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How to deal with Nosy Co-Workers?

Updated | Posted

Specializes in ACE.

I work at a Retirement home and such as an RN. Love the job. But we have nosy co workers. I trust only a few people. So last week I bought a brand new car with all my hard earned money and pandemic pay. I told maybe 3 or 4 people about it.

I am 22 years young by the way

The day after this person a PSW, came up to me (she is always nosy not the first time shes up in my business), and said "I heard you got a brand new car" I am like who told you that, and shes like don't worry but is it true. I said yeah? Then she tells me well your last car was still good, I'm like I didn't like it so I gave it to my parents, then shes like well yeah because you don't pay rent, I don't get mad easily but I don't know why she thinks she can just go up to me and say that. I asked her why are you up in my business, shes like I'm not up in your business, I am telling you that you got a new car, and we kept going back and forth and I didn't like it. I started avoiding talking to her, thank God she does not work on my side of the floor.

It was her birthday this morning and they bought food and cake, and they all were eating in the Nursing station. Another PSW told me to go eat, and I refused to go celebrate her birthday with her. I don't want to associate myself with that person, nor do I feel comfortable talking to her because she keeps asking me questions. They were eating the food, and I was continuing doing my Wound care. Another Nurse told me that the PSW is going to report me for "bullying" her for not going to celebrate her birthday by eating the cake and food which I don't even want.

Anyways how can I deal with this in the future if she or if any other idiot tries to get in my business? While I do have a car, I'm not eager to show the world that I have valuable things in my life. The PSW even asked "You don't have a girlfriend? What do you do with all that money"? What in God's name does that have to do with you? In my 2 short years of working in healthcare, I am just shocked that someone would say/ask me those things. When I was in school, we were disciplined properly, everything was serious. We have a license, and if we get fired, we may get a record to the College of Nurses and it may be hard to find a job, whereas if the PSW gets fired there is no record and they can just look for another job.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

I wish I had the physical skill to raise just one eyebrow quizzically. Like as in. 'why the devil do you want/need to know?'

So unless you have that terrific ability, I suggest just keeping silent and giving her an exaggerated surprised look.

There are always nosy people around and some of them are MORE nosy than others. And those are usually the more rude ones!

DK123

Specializes in ACE.

15 minutes ago, amoLucia said:

I wish I had the physical skill to raise just one eyebrow quizzically. Like as in. 'why the devil do you want/need to know?'

So unless you have that terrific ability, I suggest just keeping silent and giving her an exaggerated surprised look.

There are always nosy people around and some of them are MORE nosy than others. And those are usually the more rude ones!

My main problem is with those people, and the fact that they feel entitled that they should know everything about you. My favorite co-workers are the ones who never talk, or open their mouth and just work. This is a professional workplace, personal stuff shouldn't really be discussed here.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

32 minutes ago, DribbleKing97 said:

My main problem is with those people, and the fact that they feel entitled that they should know everything about you. My favorite co-workers are the ones who never talk, or open their mouth and just work. This is a professional workplace, personal stuff shouldn't really be discussed here.

I hesitated to use that word myself. But it DID come to my mind. There are some folk who feel it's their God-given right to know just about everything personal about everyone else. And they take umbrage when everyone else DOESN'T agree with them. This is evidenced by that PSW's 'bullying' threat!!

On 6/21/2020 at 9:59 PM, DribbleKing97 said:

I told maybe 3 or 4 people about it.

Welp, they told a few more.

All of this is just too much pettiness. If you want to tell people about your brand new car, remember that you don't control who else they tell and you also don't control what other people say in response to it.

On 6/21/2020 at 9:59 PM, DribbleKing97 said:

Another PSW told me to go eat, and I refused to go celebrate her birthday with her.

Well that's just petty. Life is going to continue to be rather cumbersome for you with regard to your coworker relationships if you can't even out a little bit.

On 6/21/2020 at 10:33 PM, DribbleKing97 said:

My favorite co-workers are the ones who never talk, or open their mouth and just work. This is a professional workplace, personal stuff shouldn't really be discussed here.

