Author Topic: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?  (Read 3861 times)

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Amanita

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How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« on: March 18, 2013, 02:11:57 PM »
I work as a night security guard at an apartment building, and one tenant is seriously starting to annoy me. (Note, it's not the same person as I mentioned before, who made offensive and racist comments)

When I'm at work, I like to set up my office desk in a certain way. The area right in front of me is where whatever I'm using right at the moment goes. Food I'm eating, reports I'm writing, or my sketchbooks or reading material. Books or other things I'm not using tend to get pushed over to my left side, within easy reach.

This person comes into my office, and ALWAYS needs to comment on how I have my desk set up. "Oh, there's whatever book again, you always have it, it's always on that side".

I'm finding the constant commentary quite annoying. He always feels the need to point it out every single time he's in my office. Normally this would just be annoying, but this individual has a reputation as a crank, and I wonder just what his motivation is for the constant comments.

Now, before anyone gets into this, we guards are allowed to read/write/sketch in between rounds. As long as we're not using laptops, DVD players, or electronics, we can do things to pass the time between walk-arounds. And our choice of reading material is left to our own discretion, as long as it's not in the vein of porn or hate literature. And I've got an active mind- I can't abide enforced boredom- staring at an empty desk or wall until it's time to walk around, or something happens that requires my attention. So reading, writing, or sketching is good- it keeps me awake and alert, helps time go by, and keeps my mind from turning on itself with brooding and the like.

So is there an E-Hell approved way to ask this person why he needs to make the same comments every time he comes into my office, or ask that the comments stop?

alkira6

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 02:18:29 PM »
"Yes, so you've said repeatedly." With a nice but rather blank and unfocused half smile directed at his left ear.

Kind of makes them uncomfortable enough to scoot along, but nothing that is in iteself rude.

Luci

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 02:22:57 PM »
Just ignore the comment and ask him to have a nice evening or whatever you do in ordinary courtesy passing encounters.

I had a few intermediate school age kids that couldn't help but comment on the way I piled books, what I was wearing, etc. I just never responded to the comments after the first couple of times they were repeated and all went well. There is a clerk at a store I frequent who used to do something similar - she still does with other customers - but it works with her. I am always pleasant.

I think it is their version of trying to make small talk (which I hate) more personal.

"Yes, so you've said repeatedly." With a nice but rather blank and unfocused half smile directed at his left ear.

Kind of makes them uncomfortable enough to scoot along, but nothing that is in iteself rude.

I think that is a little harsh, but I might resort to that after a few tries with my method.

alkira6

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 02:37:05 PM »
Just ignore the comment and ask him to have a nice evening or whatever you do in ordinary courtesy passing encounters.

I had a few intermediate school age kids that couldn't help but comment on the way I piled books, what I was wearing, etc. I just never responded to the comments after the first couple of times they were repeated and all went well. There is a clerk at a store I frequent who used to do something similar - she still does with other customers - but it works with her. I am always pleasant.

I think it is their version of trying to make small talk (which I hate) more personal.

"Yes, so you've said repeatedly." With a nice but rather blank and unfocused half smile directed at his left ear.

Kind of makes them uncomfortable enough to scoot along, but nothing that is in iteself rude.

I think that is a little harsh, but I might resort to that after a few tries with my method.

Fair enough  ;)  I tend to veer on the harsh side if unchecked, so all's well.

Oh Joy

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 02:51:04 PM »
...
So is there an E-Hell approved way to ask this person why he needs to make the same comments every time he comes into my office, or ask that the comments stop?

How would you respond if the topic weren't related to you?  If his schtick was to always comment on the weather/gas prices/the arrangement of magazines in the lobby?

lowspark

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 02:54:23 PM »
I'd probably just smile and ask if there was anything he needed help with.

For some reason this reminds me of the guy on Saturday Night Live who sits by the copier and narrates everyone's actions as they come to make copies.

Amanita

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 02:58:53 PM »


How would you respond if the topic weren't related to you?  If his schtick was to always comment on the weather/gas prices/the arrangement of magazines in the lobby?

