General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

How to deal with very negative coworker?

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Hey guys, this is probably going to be a (well-formatted!) wall of text. I don't even know if there is a solution. I partly want to vent, and on the off chance that someone knows how to deal with it, that's great.

Okay so background. I've worked with coworker for over 2 years. We only really got close enough to be friends this year. This guy is bipolar and unmedicated because he claims he can't afford it and refuses to believe the free clinic can help him. He's 30 and lives with his parents because he says he has to take care of them, they're also unmedicated and have a ton of problems, and he has two younger siblings who live in the house and don't help out.

We're also friends with another coworker. We all used to hang out together but lately it's just her and I doing everything. We try to get the male coworker to go out with us or to visit or just do anything with us and he always has some excuse about having to be home or his mom will freak out. So her and I feel bad that he's always in a bad mood, but it's like, we're doing what we can to try to take his mind off it, and I personally am almost out of patience. I feel like friendship needs to be a two-way street. I have anxiety and depression but I treat it, I don't let it affect my friendships.

So the problem now. Our work isn't particularly skilled, it's just rather boring. So the smartest thing to do is to talk to make time go faster. The problem comes into play when this male coworker has a bad day the night before and will just sulk and brood literally the entire work day. He'll put on his headphones and leave me with no one to talk to except my partner who barely speaks English. I love her, she's great, but we literally can't have a conversation unless it's about work since she's learned those English words out of necessity. Our other coworker friend works in a different part of the room so I can't talk to her.

We had our performance reviews last week. Our boss called out the male worker for his attitude affecting morale. He didn't agree with it. I told him personally that it made my day less fun when he's not around to talk to, but apparently it didn't sink in.

It's getting to the point where I want to talk to our supervisor about our friend's poor attitude. But I know if I say anything, he'll feel like I'm betraying him because he doesn't like our supervisor. I just don't know what to do. I like my job, but he makes the day go by so slowly when he's in a bad mood, which is 4/5 days. If this were any other coworker, I'd go to the supervisor, but him being a friend severely complicates it.

Anyone have any ideas for dealing with this extremely temperamental friend? Did I explain myself well? Please ask questions if I didn't make something clear, this is always swirling around in my head and I probably left out a few things to clarify it.

What's important: getting paid to support yourself, or dealing with this toxic person?

Well, you're there to work, not to be his shoulder to cry on. I'd just let him sulk and ignore him.

Are you allowed to bring your own headphones? That might entertain you. Personally, I'd try to get the foreign coworker to teach me her language, whatever that is. I'd try to learn new phrases and how to pronounce things.

I'd start bringing headphones, take up a podcast or two, and not worry about him.

I have a little insight into being friends with someone who is untreated bipolar but it is beyond the scope of this forum and only offers you my knowledge of what friendship with her was like. I will tell you this though, having been in the workforce for many years it is best to keep your distance from anyone who is "in the radar" of management so to speak. Your job is made better by talking with your coworkers but it is not PART of your job. You need to find other ways to make your job satisfying for you without leaning on somebody else. I would suggest playing your own music on your iPhones or whatever and chatting with others when you can- walk away from this guy if you cannot run. He is not good for you and you cannot offer him any help until he wants it.


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