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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

5 Times You End Up Being That Super Annoying Co-worker (Without Meaning To)

annoyed co-worker
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Even if you’re the most tolerant person on the face of the planet, chances are you’re familiar with those co-workers who are so obnoxious they make you close your eyes, clench your fists, and grit your teeth.

The sales guy who clips his fingernails at his desk. The marketing staff member who insists on using her speakerphone for every single phone call. The desk mate who delights in heating up his tuna melt in the microwave—every single day.

Are you cringing yet? Yes, those annoying colleagues are definitely enough to test your patience. But, have you ever stopped to think if you’re doing anything to drive your co-workers up a wall—particularly when it comes to the way that you communicate in the office?

Nobody’s perfect, and you very well might just be guilty of a few of these common faux pas. Here are five times you sound obnoxious at work—without even realizing it.

1. When You Interrupt

When people speak, they undoubtedly want to be listened to. So, if you’re one of those people who has the tendency to constantly jump in and cut people off mid-sentence, you’re probably driving your co-workers nuts.

While you might think that your incessant interruptions (and your unnecessary tendency to complete other people’s sentences for them) might be an effective way to demonstrate your level of engagement in the conversation, they really only make your colleagues feel steamrolled and unheard. So, resist the temptation, zip your lips, and wait for your turn to talk!

2. When You Constantly Put Yourself Down

I get it—you don’t want to seem conceited, braggy, or like you’re showboating and strutting your stuff all around the office every time you make even the smallest accomplishment. But, constantly tearing yourself down with self-deprecating comments? Well, that’s almost just as annoying.

Maybe your idea is completely half-baked—that doesn’t mean you need to prequalify it by describing yourself as stupid and unprepared. It’s draining, and also makes your teammates feel like you’re constantly fishing for compliments and confidence boosts.

If you want everyone else to think of you as a qualified and intelligent employee who deserves to be part of the team, you need to start thinking of yourself that way.

3. When You Keep Chiming In

Being helpful is a valuable quality in the office. But, if you’re one of those people who’s constantly putting in his or her two cents completely unprompted, you’re likely just coming off as nosy, pushy, and overbearing.

Of course, if you have a constructive suggestion that could make someone’s job easier or project that much better, go ahead and share it. However, it’s important that you remember your limits here. After all, nobody likes the co-worker who’s constantly trying to tell other people how they should get their work done—particularly if it doesn’t even involve you in the slightest.

4. When You Always Complain

The weather is terrible. Your desk chair is uncomfortable. Your eyes hurt from staring at your computer screen all day. Your inbox is too full. The office is too hot. The office is too cold. You’re basically your workplace’s resident Goldilocks, and you exude negativity.

We all voice complaints every now and then—it’s human nature. But, if you find yourself constantly airing your grievances about every little thing, it’s probably time that you flip the switch and attempt to be more positive.

Sometimes, commiserating over shared annoyances can be a great way to bond with your co-workers. However, as with anything, there’s a line here. One complaint every now and then is expected. But, an endless string of them? Well, that’s just irritating.

5. When You’re Overly Complimentary

So, you’re making an effort to be a positive, upbeat, supportive, and encouraging employee. When one of your teammates wraps up a huge project, you rant and rave about how wonderful it is for hours. When a colleague presents an idea in a meeting, you attempt to stir up a round of applause fit for Carnegie Hall.

It seems counterintuitive that there’s such a thing as being too nice—but, surprisingly, there is. When you head way too far in this direction, you’re sure to make your co-workers feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

Trust me—nobody in the office wants to be treated like a child receiving a gold star on his chore chart. So, remember, one genuine compliment or a sincere “thank you” is really all it takes to get your point across.

We’ve all had our fair share of run-ins with irritating co-workers. But, it’s all too easy to forget that we could actually be the ones causing our colleagues to cringe—without even realizing it.

So, be conscious of these five times that you sound obnoxious at work and make your best effort to stay far away from them. You’ll go from being the employee that everybody tries to avoid to the one that everybody wants to be around!