Well, given this person's reputation, I'm a little concerned that he's going to start spreading gossip about me, that I'm OCD or something.

Yvaine

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 03:05:32 PM »


How would you respond if the topic weren't related to you?  If his schtick was to always comment on the weather/gas prices/the arrangement of magazines in the lobby?

Well, given this person's reputation, I'm a little concerned that he's going to start spreading gossip about me, that I'm OCD or something.

I doubt it. I think he's just one of those bores who checks out in a store and says "If it doesn't scan, it's free" every time he goes there.

Winterlight

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 03:30:08 PM »
"So you keep saying."
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Coralreef

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 04:19:00 PM »
If he comes at specific times, just hide everything that's on the desk before he shows up.  Or come in with some completely unrelated things every time - action figures, legos, Rubik's cube  >:D .  At least it won't be the same comments over and over. 

[/right

bopper

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 09:41:17 AM »

This person comes into my office, and ALWAYS needs to comment on how I have my desk set up. "Oh, there's whatever book again, you always have it, it's always on that side".

I'm finding the constant commentary quite annoying. He always feels the need to point it out every single time he's in my office. Normally this would just be annoying, but this individual has a reputation as a crank, and I wonder just what his motivation is for the constant comments.



There is no motivation. He is a crank. Some how he has associated OP and BOOK and needs to comment.
My GMIL says that my daughter looks like her mom every time we see her.  At first we were annoyed. Now we wait for it.

So make it into a game.  See what responses you can use and see if you can get any different responses from him.

"Indeed."
"I am right handed so that works best."
"So you have said."
"It certainly is."
"Yup."
"Si, Senor."
"Still haven't finished it."

You don't want to be snarky or weird, though.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 09:50:01 AM »
I like the idea of making a game of it.

I'd start intentionally moving the book to odd places, or bringing in some really random books and placing in that spot.

Or bring in a second copy and the next time he remarks on it say "I've noticed you always comment on this particular book and I thought you might be hinting you'd like a copy of it. Here you go."

artk2002

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 11:31:34 AM »
Well, given this person's reputation, I'm a little concerned that he's going to start spreading gossip about me, that I'm OCD or something.

A couple of things. First, I love the irony that you're afraid that this guy is spreading gossip that your OCD -- when he compulsively makes the same comments every time he sees you.

Second, stop caring what gossip he might spread. By being afraid of the gossip, you're giving him control over yourself. Given your description of your job, I doubt if the people whose opinions matter (i.e. management and the customer) care if you're compulsive or not. Personally, I would want a bit of compulsiveness in a security guard -- it's a trait that could help one recognize when things aren't the way that they should be. If management comes to you saying "we've heard from TheCrank that you're OCD," you can easily spin it as a positive thing.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Amanita

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 04:36:43 PM »
Yeah, this guy does have a reputation for being something of a nut. Unfortunately he can also be a very persistent nut when he thinks something is going on.

Danika

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Re: How to stop repetitive/unnecessary comments?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 02:14:59 AM »
For some reason this reminds me of the guy on Saturday Night Live who sits by the copier and narrates everyone's actions as they come to make copies.

I love this! It does seem like this guy is just trying to make conversation or rattle your cage (if you've heard he's a gossip). I agree with the PPs who say to have some fun with it.


So make it into a game.  See what responses you can use and see if you can get any different responses from him.

"Indeed."
"I am right handed so that works best."
"So you have said."
"It certainly is."
"Yup."
"Si, Senor."
"Still haven't finished it."


I especially like the one I bolded. I'd find a few different languages and translate "yes, sir" into those languages. Each time, try a different one. Si, señor. Oui, monsieur. Jawohl, Herr." And then smile as you say it, so he's not sure if you're being friendly or what's going on. But he'll know he didn't get to you. If he's just trying to be chatty, then those are chatty responses. If he's trying to anger you, he knows he doesn't succeed.

Or, cover every book you get with a brown paper bag cover, so it always looks like the same book and he has nothing to comment on.