Bothersome Business

How do you deal with annoying coworkers, especially the ones obsessed with their children?

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks.

Dear Pink Lady,

My coworkers are so proud of their kids, and good for them. But frankly, I don't want to see Little Suzy's latest artwork or hear about Bobby's soccer goal. Still, I don't want to offend. What is the best way to handle this?

—Not Miss Hannigan

Dear Miss Hannigan,

Do you have a spouse? A significant other? A sibling? A dog? A cat? A houseplant?

Yes. Yes, you do. Which means you have something to talk about when your coworkers bring up their kids. When one of them walks past your desk and says, "Molly, did I tell you about Karen's ballet recital?", you can respond, "I'd love to hear about it! But first let me tell you about the cute thing my cat Mr. Boggle did this morning! In fact, let me show you Mr. Boggle's extensive YouTube video gallery!" Pretty soon, your coworkers will either be so annoyed that they'll stop talking to you or they'll be so amused by Mr. Boggle's antics that he'll become an Internet meme.

If you really can't handle talking to your coworkers about their kids, tell them so. But soften the blow by attaching a handwritten note to a large jar of "instant cocoa." Nothing inspires warm cozy feelings like hot chocolate.


The Pink Lady

Instant Cocoa

Mix 1 8 qt. package of powered milk, 1 6 oz. jar of powdered coffee creamer, 1 lb. of instant cocoa and 1 c. powdered sugar in a canister. Shake well. To serve, place 1/2 c. cocoa in a cup and add boiling water.

Dear Pink Lady,

Part of my job involves working with coworkers from different cultures. I find myself annoyed that some do not use basic manners in making requests (a lack of "please," "thank you," or other appreciative statements). Am I wrong in expecting this, and if not, how can I communicate this expectation better?

—Thank You for Your Pleases

Dear Your Pleases,

I'm going to take a wild guess here and assume you've never waited tables. When I did, there was often a distinct lack of "please" and "thank you"—and not just from rude customers!

While it's nice to have a workplace environment where you do get praised for your good work, and it's wonderful to have coworkers who are appreciative, it's just not something that frequently happens. So chill out, bite your tongue, and be glad that you're at least not being pestered with pictures of your coworkers' children. Then make some "plantation tea" to remind yourself that your workplace environment could be much, much worse.


The Pink Lady

Plantation Tea

Steep 5 tea bags in 3 c. boiling water for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. lemon juice; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add more water until you have two quarts of tea; then add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond flavorings. Chill, then serve over ice. (Preferably on a veranda.)

This week's drinks are from Into the Second Century (French Camp, Miss., 1984).

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