Dear Annie: I have a co-worker who, for many reasons, drives me up the wall. “Lana” is older than I am by at least 35 years and sits across from me at work. This would be fine, except she will not stop talking. No matter how little interest I show or how many times I say “You told me this before,” she will natter on and on and on.
She talks about everything and anything — her pets, her friends, her friends’ marital/financial/health problems, what she had for dinner, “funny” things she’s found on Facebook. Even if I have headphones on or am clearly not listening, she’ll keep talking. It’s infuriating and very distracting for all of us in the office.
To add to this, she has a serious case of one-upmanship syndrome. No matter who in the office is having a conversation — we have an open floor plan — she has to butt in with her own unsolicited opinion and make it about her. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t have a single conversation at the office with any of my other co-workers without her interrupting and taking over the conversation.
For example, a younger co-worker and I were discussing housing in our town. (We both rent.) She barged into our conversation with her own horrible landlord experiences, though we hadn’t asked her opinion or advice. Her experiences were also 30 years out of date and thus not even relevant.
How do I politely tell her to shut up and mind her own business? — Tired of Interruptions in the Midwest
Dear Tired of Interruptions: I have a feeling you’ll have a hard time politely telling her anything, because your fuse is about a centimeter long at the moment. Talk to human resources instead. This problem affects the whole office, not just you, so it should be of concern to management.
Dear Annie: My brother, executor of my father’s will, and I had a falling out a few years back. To punish me, he took $3,000 from my inheritance, claiming it was for an alleged loan I took from my father. He has no proof of this, nor did it ever happen. And he did not deduct the expenses of major purchases Dad made for my sisters, which were common knowledge among the family.
Do I have any legal recourse? Or should I just let it go and write him out of my life for good? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: It’s unfortunate that estate settlement winds up tearing so many families apart when the most important thing parents hope to leave their children is not a thing at all; it’s a legacy of love and kindness.
I’m sorry to hear what your brother did to you. Though it’s hard to say without the details, it sounds as if there’s a very good chance you have legal recourse. Contact an attorney to explore your options.
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