How to react when your colleagues (or your boss!) Want to talk to you in the bathroom - The360 Lifestyle

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  • Friday, November 29, 2019

    How to react when your colleagues (or your boss!) Want to talk to you in the bathroom

    How to react when your colleagues (or your boss!) Want to talk to you in the bathroom

    The further we get from defecation, then from urination, the more it is admitted that we can talk. When we are at the handwashing stage, we are usually a little more open to the conversation. 


    Every day, employees are forced to enter the most intimate public space of their workplace: the toilets.

    This need usually comes with anxiety and annoyance to meet colleagues and leaders, who do not always share our way of interacting in this particular place. Some go so far as to make their personal conference room and send SMS or make business calls without interference.

    It also happens that the hierarchical relations even pursue us behind the door of the cabinets. "When my manager saw that I was going to the bathroom, she would come with me, take the next-door booth and give me a list of tasks to do," says Monika, a department store customer service assistant. For her, it was an unwanted interruption of her personal time.

    "As if it could not wait!" She thought in this situation. "It's a private moment, clear." The absence of olfactory and sonorous intimacy already pushes some to be discreet while they do their little business, or even wait for an eternity to be alone.

    Having a colleague who talks to us next door can make the experience even more stressful. But if you find yourself stuck with a talkative, you do not have to take part in the conversation against your will. To put an end to these difficult discussions, it is enough to say with tact that it is probably not the right moment to speak.

    Understand where this desire to speak comes from in such an unusual place

    For some people who are very involved in their work, nothing is more natural than talking about projects in the office toilets. "Some people observe that borders are more porous," says executive coach Monique Valcour.

    "These people do not even think that others do not have this tendency to approach business topics at the slightest opportunity." Driven to the extreme, an aggressive corporate culture can reach down to the bathroom. A former Amazon employee told Motherboard that the company's men's washroom was like "an extension of the office" where "engineers talk from one booth to another.

    On several occasions, I heard my colleagues answer calls on the bowl. I could not tell if the grunts were due to difficulty coding or defecating. "Sometimes it is the organization of the workspace that encourages employees to take refuge in the WC to talk quietly.

    "In the largest open spaces, the only place we can have private conversations is the toilet," says Melody Wilding, social worker and executive coach.

    You believe in it? A girl so focused on herself that she spends 10 minutes applying lip liner, while there are at least two people next to who are trying to poop.

    Sometimes it is necessary to give a response to the toilet

    People who are sensitive and attentive to others may interpret a colleague's lack of response as a sign that they do not like or respect them. This does not mean that you have to talk from the bowl, but try to give a short answer when you are in spaces where it is more acceptable to discuss, in the locker room or in front of the washbasins, for example.

    "The further we get from defecation and then urination, the more we admit we can talk. When we are at the handwashing stage, we are usually a little more open to the conversation. And it's even more true when you go to drying. Finally, once the paper towel is thrown away, as we head for the exit, we really feel free to laugh and talk, "said Harvey Molotch, professor of sociology at New York University and co-editor ofToilet: Public Restrictions and the Politics of Sharing.

    According to him, women are more likely than men to make this kind of contact. Not to mention that sinks are sometimes seen as the perfect place to create links. In one of her first internships in a magazine, freelance author Mara Santilli considered presenting herself to the editor of a magazine in front of the mirror. "I would have liked to forget my discomfort to go talk to him at that time. Who knows, I might have been hired! "

    People expect a minimum of kindness

    Monique Valcour remembers hearing some people wonder if their colleagues hated them after they ignored them in the locker room. "If there is one thing that can be too rigid or too flexible, it's the personal boundaries," says Wilding.

    For example, pretending that someone you know well did not exist when you are in the bathroom is too rigid a behavior. "It violates social norms. People expect a minimum of kindness.

    "A brief cordial reaction has many benefits," Monique Valcour continues. "A basic strategy is to give a smile, a look, or even a 'hello' to people you know at least from sight, without exception. This attitude should dispel any concern about the behavior of others. "We can not control how people want to interact, but we can show the example of what we want.

    "Always show you kind, friendly and professional. If, despite everything, a colleague reacts a little oddly, it is probably his mind that is in question, and not what he or she feels for you, "adds our expert.

    Set your limits and make it clear when you do not want to talk.

    If you are not comfortable when your colleagues want to talk to you in the bathroom, you are not alone. "I think this type of anxiety is really widespread. I would even say that it affects the majority of people, "says psychologist Michele Leno.

    "This is a very intimate act, which must be performed in a public place, which generates anxiety and stress," continues Harvey Molotch. "Once the closet door is closed, we act as if we were alone, but that is not the case.

    "This tacit contract can therefore be jeopardized as soon as an employee gives us the floor. To show your limits, you can simply say, "Uh, can you wait two minutes? I'm in the bathroom, "says Michele Leno.

    "No need to spread yourself in explanations. If your interlocutor does not understand, this is no longer your problem. "If, despite this answer, we persist in talking to the cabinets, Melody Wilding advises to express itself more and more clearly, starting with:" I understand you want to talk about it, but it would be better to wait until you get out of the toilet "or" We can talk better when we are back to our office".

    If the person still does not understand your innuendo, clarify your thinking, for example by saying, "I would rather not talk in the bathroom, sorry. I'll come to see you when I'm out. "

    For this coach, the next step would be an explicit refusal, like: "I do not want to talk about it now. I need privacy. Thank you for respecting that. "This advice is as good for colleagues as it is for the grand chef, she says. "It's a question of intimacy. If others violate this sanctuary, whether it is your manager or a collaborator, you have the right to state how you want things to happen in this place."

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