You'll have to keep all of your personal stuff out of the workplace, then, including your brand new car.

That's just the way it is. There are ways to be friendly to people and develop good working relationships without either oversharing or seeming cold and utterly uninterested in others.

Start training yourself and your emotions. I feel safe saying you're going to come up on some ridiculousness that is well beyond a coworker's curiosity about your new car. Truuust me. If you want to have a happy life, practice your 'let it goooo' routine starting now.

👍🏽

You're not obligated to tell anybody anything about your personal life. Just turn on your heel and walk off.

DK123

Specializes in ACE.

1 minute ago, sevensonnets said:

You're not obligated to tell anybody anything about your personal life. Just turn on your heel and walk off.

Yup. Wish I did that before!

30 minutes ago, amoLucia said:

I hesitated to use that word myself. But it DID come to my mind. There are some folk who feel it's their God-given right to know just about everything personal about everyone else. And they take umbrage when everyone else DOESN'T agree with them. This is evidenced by that PSW's 'bullying' threat!!

Yup and also a lack of education. I personally want to get a long with all my staff, but getting personal is too much. I don't mind revealing certain things, but I try my best to keep it discreet.

DK123

Specializes in ACE.

On 6/21/2020 at 11:30 PM, JKL33 said:

Welp, they told a few more.

All of this is just too much pettiness. If you want to tell people about your brand new car, remember that you don't control who else they tell and you also don't control what other people say in response to it.

Well that's just petty. Life is going to continue to be rather cumbersome for you with regard to your coworker relationships if you can't even out a little bit.

You'll have to keep all of your personal stuff out of the workplace, then, including your brand new car.

That's just the way it is. There are ways to be friendly to people and develop good working relationships without either oversharing or seeming cold and utterly uninterested in others.

Start training yourself and your emotions. I feel safe saying you're going to come up on some ridiculousness that is well beyond a coworker's curiosity about your new car. Truuust me. If you want to have a happy life, practice your 'let it goooo' routine starting now.

👍🏽

Thanks. While I do think there is some truth-ness to what you said, I don't want to be the "Personal information Police" at work. Sometimes we do share things at work, and it should be safe to do so, but I do see what you're saying.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

5 hours ago, DribbleKing97 said:

Yup. Wish I did that before!

Yup and also a lack of education. I personally want to get a long with all my staff, but getting personal is too much. I don't mind revealing certain things, but I try my best to keep it discreet.

You'll discover as you continue in the field that level of education doesn't equal level of class. There are great people everywhere as well as folks with graduate-level jerk status...

In the case of a PSW, “You don’t have enough to do? I’ll find some work for you” or “Let’s go have your charge nurse find some patient care work for you, now, right now”. That should do it after the first time.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

More than one person knows something = everyone knows that.

It is my problem too because people ask those ubiquitous questions of "where you were born?", "how did you come to America?", "when you're going home?" and even (in my face of U.S. citizen since 2008) "do you have papers?" ALL THE TIME for the simple reason "I am just curious". It took me over 20 years to develop skin thick enough of not volunteering my private information if I do not feel like it. Now I just say in soft and polite tone "sorry, I do not want to discuss that" and move on, repeating as needed, and let chips fly and fell as they might.

I just cannot stop laughing at more that not wishing to eat someone's birthday cake nowadays can be counted as "bullying".Tried to count cases I was purposefully sent to transport patient somewhere, to go with code team, to just run errands while everybody else were eating birthday cakes so that I wouldn't be even near and was not in danger to touch something from which I would go into anaphylaxis then and there 🙂

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Consider this an opportunity to develop some life skills. You can choose to be offended, or you can learn to deal with all kinds of people.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

5 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

Consider this an opportunity to develop some life skills. You can choose to be offended, or you can learn to deal with all kinds of people.

You know, I spent most of my life trying to learn "not to be offended" and "deal with all kinds of people" before I realized that I as a human being I have a right to feel offended when I am offended and quite some people from every walk of life are just rude nosy and gossipy nincompoops independently of their social and educational level and they have to be treated as such.

