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opinionated coworker

How to Deal With an Opinionated Coworker

These are the coworkers who are opinionated and blunt. They have seemingly lost any semblance of filters, and will often say things like, “I’m an honest person. I just say things the way they are.”

By billing their behavior as “honesty,” they try to absolve themselves from the consequences of their actions.  They give themselves permission to be negative, spread rumors, present conspiracy theories as facts — and say things that are often hurtful. 

Their false “honesty” is rarely positive

The challenge with these opinionated coworkers is that they can create tension in a work environment. Their honesty is rarely positive, and you can never be sure when this coworker will start being ‘honest’ about you.

Here are three things to do when you have an (honest) opinionated coworker:

A. Stay away from them

Chances are your boss sees this coworker as a negative influence. You don’t want to be painted with the same brush.

B. Don’t encourage them

Even if you agree with their opinions, keep your poker face. You don’t want to reinforce their behavior.

C. Change the subject

Try abruptly changing the subject when they start on an opinionated rant. It sends the message that you’re not interested.
E.g.:
Honest person: “They don’t know what they’re doing over in the billing department. The people there are completely under qualified…”

You: “So, what did you think of the basketball game last night?”

You will stop the conversation dead without having to be confrontational. If they challenge you about it, stick to your guns by going back to your topic.

E.g.:

‘Honest’ person: “What, you don’t agree with me?”

You (with a smile): “Great game, huh?”

It might take a few tries, but eventually they will take the hint and give up.

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