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How to Set Boundaries with a Talkative Colleague 

Learn how to set boundaries with a talkative colleague.

Step by step guide on how to set boundaries with a talkative colleague.

Chatting with your coworker builds rapport, which strengthens your relationship and can help you collaborate more effectively (and more comfortable asking for professional advice).

It can make your workplace more welcoming and friendly, and it may even save your job.

As vaccinations become available in certain areas, some workplaces in the United States and other countries are slowly reopening.

While many workers are have now accustom to working from home, a recent study discovered that many others want to return to the office.

It’s likely that you and your coworkers have a lot of catching up to do after more than a year of working remotely.

You’ll need to set workplace boundaries if the chit-chat starts to affect your focus and productivity.

How do you deal with talkative coworkers?

Maintaining work relationships is an important aspect of any workplace.

Positive interactions with coworkers have been linked to increased work productivity, increased interpersonal trust, a stronger support system, and lower job-related stress, according to studies.

Clearly, there are advantages to socializing at work, but establishing boundaries for talkative coworkers is also an important part of the relationship-building process.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some workplace social etiquette tips.

Define your boundaries

You can set an intangible boundary with timing. For example, you might decide to devote the first two hours of your day to uninterrupted focus time.

Some boundaries are situational, such as when small talk dominates one-on-one meetings with a coworker to the point where you no longer value that time.

Assume you’ve informed your colleague that you’ll be leaving at the top of the hour. As you get close to the 45-minute mark in your meeting, make a note of it and start summarizing.

“I only have 15 minutes left to talk,” for example. Let’s shift our focus to the next steps with the time we have left.

Avoid sending messages that are unclear or contradictory

When it comes to setting boundaries for social conversations, consistency is crucial.

If you’ve set the expectation that your cubicle is your personal space for hyper-focus work.But you interrupt others at their desks to socialize, you’re sending conflicting messages.

Another way you might inadvertently encourage unnecessary chit-chat is by being vague about your boundaries.

Recognize and reroute

Workplace social chatter can take many forms. It can be an individual offender or a group of people who become engrossed in casual conversations.

Whatever the situation, a good tip is to acknowledge the chit-chat briefly before pivoting to a work-related topic.

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Come from your point of view

It’s critical to use “I” language to express your ideas and feelings and to claim ownership of your perspective when setting boundaries.

This means using first-person language (I, me, my) rather than second-person language. (you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you (you, yours, yourself).

In practice, this might sound like: “I’m on a tight deadline and can’t talk right now.”

Set the conversation to a specific time

Your chatty coworkers may frequently approach you with questions, seeking advice and guidance.

Create systems to streamline requests that come your way if this is the case so you aren’t constantly interrupted.

So the next time your colleague approaches you, you can say.”That’s a fantastic topic, and I’d love to discuss it further.”

Why don’t you bring it to my office at 3 p.m. on Monday? That time has been set aside for issues like this.”

Setting boundaries with others, including coworkers, can be difficult, but it’s a good way to boost your self-esteem.

Every time you set a limit, you’re demonstrating to yourself that your desires, preferences, and energy are valuable, just like anyone else’s.

A last resort for excessive chatting at work

Whatever you do, don’t let the problem fester to the point where going to work becomes a source of annoyance.

Take steps to address the issue with your colleague before it has a negative impact on your performance and happiness at work.

If socializing on the job has become a constant source of distraction.It’s time to seek advice from your boss or your company’s HR department.

The HBR contributed to this article

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