Career Woman

You’ve got this: How to stop a colleague jumping into your conversations


Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to

The person who sits closest to me is always jumping into my conversations with others.  Both the work related ones and the personal ones.  How can I stop him without seeming rude? Christina


Greetings from Cancun! I am sending good vibes of love and peace your way.  Having this experience has been a gift to remind me that we all need spaces to retreat to that are safe, quiet and life giving. Your interactions with your coworker seem to be a space that robs you of your peace which is unfair.  I realize that work isn’t the place that we go to for all of our needs but when it becomes adversarial, it isn´t healthy.  It is interesting that you are concerned with being rude to your colleague when the reality is that he obviously doesn´t have boundaries.  He doesn´t mind inserting himself in your conversations without being aware or caring how this impacts you.

Boundaries are important.  Whether we realize it or not, we teach people daily how to treat us.  People apply their rules of engagement to situations, using their lens of the world to deal with what they encounter.  Unless they are told otherwise, they will do what they are allowed or given permission to do.  Often, we inadvertently allow others to encroach on our space for whatever reason—fear of rejection, desire of approval, or our inability to articulate our needs.  This situation isn´t so much about your coworker as much as it is a mirror for you to think about your boundaries in your life.  This is a real opportunity to teach him how you desire and need to be treated.

You can be respectful.  There is no need to be rude but let him know what you need in order to have a great working relationship and that is for him to not interrupt your conversations. And if he does it after your talk, remind him quickly and privately of the offense.  If he continues to do it publically even after your conversation to resolve it, then address it publically.  He´s been given the freedom to do this and so you will need to reinforce your needs consistently because you are now teaching him what you need.  I´m excited for you because this could be the beginning of something so much bigger for you.  You Got This, Christina!

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe. WFAA Attention Series: Froswa Booker Drew on Vimeo

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