Telltale Signs You’re Being Annoying At Work

This anonymous letter reveals signals co-workers send when they view you as irritating.

Telltale Signs You’re Being Annoying At Work

By Mark Swartz


Dear Annoying,

You probably won’t read this. Not because you don’t need help (hint: you do!). It’s that you’re so darned unaware of how bothersome you are.

In part that’s what makes you such an irritant. Most of us here won’t tell you this directly. I mean, who wants more workplace conflict? But your many grating behaviours are over the top.

Please, please start noticing the signs. Your actions aren’t appreciated. Haven’t you sensed what’s behind the way we treat you?


  • We ‘Forget’ To Include You In Important Matters

Sorry we didn’t copy you on that vital memo. And it was unintentional you were left off the attendee list for yesterday’s big meeting. Next time we don’t remember something else, do take the hint.


  • We Criticize Your Ideas Publicly

That was a great concept you presented at the session this morning. Hope you took our criticism constructively. We’d have warned you about our concerns in advance, but we wanted to show that you’re vulnerable.


  • We Don’t Invite You To Social Gatherings

What, you didn’t know we were all going out for drinks last night? Sure did have a blast. We left you out deliberately because you’re such a nuisance to work with. Look, you don’t need to morph into a pliant office sweetheart. Just be less of a pest.


  • We Celebrate Your Failures

You really should have been chosen for that huge promotion. Also the raise, transfer, bonus etc. When you didn’t get them we were secretly delighted. Confidentially, you’ve shown us how to be a star at work. We can’t let this on though or they’ll reward you with even more power.  


  • We Tip Toe Around You

Have you picked up yet on how we never confront you directly? None of us ever goes against you one on one. You either frighten us or make it so difficult to be honest we’d just as soon pretend everything’s fine. You likely believe it’s because we all respect you.


  • We Make An Effort To Minimize Your Profile

Do you know why we don’t give you roles with higher visibility? Or why you rarely appear in our company newsletter and intranet articles? It’s to try and suppress your profile. The less attention you get, the less we have to worry you’ll be employed here for the long-term.


  • We Turn Down Opportunities To Work With You

If you were less annoying, we’d be more inclined to come work for you. Or join you when you lead a major project. Even having our workstation next to you is something we dodge. Help us not reach a point of when your co-workers hate you.


  • We Treat You Professionally, But Not Warmly

Whenever we send you one of these signs, we do so in ways that won’t backfire on us. That’s why we’ll always interact with you in a courteous, professional manner. This way we won’t get criticized. The shame is that we’ll never treat you as warmly, or go out of our way to help you, as we would with others.


Kindly Change Your Ways

On behalf of all of us, Annoying, we’re wishing you’ll develop more self-awareness. Stop taking credit for our work. Don’t make every request urgent. Keep your voice down when making personal calls. Brag less.


I’d go on (and on) but the point is clear. We don’t despise you. No. In fact our real hope is that you can mend your ways and become a more likeable colleague