You’re on your usual quiet morning. You’re already either busy with work or still ogling over the latest news on the internet.

Enter one of your workmates. A short distance separates you and the office entrance, and you hear workmate greet the security with a “Good morning!” at the top of her voice. It reminds you of the same amount of cheer a preschool teacher greets five year olds. Workmate greets everyone she sees, including you. Except after she greets you, she lingers at your desk for some chit-chat about her commute to work this morning — every morning, and why she came in late today — and every day.

Somehow that conversation ends, and she heads to her desk greeting more people before she finally takes a seat. You, on the other hand, continue on with work (or your browsing), thinking you’re done with her chattiness for now, knowing fully well though, that the day has just begun, and the ‘worst’ is yet to come.

Sometime in the day, not long after your first encounter, while you have your nose buried in all the paper work, a weird feeling of someone or something hovering over interrupts you. So you slowly, cautiously lift your head to see — there she is, trying to keep herself from giggling — almost as though hovering over you just as you suspected. This creeps you out. The conversations are fine, you can probably look past that. But it’s more than the conversations, it’s the time both of you spend on it; it’s her loud voice —the kind that even her whispers sound like it’s coming from a megaphone. It’s the animated way she tells her stories — complete with body gestures with her arms flying all over the place. It’s a whole show, and it’s a show she enjoys performing.

This annoys you because although you enjoy the once in a while mingling and socializing, you do value your alone time. You need people to understand personal boundaries. This one particular workmate though is not capable of that, you feel. You’re tempted, every single time she comes to you, to tell her to back off or at least take a step back, but you don’t because you know it will offend her — terribly.

It’s quite a pickle you’re in. This is your reality every day, at least at work, or when that particular workmate is around.

Your workmate reminds you of a cartoon squirrel. The kind with two large front teeth, always munching on a nut, always lurking around, always with a seemingly crazy annoying smile on her face.

If you were both cartoon characters, workmate would be DeeDee, and you would be Daria. You’re not just from different cartoon series, you also do not (and should never be) in the same one. You’re just too opposite, and sometimes, opposites just do not attract. Workmate’s demeanor annoys the heck out of you.

You feel that your work world (at least between you and workmate) would be a much better place, if workmate just knew where to draw the line and actually acknowledge it.

Then you pause. What if workmate is actually going through something difficult that you know nothing about, and being all (overly) cheerful is her way of forgetting and coping?

If you just had more patience in you than you have now; if you just had more patience to understand that not everyone’s as introverted as you are; if you could just give more time to listen to and understand people – – – then yeah, your world would be a better place. Understand too that people, each one you encounter, like workmate, have a purpose in your life, and some are just naturally harmless squirrels.


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