You do not have to be rude or bullish with anyone. You just need to learn how to dose your personal information and, if needed, quickly, painlessly and very clearly let this type of people know that the best option for them is to leave you alone NOW, whether they feel that they are immediately entitled to know everything and the size of your panties or not.

I did just that and it made my life incredibly better.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

1 minute ago, KatieMI said:

You know, I spent most of my life trying to learn "not to be offended" and "deal with all kinds of people" before I realized that I as a human being I have a right to feel offended when I am offended and quite some people from every walk of life are just rude nosy and gossipy nincompoops independently of their social and educational level and they have to be treated as such.

You do not have to be rude or bullish with anyone. You just need to learn how to dose your personal information and, if needed, quickly, painlessly and very clearly let this type of people know that the best option for them is to leave you alone NOW, whether they feel that they are immediately entitled to know everything and the size of your panties or not.

I did just that and it made my life incredibly better.

I respect that, and to me, "choose not to be offended" is not the same as "don't have boundaries" and "don't have feelings". Not saying that.

The OP is focusing a lot on the other, rude, person and might be better off focusing on his/her own communication skills and how to deal.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

Rule #1 is that if you don't want anyone to know your business don't even tell one person your business. I understand that if I tell someone at work something, even if I presume it's in confidence, soon everyone will know.

Rule #2, you can't change anyone but yourself.

Also, you might not want to sweat the small stuff. We spend a lot of time with our coworkers. While asking a ton of personal questions isn't appropriate, is it really a big deal people know you have a new car? Getting a new car is a big event for some of us and when I got a new car, I was happy to share my good news, as well as when I travel or do other things. I certainly don't give away intimate details of my private life, but like I said if I do, I understand everyone will hear about it. But I do have to allow you your preferences. Some people aren't comfortable with small talk.

Bottom line is to set boundaries and ignore people, or just be honest and say "that's nothing you need to know". Eventually people will get the clue and leave you alone.

Edited by Tweety

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

31 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

The OP is focusing a lot on the other, rude, person and might be better off focusing on his/her own communication skills and how to deal.

I heard that too - from the very people who, by some strange coincidence had "RN" after their names and who treated me like I was in gestapo. I've walked in the OP's shoes for years.

I am sorry to say it, but in my book the advice to concentrate on shortcomings in communication when the victim just discovered that nosing into her personal life and spreading gossips is not all right comes right close to blaming the victim. It is counterproductive. The OP RIGHT NOW needs a vent and some time to go through her boiled up feelings. She is offended and in acute stage of conflict. After she deals with it, she will be able to concentrate on her response, go through her communications and figure out what to do with that particular nursing assistant and with her other co-workers because there are so many variables in human behavior. But it will take time and will happen AFTER she is out of shock.

One can change not only yourself but others as well, if there are significant and sustained efforts applied at the right time and direction. I did it too - many times.

Edited by KatieMI

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

1 hour ago, KatieMI said:

I heard that too - from the very people who, by some strange coincidence had "RN" after their names and who treated me like I was in gestapo. I've walked in the OP's shoes for years.

I am sorry to say it, but in my book the advice to concentrate on shortcomings in communication when the victim just discovered that nosing into her personal life and spreading gossips is not all right comes right close to blaming the victim. It is counterproductive. The OP RIGHT NOW needs a vent and some time to go through her boiled up feelings. She is offended and in acute stage of conflict. After she deals with it, she will be able to concentrate on her response, go through her communications and figure out what to do with that particular nursing assistant and with her other co-workers because there are so many variables in human behavior. But it will take time and will happen AFTER she is out of shock.

One can change not only yourself but others as well, if there are significant and sustained efforts applied at the right time and direction. I did it too - many times.

Thank you for sharing your point of view and your experience. I do think we want the same thing for the OP- to suffer less aggravation through improved coping skills...like you have.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

PSW has issues with RNs. She is baiting you into an argument... about anything and everything. You are taking the bait and entering into an argument.

Your only response should be "that is my personal business". Walk away from the bait.