Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I work at an independent coffee shop. The only thing I don't love about my job is a co-worker who will not communicate with me unless I have a work question. Then he is condescending. At first, I tried to make conversation with him, but he would give one-word answers. It was making me feel so bad that I just gave up. Now we work in frozen silence. The thing is, he is very chatty and affable with the customers. I can think of nothing I've said or done to offend him. I am a competent worker, helpful and friendly. I can't talk directly to him about this because anything I can think to say sounds foolish. Now I am thinking of telling the owner, "I like everything about working here except the hours I have to work with this person. In fact, I dislike working with him so much that it's making me want to quit." But what is she supposed to do with that? He has been there a long time, and he's a good, reliable worker. She's not going to fire him, and if she speaks to him about this, it will make things even more uncomfortable. Any ideas? BaristaDEAR BARISTA: Your co-worker is doing his job, which is to serve customers. He may be gaslighting or deliberately trying to bully you by freezing you out, and you are doing an awesome job of taking the bait to the extent that you are considering quitting.
Your co-worker doesn't want to be your chatty friend. Obviously, your day would be much more pleasant if you two were buddies, but this is not a requirement of the job, unless his treatment has a direct impact on customers or services.
I suggest being brave enough to confront this yourself, without involving the boss. Tell him, "You don't seem comfortable with me. Is there a problem?" If he blows you off, you should tell yourself that he is just a curmudgeon. Poor guy. Do as "Mr. Sunshine" does, and save your charming and enjoyable interactions for the customers.