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Colleague Problems

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Hudd1, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. I believe a colleague (who makes up half of the team - I'm the other half!) is a compulsive liar. I researched it and it fits perfectly. She doesn't claim her dad's a secret agent or anything but I have realised, in the time we've worked together, she's told me a number of things that aren't true. She often tells me things about college policy that are false...until I realised what was going on there was a chance I would act on her assertion and then find myself in bother. I'm sure she's even given me false information about a safeguarding issue.
    I believe it's not malicious. She has very low self esteem and apparently that's part of the problem. I think she often says things to appear to be an expert. She has less teaching experience than me.
    The advice I've been given by other colleagues is to write everything down and check out anything she tells me. That's a lot of effort. I was also advised to tell my manager but when I've tried to talk to him before he's made it clear he's not willing to listen. It seems there's a culture of not managing people where I work.
    I believe my only option is to find another job but has anyone got any suggestions?
  2. You sound like the nutter here. You're researching your colleague for what horrid condition she might have?! Maybe she has said a few things that are wrong but Im sure we all do this sometimes thought business, tiredness, genuinely not aware you're wrong. I think you do need to get a new job if only to give this poor person a break from you.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    I don't see why you would need to get another job because of this person?
    You've been teaching longer - I don't understand why you are so reliant on them for information?
  4. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I agreed. Your colleague is a fantasist, a manipulator or both.
  5. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Surely you have better things to do with your time?

  6. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Is the colleague the same colleague you had a problem with in March?

  7. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Actually I sympathise with you. I have a friend with this problem... and that can be problematic at times. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to work with someone when you are always on your guard about the validity of iinformation. I would be tempted to take two different steps... on one side try to find something to praise them for... while you choose some piece of incorrect info and bring the error to their attention in a friendly way... perhaphs suggesting that you too had got it wrong at first. It might just break the cycle... the one where they tell you something... you look unsure and they take another step away from reality to push thier position.
  8. ...tell her to FAKK off...works for me everytime...and I still have friends!!!
  9. I've got one of those as well. I think there are two motives: to avoid the blame when things go wrong; to big herself up/be noticed, admired (etc). And yes, I do think it stems from low self-esteem.
    Different people handle it different ways and I'm beginning to see which are most successful. I don't handle her well: I get angry and challenge her which results in tears and more lies and makes her look like a victim (because she is a very plausible liar). Some colleagues don't stand up to her at all and allow her to alternately patronise and defame them.
    A couple of my colleagues handle her well: they challenge obvious lies by asking questions in friendly, non-accusatory ways e.g. "Oh but didn't you say last week ....?" "Have I misunderstood? I thought ...." "Oh really, when did she say that? I must not have heard her" (etc). The trick is that they remain completely calm and good-natured but don't allow themselves to be fobbed off with evasions. I can't do it because I can't pretend I don't know she's lying through her teeth and I'm not good at hiding my irritation.
    So that's my advice: pick her up on the most important lies and don't let her wriggle out of it but remain calm and friendly while you do it. Should be a cinch ; )

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