After overhearing one of her coworkers call her annoying, Tara Schmidt of Nashville, Tennessee, made a diligent effort to directly address the situation and mitigate her reputation, but met with little success.
"It was disappointing," said Tara of her failed efforts. "But it is what it is. Sometimes you just have to be the bigger person."
Tara explained that the first thing she did upon learning that her colleague, Brenda Harper, found her annoying was to approach her co-worker in person, at her desk.
"I thanked her for her honesty," said Tara,"and told her that I would be very open to feedback. I also apologized for anything I'd done that she might have found annoying."
Unfortunately, however, Tara's apology was not accepted with good grace.
Brenda replied, "It's not one thing, it's everything."
Keeping a cool head despite the emotionality of the conversation, Tara took a breath. Then, she said, "I find that hurtful. But I do appreciate that you respect me enough to be so frank."
Brenda responded, "I don't respect you at all. No offense, but I'm just not a big fan." She went on to ask Tara to please just stay away from her.
"I hear you," said Tara. She reiterated that she appreciated Brenda's honesty, even if it was painful to hear, and emphasized her own receptiveness to constructive criticism. She further stated that, even if the sentiment wasn't reciprocated, she respected Brenda.
"It's not," said Brenda. "Reciprocated. And for the record, you're more annoying than ever."
"Thank you for the clarification," said Tara. "I'm glad we could clear the air."
At that point, recognizing that her colleague could use some space, Tara returned to her desk.
Despite its less-than-ideal outcome, Tara says that she says that she feels good about having had the conversation with her coworker.
"Sometimes you need to let go attachment to results," she said. "Attitude is everything. Baby steps."