I had a situation recently when someone who found me online asked me for advice but then refused to take it and yet kept asking for more advice and opinion. I will not be giving details here as it would be too long and confusing, I will only say that it was about how to be professional at work. The person who was asking claimed to be 49, so 5 years older than me but seemed to be totally clueless. She didn’t understand, for example, why sometimes it’s better to agree with your manager in order to avoid unnecessary problems.
Finally I didn’t answer her message and then, a few hours later she asked if I’m fed up with her already.
Something in me screamed to say ‘yes I am; you keep asking those idiotic questions that you should be able to answer yourself ages ago. If you keep behaving this way don’t blame anyone for the problems you are having’.
And yet, I didn’t. Instead I initially said that possibly she should ask somebody else. She was Polish, like me, so I said ask another British person or two and listen to their opinions as it will be more valuable than mine.
For that she presented me with yet another workplace problem.
I’m sorry, I am not prepared to continue this conversation, I said. I have my own problems that I’m unable to solve at the moment; therefore I do not feel like I have the energy to support somebody else. I wish you all the best though.
I was very impressed with my communication skills after I post this response. Finding the right words wasn’t difficult at all; what was difficult was to make the decision to be diplomatic rather than abrupt and direct. It will be two years soon since I have this blog and yet, making the decision to be diplomatic was still a challenge for me.
I hope the next time, when something similar happens, it will be more automatic. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
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