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Workplace Don'ts: 10 Sure Ways to Annoy Coworkers

written by: Krima Olive Molina•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 10/3/2010

Are your coworkers secretly tugging at their hair in sheer desperation to obliterate your presence in the office? Your seemingly innocent, sweet talks with absolutely everyone in the room or your "thoughtful" gestures might be doing more harm than good to your reputation.

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    Maintaining good relations with coworkers is a trick that requires you to possess a great deal of sensitivity and perfect sense of timing. What is allowable and tolerable for you may already be heating up bad steam among your colleagues. From now on, immortalize these list of ways to annoy coworkers in your head. Swear with your life you won't be committing the following mortals sins in the office.

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    1. TMI

    You burst into the office door and launch into a nonstop gabfest about why you clocked in late ("I had a very upset stomach because of all the drinking I did last night!") or why your day will be absolutely hellish ("My toothache is getting worse. I guess I should have gotten that root canal therapy early on."). Well, guess what? Too much information is always too much. Nobody wants to hear the blow-by-blow accounts of your smelly and gory escapades. Save those details for your personal journal sessions.

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    2. Drama Overload

    So you and your honey broke up. Yes, that's ugly. You need someone--anyone--to talk to about how depressed/devastated/suicidal you are. But if the breakup happened, say, months ago (read: eons), only your dog will be able to listen to you with unparalleled patience. Thinking about initiating another cryfest even to your closest coworker? Forget it. It's time you pick up the broken pieces of your heart, get up, dust yourself off, and divert all that negative energy into beating your long overdue deadlines furiously.

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    3. Office Mom

    Do you often catch yourself stopping other people midway into gobbling their 5th brownie? Are you known to visit each cubicle and offer to help fix the pathetic piles of documents on your colleagues' tables? Congratulations, you have just turned into an office mother, automatically earning you an "Avoid At All Costs" stamp right smack in the middle of your forehead. While your efforts may be sincere and pure, morphing into everyone's office mom may be too much of an intrusion to their personal preferences.

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    4. Office Hero

    The photocopy machine just broke down? You're immediately there, tinkering with the insides of the machine. Your colleague doesn't know the format of the new report to be submitted ASAP? You're beside him at once, doing this table and that worksheet. Your coworker's shirt button snapped? You show up with a million multicolored set of buttons. Your colleague's fly accidentally zipped open? You call his attention to the boo-boo in--gasp!--public and offer to zip it up for him. Two words: YOU'RE BLACKLISTED.

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    5. Office Spokesperson

    In a meeting, your boss raises a question addressed to your seatmate (who is also the project head) about the logistics of a project. And what do you know--you have a ready answer! Your hand quickly shoots up and you start explaining the venue and parking reservations, leaving your seatmate's jaw dropped. Doing this is dangerously bordering between being helpful and a recognition grabber. Do this for every issue that involves everyone else but you and you're sure to walk into the office one morning with only you talking to yourself.

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    6. Office Perfectionist

    You head a tasking meeting (to everyone's horror) and you immediately present your very own Gantt chart which you made prior to the brainstorming meeting. You then delegate tasks without hearing from everyone. During monitoring meetings, you shut off your colleagues' opinions because you've got it all covered. You don't want to stress them out anymore, so you make them follow your carefully drafted plan. Your PR rating: EPIC FAIL.

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    7. Office Beggar

    You get a taste of everyone's lunches, ask for a bundle from everyone's stationaries, and regularly "borrow" instant coffee packs which you never pay back. It may be your way of forging strong bonds with your officemates--after all, you do that all the time with your siblings. Reality check: You are not at home. And your coworkers are not your siblings. If your very own family members get irritated by your constant begging for anything, imagine the tortures your colleagues (which are not related to you in any way) are already doing to you in their very vivid, morbid thoughts.

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    8. Office Counselor

    You notice that a colleague that you barely know is frowning. You go up to her and ask her what the problem is. She shrugs and says she's okay. Still, your instincts tell you that something is really wrong, so you nudge her a little more to open up to you. After all, you just want to help make her feel better. Do this to everyone who is frowning and looking anxious, and you wouldn't like the results. At all.

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    9. Office Saint

    Smiling and letting an erring colleague's fault pass is admirable. But when you still flash a friendly smile, chirp an enthusiastic "YES!" to every unfair task delegation of the boss, or offer a forgiving hand to a ten-time failing coworker, expect to find the others withdraw to their cubicles and swivel chairs whenever you pass by.

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    10. Office Representative Complainant

    Sure, you and and your colleagues have a couple of things to say about some inconsistencies in office management. You talk about these complaints among yourselves. In your desire to be proactive and results-oriented, you march up to your boss and enumerate all your colleagues' names with their corresponding complaints. Suddenly, your colleagues are asked to report to the big boss one by one. Once your coworkers return and flash you a strange glance, get up and march--not to your boss--but out of the office and out of the building, never to return.

Office Survival Tips

Here is a list of articles to help you find your way around office relations, good work ethics, work stress, and coworker habits you need to imbibe--and get rid of.
  1. 10 Great Strategies for Getting Along with Coworkers
  2. Workplace Don'ts: 10 Sure Ways to Annoy Coworkers
  3. Examples of Good Work Ethics
  4. Consequences of Work Stress
  5. How to Introduce Yourself as a New Employee