, but please....I am just fine, and all this concern really just adds to my stress. I promise you I will let you know if I need help."
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Bluenomi on April 16, 2013, 10:15:17 PM
Alas it is always going to happen when you are pregnant and have decent coworkers. I know I spend months with people concerned about me because they are just kind people who were concerned and worried even if there wasn't anything to worry about.

I just cheerily declined assistance when I didn't need it but accepted when I did and figured it was part and parcel of being pregnant in the workplace. It did ease off a bit when it became clear I asked for help when needed so they worked out if I said I was ok I actually was
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: GreenBird on April 16, 2013, 11:26:46 PM
I like the idea of saying, "Actually, I just need to walk around a little every hour".  Hopefully people will figure out that walking around is going to be a regular occurrence and they don't need to be alarmed.  As I type that it sounds a little silly - of course walking around is normal!  But maybe if people understand that walking around every hour is your goal, they won't feel so obligated to jump up to ask if they can get something for you. 

Another thing to try would be to offer to help them because you're up, maybe saying "I'm refilling my water - do you want anything?"  That might help them understand that you're up because you want to be and not because there's a problem.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Luci on April 16, 2013, 11:52:16 PM
A perky "fine, thanks" is all you need. It is too exhausting to go into explanations.
 
And be grateful in your heart that people care and will be there if you really do need them. Please remember how you feel now so that when you are with others in similar situations that you can be quick with offering help and gracious with a fast rejection.

I've been in all three situations. People are good. Just be polite. (Looking like I need help, really needing help, and offering help are the three situations.)
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: JoieGirl7 on April 17, 2013, 02:26:27 AM
"Oh please don't fuss over me.  I'm fine!  Actually, I'd appreciate it if you all would not bring so much attention to me every time I get up.  I know you do it because you care, but it makes me feel a bit self-conscious.  If I really need help, I know I can depend on you all!"
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: bopper on April 17, 2013, 08:25:26 AM
First of all remember they are just caring about you. This is all good.

But, You just need to train them.
"I am doing well!  Don't mind me walking around, I find it helps with all the aches and pains.  If I need any help I will let you know! You all are so sweet."

Then make a sign for your desk that says;

OP FAQ:
Due Date:  May 14
Boy or Girl?  Don't know yet/Boy/Girl
Names? Fred and Wilma
:-)
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: *inviteseller on April 17, 2013, 09:14:05 AM
I had my DD at a more mature age also and my co workers were well meaning but they.drove.me.nuts !  And the later stages of pregnancy was the worst because you are already irritated but remember, they do mean well.  As a previous poster said, I also waited till it was starting becoming obvious, especially because there was only 8 of us at the time and I was doing some dietary changes that were not usual for me.  I just told them if I needed anything, I would ask and that my Dr. told me to keep doing everything I could until I couldn't.  In my case, I think they were just scared I would have the baby right there because with my first DD, it was 45 minutes between what felt like indigestion to her actual birth!  Good luck and hang in there because when I came back to work, all that concern went away  ::)
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 17, 2013, 01:50:01 PM
Just taking Junior for a walk/drink!  Thanks.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: Deetee on April 17, 2013, 02:24:28 PM
I also found it helped to mention that it's nice to keep your mind off the pregnancy. I remember meeting with a friend and she apologised after an hour that she hadn't asked and I reassured her that it was nice to not think about for a while. ( by then I was tired and achy and walking more than a block was difficult). Thinking about something other than my own feebleness was welcome. And after that she only made passing mentions to my state and occasionally brought me extra snacks.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely) -- Update P2
Post by: AreaWoman on April 17, 2013, 07:23:46 PM
A quick update:

I really appreciate the kind words and comments.  I think a big part of the problem is that I have looked absolutely awful the last several days, which I only realized because one or two more senior people said something to me today.  I have also been really grumpy but had been trying hard not to show it or take it out on anyone (which is probably why I looked so bad, too).  I am feeling better today for various reasons, so I have not had nearly as many comments or offers of help.  So, I will keep up with moving around/hydrating and will try to give a general "I'm fine, thanks for asking!" kind of response.  And I will certainly be thankful for my wonderful coworkers.
Title: Re: Asking Coworkers to Leave Me Alone (Politely)
Post by: EllenS on April 17, 2013, 08:07:38 PM
Glad you're feeling better and best wishes for you & baby!