Setting boundaries patronizing co-workers

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Summer_Twilight
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26 Sep 2019, 2:45 pm

Hi:
I have people on my job who respond to me in a patronizing manner and I would like to learn how to set boundaries with these kinds of people in a positive way. One of the colleagues talked down to me as if I am 4 and it just pushes my buttons when people talk to me like that. Today she told me she was busy and asked me to find time in my schedule next week to talk things over because she needed to talk to another assistant. So when I said ok, she talked to me like I was 4. "Bye thank you."

How do I set boundaries without coming off as too aggressive and what could I say to her?



WalkerTR
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26 Sep 2019, 3:26 pm

That's really difficult.
I've not been able to experience what she is doing first hand and you provided only one example.
The example does sound patronizing though,I agree.


This might be a poor idea but would it be possible to go to lunch with this colleague? If you could socialize with her informally she would see you in a different light?

You could say something standard like 'I feel like you are talking down to me' it depends if she is the kind of person who would use plausible deniability.

Are these colleagues equal to you in position at work?



ninjaman
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30 Sep 2019, 5:20 pm

this person could be an obnoxious b***h? there are people like this and they usually take some kind of supervisor or higher position and enjoy the perks of being an arse. is there some one higher than her? if so, as long as that person is not an arse as well then you should be able to get help. thats if the main person refuses. she may be very busy and some of these people dont have the time to be polite.
it seems like a waste of time talking through who this person is. the best option you have is to cover yourself as much as possible. record the way she speaks to you. this is the best thing that you can do. if you want to, as long as you are recording the conversation, mention to her how she is making you feel. as long as you have a real record of what she said and how she made you feel, you have some defence against her. otherwise get another job somewhere else and pray its not the same.



Summer_Twilight
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01 Oct 2019, 10:49 am

My job is fine and most of my colleagues treat me as an adult but most of them seem to have a big lack of interest in me even though they work with creating better inclusive practices. They don't know really accept me because they don't know how and it breaks my heart. Actually, my organization is big enough and there are people who I feel I can invest my time in even though it's hard sometimes.

As for the woman who is being patronized with me, she also works with young adults for a transition program here at work. She also happens to be working on her doctorate but I think she probably has been ill-educated somewhere down the road. Either way, it's not appropriate. Also, I did tell my supervisor about it and we both agree that's not acceptable.



blackomen
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04 Oct 2019, 7:46 am

SharonB
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04 Oct 2019, 10:21 am

I'm making my way in this also. I have two co-workers who do this to me (and I am a 20-year professional). I made two attempts (humor, direct) and they didn't go so well, but one has to start somewhere. I am unmasking at the same time, so I have in mind to try some "I appreciate… and I feel... when you..."

This looks good (scroll down to written material): https://personalexcellence.co/podcast/assertive/

After reading this I might ask why they are explaining basic concepts to me. I had a co-worker's whose boss repeatedly told her she wasn't technical enough (unfortunately a common theme at my workplace for women) and she put her job performance aside "technical" job descriptions (the same) and at one point asked him straight-out if he thought she was dumb. (She did so from a place of confidence and not desperation.) He said he didn't and immediately corrected the situation. He's a good person, but needed to have his behavior brought to his awareness. So really it's for us to help gently *educate* these patronizing folks. (Easier said than done.)



Aurora911
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04 Oct 2019, 4:31 pm

Sometimes it can be very hard to tell unless we see them treat others differently in similar situations. I am going to be taking classes on assertiveness to help. I remember trying to advocate regarding some of my challenges and others seemed to think that I was making excuses.
One example was I had a job that involved navigation and setting traps my coworker was training me and had a better short-term memory and sense of direction than I did. Sometimes I had to collect traps in greenhouses and find my way around working people and when I looked at the map I couldn't remember which ones I had been to and which ones I missed. Sadly they were arranged so that I couldn't just go in a straight line so it took me a long time to back track. My coworker was very impatient and told me that I need to have a better sense of direction. I thought about labeling each trap on the map so that I could keep better track in the future and he said that wasn't necessary as if he thought I was just making excuses even after coming up with a solution to the "excuses ". He didn't like the idea because my solution would take more time and planning but from my perspective it would've saved a lot of time for others without his gifts.



Where_am_I
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08 Oct 2019, 4:21 pm

blackomen wrote:
Talk back to her as if she's 4 as well.


This works well.



rainbowbutterfly
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26 Oct 2019, 2:58 am

Where_am_I wrote:
blackomen wrote:
Talk back to her as if she's 4 as well.


This works well.


That might work well with friends and families but it's not a good idea to talk back to coworkers. Instead, have them become aware of their behavior by telling them how you feel, and state the way you'd like to be talked to.