Bothersome Boss: What to do when your boss interrupts you

by EPI Staff on May 5, 2010

Q: I recently started working for a very annoying boss. She talks very loudly and often interrupts or pushes herself into conversations. One day she even followed me into the bathroom stall to remind me something. What can I do?

A:You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You like your job- but not your boss. Changing a manager’s behavior is one of the most difficult and perplexing problems in business etiquette. If you think it’s worthwhile, try meeting with her to discuss the situation as constructively as possible. Ultimately, of course, you may find she either is unreceptive to discussing your concerns or refuses to change her ways. In this case, you’ll have to choose between putting up with her behavior or changing jobs.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie May 5, 2010 at 1:20 am

I don’t see the Open Thread option in May so far, so I apologize if this is not the right location for a question.

I have read numerous etiquette columns and books, and they are all pretty consistent in how to handle invitations to events that you are not interested in attending. It seems that saying “I’m sorry, I will not be able to make it” is the standard response to barbecues, parties, etc. that one may not wish to attend for whatever reason. However, in my experience, I have some friends who accept this response and others who dig deeper. Just last night I was asked about going out tonight and I said “I’m sorry, I can’t go.” My friend then responded with “oh, you have work?” and I had to scramble with “There’s just some stuff I have to do.” Quite frankly, I just don’t feel like going to this particular dinner. I have never seen advice on how to handle those that do not accept the initial response and want further information. I feel like I have to walk around armed with excuses all the time, whether they are true or not, and I really hate lying. Thanks in advance for the help!


Graceandhonor May 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Dear Julie,

You have responded correctly in politely declining and are not required to state why you have declined unless you care to. However, your scenario illustrates that sometimes people do inquire as to why we say no. Unless you are prepared to tell a white lie, it is best to remain vague, “I would love to come but am afraid I’ve already made other plans.” Those plans may be watching paint dry, but that is your perogative. It is best for hosts to take the initial decline of the invitation at face value and not make it an awkward situation by putting an invitee on the spot.

Best wishes,



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