Forgotten How to be Social at Work?

As the pandemic morphs into an endemic, many remote workers are being asked to return to the office — some are less excited about it than others. In this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine ask the question, “Have you forgotten how to be social at work?” If so, here’s what you can do about it.

Is Someone Getting on Your Last Nerve?

My husband was noticeably irritated with me last night. He said that I was “yawn talking.” Do you know what yawn talking is? It’s when you keep talking even as you yawn. Apparently, I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and it’s extremely annoying.

My initial reaction after being accused of “yawn talking,” was to strike back. If I do that, then he “burp talks.” But that isn’t really the point. The point is, we’ve been sheltering in place for too long, and we’re getting on each other’s nerves. Critical words, verbal tics, grating habits, and nonverbal gestures that we might normally have shrugged off are getting to us.

You may find yourself in a similar situation. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard numerous complaints from my clients about other people’s bad behavior. It could be a boss who is making more-than-usual unreasonable demands. A family member who is acting out. A coworker who is chronically late – even for Zoom meetings. Perhaps you have an upstairs neighbor who is playing loud music or moving furniture late at night.

None of these may be new behaviors, but they feel more irritating today. It’s the emotional by-product of extended captivity in the name of staying safe.

If your nerves are frayed, your temper is quick, and you feel overly reactive to the behavior of others, you are not alone. The question is, what can we do to calm our systems down?

Here are a few tips:

Shift your energy – I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Confined living creates pent up energy which needs to be released one way or another. Run, jog, dance, squirm, have a pillow fight, take a bath, step outside, take ten deep breaths. Do something to shift the energy and relax your system. The more rigorous the movement, the better the release.

Ask yourself, “how important is it?” – If someone criticizes you, interrupts you, ignores you, makes a sarcastic remark, or offends you in some way, try to pause and ask yourself if it’s worth getting upset about. Is this a matter of life or death? Is your welfare truly threatened by this person/event/remark?

Let someone talk you off of the ledge – Sometimes you may know that you are over-reacting but you can’t help yourself. At these times, it’s smart to call a trusted friend or confidante, voice your complaint, and let them calm you down.

Try to find the humor – This isn’t always easy, but it’s well worth the effort. I am forever grateful to those people who can find the humor in difficult moments. Laughter relaxes the nervous system and puts small problems in their proper perspective. If you can find what’s funny in a tense exchange, both parties will benefit.

There is no miracle cure for our frayed nerves at this time. We don’t know exactly when we will be less confined, more mobile, less fearful. While we do our best to manage our lives during the pandemic, let’s all commit to doing what we can to soothe our over-worked nerves.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

#33: When A Coworker Derails Your Plans – My Crazy Office, Season 4

Kathi and Katherine talk about sticking to your plan on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice about how to work with someone who is always changing the plan.

Then we discuss people who cannot stick to plans.

#39 – Anger Management: My Crazy Office, Season 3

Kathi and Katherine talk about anger management on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice about how to deal with a coworker that makes you lose your cool.

Then we discuss how to handle an employee that constantly loses their temper.

#38 – Challenging Coworkers: My Crazy Office, Season 3

Kathi and Katherine talk about challenging coworkers on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice about addressing a controlling workplace friend without hurting the friendship.

Then we discuss how to handle a coworker that constantly takes credit for your work.

Over Talkers: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 3

Kathi and Katherine talk about over talkers in the workplace on this episode of My Crazy Office Overtime.

An over talker can be your boss, your colleague or a client. This can be disruptive to your work productivity and simply quite frustrating. Listen for advice here.

Competing Against Extroverts – Live Show: My Crazy Office, Season 3

Kathi and Katherine answer questions from a live My Crazy Office podcast show.

First we give advice about how to handle aggressive coworkers.

Then we discuss how introverts can succeed in the workplace.

#28 – Managing A Team & A Bossy Coworker: My Crazy Office, Season 3

Kathi and Katherine talk about difficult management situations on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we give advice about how to manage a difficult team.

Then we discuss how to deal with a bossy coworker.