My co-worker that has often asked me personal questions is annoying as hell, professionally he is incompetent and I do all I can to avoid, evade, and deflect him, his questions and any kind of interaction with him. I wear my headphones and mind my own business, beyond answering work related questions I try not to even make eye contact, let alone say hello.

This evening I made the mistake of saying have a good night as I thought he was leaving. His response was that he is not leaving, followed by are you married? why don't you have children?, and on and on, implying I have no one to be with (which as true as it is, it was none of his business as we never socialise).

My question is, next time when asked a personal question by this co-worker, in response I'd like to ask him what is his wife's name and when they had sex last?

Maybe if he answers then I can answer his personal questions.

Would this approach be ok?

After reading some of the comments here, what if I just tone it down to "how is your sex life"?

That is also not a good move, I keep wearing my headphones and not saying anything at all to him. My mistake of trying to have any form of civility.

I forgot to mention that in the past I helped this guy with work, ended up doing a job that he keeps asking my manager to do. Every single time he opens his mouth he just tries to screw with me, he has friends that together they never speak English in my presence, and his buddy too likes to screw with me. I have been avoiding both as much as I can, but they continue to screw with me in turns to get a reaction out of me. I love my job and help people, but almost as we get close to Friday they know I am tired and lack the tolerance I have on Monday morning.

Next time I am asked a personal question by these annoying co-workers, I'll be asking them about if they are going to fix up the problem with some work they did, and there are a lot of problems with their work, changing the personal conversation to a professional question that can actually benefit work! :) I have plenty of issues with their work that I have kept my mouth shut not to upset them, but I think that is the language that they understand.

  • What goal do you want to achieve with that question - getting revenge? The consequences will probably be worse for you than for him. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Aug 17 '17 at 9:55
  • @AnneDaunted : just want him to leave me alone, this is not the first time he has tried to screw with me. Also you are completely correct. – user3403 Aug 17 '17 at 9:57
  • Asking a co-worker about his sex life puts you in a bad spot. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Aug 17 '17 at 9:59
  • I would definitely recommand that you edit the title, it's far too 'weird' and the content of the question is more about how to get rid of annoying questions from coworker. – OldPadawan Aug 17 '17 at 10:00
  • @OldPadawan : thanks, that is more like what I really need, I am angry at having that interaction with him. – user3403 Aug 17 '17 at 10:01

So your problem is that two of your coworkers are going to great length to socialize with you, even asking you questions that annoy or embarass you, even though you are doing your best to ignore them and isolate yourself from conversations.

And now that you had enough, your plan is to get revenge on him by asking him the same kind of question he is asking to you, that you were trying to avoid or ignore until now.

Don't you feel that trying to solve that conversation issue that continued even when you explicitly ignored him by suddenly responding to his conversations will produce the opposite reaction of what you intend to achieve ?

If you are confortable with suddenly have bilateral conversations on the topics he is usually asking you about, then go on. But I have the strong feeling that you just want to be left alone and begining to respond to his approaches will surely make the opposite happen.

Maybe he is a moron and you being cross is his main goal while having that behaviour. In that case, he may be - slightly - disapointed that you chat with him instead of getting mad, but you are still battling on his field. Moreover.

In the end, whether or not his approaches are genuine, if you don't like the outcome either because he is happy with the situation and talk to you even more and about even more private matters or because he tries other ways to come at you, you would have lost credibility in the process since you would be engaging with him. Besides, that might come back at you if you try to see your manager about it and (s)he judges that you are equally responsible for encouraging him. If that coworker actually intends to piss you, he may even complain to your manager himself to trap you. "What's your wife's name and how is the sex" is definitely not a workspace question and that might do you harm.

If you have an issue in the workspace with another coworker, the first approach should be to explicitly share your concerns with that coworker, followed by sharing them with your manager if it fails.

It's hard to answer your question in more precise terms since it's unclear from your wording whether his intentions are nasty or genuine. Whether it is simply their character or the result of some mental disorder, some people have issues regarding asserting social boundaries.

However, if they are actually putting that amount of working hours into pissing you off in your common workspace, that is without a doubt something that your hierarchy should be made aware of. The way you describe it, it is between bad manners and harassment, and your boss should supposedly would do something about it. The longer you keep it from you, the harder it will become to explain later and the more likely it will be to blow back at you.

Considering the context of your question, asking it on workspace.

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