20 Secrets Your Work Colleagues Desperately Wish They Could Tell You

Chances are, if they always ask if you want a mint, they're not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. That's the consensus from the (anonymous, natch) group of employees interviewed for this story.

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If I ask you, "Do you want a mint?" every time you enter my office, that's my polite way of saying your breath is less than pleasant

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I just haven't figured out how to tell you about your bad breath yet, and I'm trying not to embarrass you or hurt your feelings.

Don't overdo it on scented fragrances

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If I sneeze every time you walk by, your perfume or cologne is too strong. The scent can be overpowering, so please dial it back a bit when you're in close quarters.

While athleisure may be trendy in the fashion world, workout wear isn't appropriate for the office

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So leave the yoga pants, sports bras, jogging pants, and gym shorts for the actual gym, and dress in more professional attire. (These outfit mistakes could cost you the job interview.)

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If you borrow my pen, laptop, iPad, etc., don't forget to return it

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Don't make me tape plastic spoons to my office supplies. This is just one of many things you can do to build trust with your colleagues.

Follow the golden food rule

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If I leave food in the refrigerator with my name on it, it's my lunch—not yours.

And a second rule too

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When I'm eating lunch, don't just reach into my bag and help yourself to a handful of my bites. That's rude (and a little gross). If you want a little piece of my cookie or a couple of chips, please just ask.

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Let me know what you think

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When I ask for your input on a project, I really value your opinion, and I'm open to hearing some constructive feedback from you.

Don't forget about the coffee

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Don't leave a quarter inch of coffee in the carafe and assume someone else will make more. Pitch in, brew another pot, and let's keep the java flowing.

A friendly bathroom reminder

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The bottle of air freshener in the bathroom isn't just a toilet decoration. Enough said. (Brush up on this bathroom etiquette while you're at it.)

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I really admire your fervor to take on new projects

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In case I haven't already told you, your enthusiasm is refreshing and isn't going unnoticed.

Don't dig through my desk when I'm gone for the day

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If you're looking for something specific, text or call me. Otherwise, it looks a little suspicious, and I can tell when you've rifled through my things. Here's 9 items to never keep on your desk at work.

Don't take credit for someone else's work

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This is toxic coworker behavior: If a team member does well on a project, don't claim their accomplishment as your own. Instead, celebrate with them. This creates positive energy and a better vibe in the workplace.

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Learn to listen to others

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Sometimes you need to stop talking and give your colleagues a chance to speak. Contrary to your belief, you're not always right. Start by honing these listening skills.

Can we talk about bodily noises?

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I beg you: Don't walk in my room and belch (or worse). Sure, I can excuse the occasional bodily noise. But if you're doing it almost every time you're in my office, it's annoying. Say, "Excuse me for a minute," and walk out!

If you say you're going to do something, kindly follow through with the task

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Your coworkers are counting on you to finish the job, so don't let them down.

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Your cell phone isn't a necessary appendage

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If I'm trying to have a conversation with you, please be respectful and put your phone down for a few minutes so you can listen to me.

Be thoughtful when ordering food

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If you're going to order food from the new restaurant down the street, ask your team if they want to participate. And make sure you pay for what you ordered; there's seemingly always someone who tries to get out of paying for their portion of the bill.

Clean up after yourself

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Wash your dirty dishes. Don't leave them in the sink for someone else to do for you. We've all got a lot on our plates, so be a team player and share in the responsibilities for maintaining the common areas.

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I know you love your dog, but...

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If you're going to be bring your dog to work, please make sure they're well behaved and won't be disruptive. (The same kind of goes for your kids.)

Don't assume you know more about my job than me

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I don't tell you how to do your job; don't tell me how to do mine. Also, if I decline your offer to help me, it's usually because I'll end up having to redo everything. If I want your help, I'll ask for it.


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