I have a few coworkers that always seem to be at my desk talking to me. Whether I’m in the middle of a task and obviously working or I’m trying to talk on the phone or I’m having lunch or a snack at my desk, these folks keep coming up to socialize. I like them, and our office environment is pretty casual, so I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but how can I make them stop bothering me when I’m trying to work or eat at my desk?

Not-So-Chatty Kathy

Dear Not-So-Chatty Kathy,

I can’t begin to explain how much I understand where you’re coming from. In my last office job, I had to deal with the same thing—coworkers coming up and hanging over your desk and socializing endlessly, even if you clearly were in the middle of working on something, or had your lunch out, visible, and getting cold on your desk. Thankfully, there are a few ways to drive them off without being a jerk, or psyche them into leaving you alone. Here are a few of them.

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