Nov 4, 2011

Step Up or Suffer It Silently

In the recent days a coworker of mine made a comment abouth another coworker, on the very same line she has done it basically since I know her, that got me thinking again why can't she grow some balls and do something about that. If you recall, I've mentioned before that we have a coworker with a peculiar predilection for leeching upon others, in several ways, from what I've gathered from quite a wide arrange of acquintances. On the personal level, he leeches the most on this coworker of us. For over eight years now he relies on her to get to the office and then back home. Giving rides to coworkers you live nearby and have no car or their vehicle is at the workshop isn't something strange, as many do it. Then, when the carpooling or riding becomes extensive, it is customary for the one getting the ride to offer pinching into the gas for the car, which can be either rejected or accepted by the driver. Normally one would think that there's a sort of friendship between the driver and the rider, when the rides are frequent, so one would assume that she and her freeloader are friends, and thus they act, but through her comments when he's not around or out of the hearshot, say otherwise.

At the begining of the week, the freerider was out of the office and soon she noted how early she arrived at the office, and how that showed that she was getting late on regular basis due to him. Soon she was also complaining that he hasn't given her a dime for gas in the past three weeks, and then today, after she mentioned it, he gave her a US$10. At this point I'm honestly taken aback, as it is unpolite from her to expect a compensation for doing a favor, specially after she has previously stated that she never mentioned anything openly about asking him for money for the rides. I mean, is it a service she shall collect for or is it a favor? Scandalized she noted how she uses to go to her Mother's place from the office to pick up her son (and he rides with her, nontheless), and if her mom invites her for a coffee, he actually complains that he had to wait for her in the car. Add to it, he whines half her lunch every day and got to demand half her breakfast as well, when she went to pick one at the canteen. I know the guy, and ever since he realized I've been driving to the office, he has tried to get me to give him a ride to the office and back on the days our coworkers doesn't come. Aside from two perfunctory courtesy rides (one on each way) - both of which I offered him - I've dodged every other request from his side. (It did upset me once when he carelessly slammed the door without noticing the safety belt got caught and then forced it closed, while it was impossible due to the caught belt buckle. when realizing the mistake, didn't even apologize.)

I know the sort of social leech he is,a s I've encountered many of his kind. People like him care not for the discomfort they provoke, purposefully ignore the indirect requests to stop, but use the same indirect manipulating techniques to continue milking their prey. I've stopped him in his tracks, giving back only for the seldom favors in rides he has given me in the past, but stoopping there, cutting it before it starts, as he actually waits nothing to impose on you, considering one favor as an invitation to regularly get it from the giver. I'm certainly not the only one, as another coworker replaced his car for a motorbike to keep him from asking rides on daily basis to the office.

On top of all that he makes a laughing stock for the office as he brags about his alleged businesses, his three cars, his big house, his alleged skills for commerce and his undying desire to give up his work and dedicate to his own company.

Either way, laughing stock or not, thing is that he's a lazy leech that would not shame away from begging and whining whatever he needs from others instead of manning up and doing it himself or relying only on his own resources. But that's his problem. The coworker's problem is her utter inability to stop him from taking advantage of her. Childish antics, bitching and bickering to others about what an inssuferable s.o.b. he is won't make him go away. Yes, she should woman-up, stand up to him if his attitude and his leeching upsets her as much as she says it does, and tell him clearly: "I've got enough". But, as cunning and witty as she likes to present herself, she's actually yellow backed, unable to stand up for herself. Sure, she let him get this far, and this far getting him off her hair will be a real struggle, but it's not impossible, and certainly more pleasing than her telling us mockingly how he dared to tell her he was making him a service by taking a ride on her car, for that way he protected her by simply being in her car.

As I look over to my coworkers I wonder about the other things in our lives we don't like but which we don't dodge and look for alternative ways to shake off us, out of a sense of politeness present only in us, and not in the other party. Some are really difficult to shake off and we must endure them (like out thesis tutor - we didn't confront him, but we worked around and we prevailed), but others are simply a matter of social muscle and social courage. Sometimes you shouldn't be affraid of appearing unpolite or rude in order to defend yourself or avoiding being taken advantage of. Think of this: if the other party is so blatantly ignoring social convention, why should you observe it?

As a final advise for cases when you want dump a leech or an uncomfortable freerider, remember it is polite to either tell the person you are no longer able to perform that service. That simple. "I must tell you I can't no longer give you a ride/help you with your job/babysit for you/do your errands/lend you money/give you my food". No explanations, just say in an even, calm voice that you can't do that any more. Yes, you'll probably be requested to offer explanations as to why, but REMEMBER you don't need to give them. It's actually unpolite to request or demand for explanations for refusing a favor. Insistence can always be batted away with "I've personal reasons (and I would appreciate you would respect them)". Further poking can be dodged with "I would really appreciate if you would not pursue with these questions. I believe this concerns only me". (In other words, turn the tables, and indirectly point out at how unpolite, rude they are for not respecting you and how such a thing makes you unhappy, for you never expected them to disrespect you in such a fashion while asking for a favor.)

So, remember, a favor is always voluntary and you can stop any time you feel like it.


Sartassa said...

you're talking about the guy you mentioned in your last letter? cannot wait to read how the story goes on!

Storm Bunny said...

Yes!... I think. Then again, he's unmistakable, so if I've already told you about him, you'll never forget his character. It's the same inssuferable, obnoxious individual. Oh, I'll give you the details and the WHOLE story!

Sartassa said...

can't wait to hear it then!

Storm Bunny said...

Oh you will! Specially since there has been more developments! I'll get your the EXCLUSIVE! You are so not gonna believe this!