Dear Dr. Mimi:
One of my co-workers frequently shares her personal problems with me and other co-workers. A lot of her issues appear to arise from a distorted view of reality, and she is very negative. When we advise her to see certain problems from a different perspective, she gets defensive. Her daily woes often get in the way of our ability to work! How would you recommend handling this issue?
You all need to focus on yourselves by protecting your time and emotional resources from this negative person. You have done all that you can by being compassionate and supportive. Tell her, “I think you need some fresh perspectives, which can be from other people and/or a professional.” Then say you must return to work and go back to your work. You can also try wearing headphones for a visual cue to help discourage her efforts to connect.