206 votes
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How to gently turn down a female coworker who asked for a sperm donation?

Tell her exactly what you've written above. That you're "not comfortable having a child out there whose life I have no part in". If she tries to engage in a debate, remember that you don't owe her an ...
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  • 17.1k
205 votes

How to quickly remove yourself from a homophobic conversation?

I realize this may not be the way you wish to go about it, but I did admire one way a fellow coworker handled these situations; with every type of prejudiced joke. What he would do is pretend not to ...
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  • 1,251
204 votes
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How do I deal with a coworker who unplugs my monitor because I didn't turn it off?

Anne is clearly a fervent believer in saving power. In fact, one might go far enough as to call her a fanatic based on your description. And your mistake has been making concessions, and validating ...
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  • 17.1k
195 votes
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How can I avoid coming across as condescending when telling a coworker I can't work on an issue right now?

I think your problem here is the word "luxury." Not only would the line flow just as well if you cut it out, but it's insinuating that the person emailing you isn't as busy as you are. It's probably ...
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  • 15.2k
170 votes

How to communicate to my co-workers that they don't have to say "bless you" when I sneeze?

No intention to be harsh, but: Just suck it up and say "thanks". There are so many things I think are odd or unneeded, but society dictates that those habits are polite, despite my personal ...
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  • 5,409
163 votes
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How to politely interrupt recruiters who keep cold-calling me during my work hours?

Keep this in mind: recruiters are salespeople. They get paid when positions get filled. They want to pursue potential opportunities and not go after something that won't work. That said, showing ...
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  • 32.3k
162 votes
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How can I explain to people that a programmer isn't a computer technician?

The only way this is rude is your belief that a programmer is better than a tech [you mention it feels like a minimization of your job when people think you're a tech.] I don't mean you're rude to ...
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  • 43.5k
147 votes
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How to dismiss intrusive questions from a colleague with whom I don't work?

As a woman who used to tend bar, I've dealt with a lot of intrusive questions at work, mostly from customers. A lot of men want to take home the bartender and many of them can be quite pushy about it....
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  • 2,361
146 votes
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Coworker scans my body. How to best tell him to stop?

In these situations you want to put people on the spot without setting them on fire (because being too confrontational in the workplace can be an issue). Next time you see him doing this, I'd say: &...
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  • 22.6k
141 votes

How can I tactfully tell my ex-superior that I don't owe him anything?

As you have already indicated, you do not owe your former employer anything outside of any official contract you have signed. If you look at it from the other perspective, you could certainly not ...
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  • 4,196
137 votes

How can I avoid coming across as condescending when telling a coworker I can't work on an issue right now?

You need to work on your written communication skills. Being logical and factual has nothing to do with it. You're implying that you can't be logical and factual as well as tactful in your emails. ...
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  • 5,134
136 votes
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How to politely refuse telling your parents where you work?

I would just straight up tell them how it is: Sorry, but I would prefer that you don't know where I work. I feel like you haven't handled this information very professionally in the past [like ...
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131 votes
Accepted

How do I tell a co-worker that just because something is a hobby doesn't mean I want to do it for free?

I think you already said all that really needed to be said when you said: No. "No" is a complete sentence. You're not always required to justify yourself when saying "no". I think this qualifies ...
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  • 54.7k
129 votes
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Dealing with / extricating yourself from having to listen to a superior's xenophobic rants

Something that worked for me, when I was working in construction, was to subtly redirect the rant. It was effective against a wide variety of divisive rants and it has helped me survive a number of US ...
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  • 54.7k
118 votes
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I'm in a committed relationship and I'm being hit on in the workplace - how do I stop it without bringing it to HR?

It's hard to deal with someone in a respectful manner if they themselves are not giving you respect. In this situation I would recommend being blunt and get directly to the point when refusing him. ...
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110 votes
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How to address a double standard where my religious colleagues consider it OK to discuss religion, but then ask me not to?

I am an atheist, I know many atheists and people of other religions personally and have witnessed many "discussions" turn into full on yelling matches, which is why I refuse to participate unless I am ...
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109 votes

How to ask a vegan to stop telling me about veganism because I am not interested in it?

Tell them just what you told us. Arguing is obviously not productive. My sister is attempting to become a vegan, and many of my friends and teammates are either vegans or vegetarians. I've found that ...
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  • 9,025
92 votes
Accepted

How do I deal with a client who doesn't respect me?

How do I ... earn his respect ...? Short and sweet: Don't. As long as he isn't outright rude, derogatory, mean, hostile, you name it - treat him with respect to follow your ethics, and let him ...
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  • 3,752
89 votes
Accepted

How to stop a colleague from talking to me about work when I'm on my lunch break?

How can I interrupt a colleague, and stop them from discussing work with me until after my lunch break without being rude? Especially if you're eating a hot meal, where I'm from (Netherlands) it's ...
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  • 33.8k
87 votes
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How can I stop my friend from replying "anything" when asking them what they'd like to eat?

First of all, you've stated you asked 'where do you want to go' and that if he answers 'Wherever', you have asked if there are restrictions/preferences on his side. I don't know how you asked, but ...
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  • 33.8k
83 votes
Accepted

How do I respond to racist remarks from a coworker?

I feel like what you did is one of the most positive things you can do in this situation for a couple of vital reasons. You avoided escalating an awkward situation into a heated debate You want to ...
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  • 22.6k
83 votes

How to gently turn down a female coworker who asked for a sperm donation?

You just say, "I'm honored you thought of this. I'm sorry, that's not possible" and don't offer any further explanation or reason. Generally people want reasons to try to work around them; if you ...
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  • 32.3k
76 votes

Requesting time off to attend a Pride event

It sounds like your boss is a little nosier than many, but you don't need to reveal details. I've used the following framing when I've needed to request days off but didn't want to say way (for ...
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75 votes

How to ask a vegan to stop telling me about veganism because I am not interested in it?

I've had to deal with this issue in a few different contexts, from friends to people I've dated, even with complete strangers... My approach is usually pretty simple and direct. I respect your ...
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  • 54.7k
74 votes

How do I tell my teammate to stop replying to emails not addressed to him?

Since you're sure this isn't some automated out-of-office notice script running haywire, you probably should have a word with the person in question. Phrase it not as you being annoyed by them (even ...
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  • 10.7k
72 votes
Accepted

How to convince my senior about offering a favor to a client?

Your senior already gave you the answer: He denied and said that we'll consider that if they ask us on their own. Just relay that to the client: Hey, I talked with my senior and he said we'll ...
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