Office Etiquette: How To Cope With A Chatty Coworker

Brandon Snively
Brandon is a Pace University graduate and avid Philadelphia sports fan, but don't hate him because of it...please? He was a former intern at the Howard Stern Show as well as a reporter for the MTA program Transit Transit Newsmagazine. He likes to be in front of the camera or behind the mic, but he enjoys news writing just as much.

For most of us on a Monday morning, the last thing we want to hear is a loud voice or distractions that will piss us off and set the tone for the week ahead.

There really is an unspoken rule for some, such as, “Don’t talk to me before 10 a.m. or until I’ve had my first cup of coffee,” or, “Don’t EVER speak to me when I have my earphones in unless it is an emergency where my life is in immediate danger.”

So what happens if you have a chatty coworker who doesn’t know how to shut it? Some of us can’t multitask and having that distraction can really affect our performance and morale at work, especially if their voice happens to sound like nails on a chalkboard.

Here are some tips, courtesy of US News & World Report, on how to deal with that overly talkative coworker the proper way:


Keep it together and DO NOT OVERREACT IN ANY WAY.

There may be times when just can’t take it anymore and feel inclined to physically hurt someone that won’t shut up. Stop. Take a deep breath and remain calm. You may be beyond the point of annoyance, but creating another issue in the workplace is not necessary.


Confront the situation in a professional matter and do it ASAP.

Time won’t heal anything if the problem persists. It only does more damage to you, your coworker, and could also potentially lead to a bigger problem. You’re in the working world; professionalism is common sense.

Pull your coworker aside and tell them, “Hey, my workload is pretty overwhelming right now, and as much I’d like to hear about your weekend and that really funny thing your cat did yesterday, the more I talk, the more I can’t get anything done. Could we socialize during a break or at lunch instead? I hope you understand!”

*If they don’t understand, they probably should see a specialist*


If the problem persists, reinforce the message.

It’s very possible that your coworker may not process the message at first or not realize that they still haven’t corrected the problem. It doesn’t hurt to let them know, in the nicest way possible, that it’s still bothering you and that you can socialize at a different time.


Talk to your manager or supervisor.

It doesn’t make you a tattle-tale to let upper management know you are trying to deal with a situation like this if it continues. In fact, it can be good to keep them up to speed. If, for any reason, anything escalates or continues to be a problem, they can intervene if necessary. In extreme cases, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can nonchalantly have your desk moved or go to a different area of the office so interaction can be minimized to a morning “sup nod.”



Don’t ignore your co-worker.

Ignoring or giving the cold shoulder will NOT solve anything. You may think that they’ll get the hint, but it will create a vibe in the office that is less than desirable. People talk, and if you co-worker is talkative, there’s a really good chance he/she will talk to other people about your ignorance.

*At that point, just take them to an area outside the property with no cameras around*