One of your co-workers is originally from Saudi Arabia. You like him, and the two of you work well together. However, he stands so close when you speak with him that it makes you very...

One of your co-workers is originally from Saudi Arabia. You like him, and the two of you work well together. However, he stands so close when you speak with him that it makes you very uncomfortable. Do you tell him of your discomfort, or do you try to cover it up?

Asked on by shahidha

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gsenviro's profile pic

gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In my experience and opinion, it is always better to inform your colleagues and co-workers of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. 

In many cultures, physical closeness (when speaking to someone) is a sign of comfort level (closer you stand, better friends you are). Yet, in some other cultures, people maintain a certain distance when speaking to each other. One has to respect the co-worker and their beliefs. However, it if makes you uncomfortable, especially if you are from a different culture and not used to such closeness, do inform your colleague in as friendly terms as possible. Maybe he is just not aware that you are unaccustomed to it. A good friend or colleague will respect your wishes, just as you should try to understand their actions. I once had a friend who used to eat a lot of garlic and had a bad smell. I offered him some mints for couple of days and he got the message. So just try being frank with your colleague. 

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