Advice column: How do I stop a colleague revealing my personal matters?
Dear Ash

I have an issue with an indiscreet colleague, who has a tendency to talk about my private life in group settings. This is making me very uncomfortable. For example, in a recent Zoom call, she began to ask me about my partner’s health while we were waiting for others to join the call but a number of the team had already joined. My partner has been unwell but I didn’t really want to talk about this in front of others. Another time, during a group call she randomly mentioned my recent hospital appointment, and although it was nothing serious I still did not expect to have to talk about it in front of others. I don’t like confrontation and don’t want to embarrass my colleague, but this is grating on me.

Ash replies

It seems your colleague has an inability to filter her thoughts in group settings! To give her the benefit of the doubt, she may just be genuinely unaware that she is causing an issue and may just be showing concern.

However, I suggest that you try to nip this in the bud now by arranging a friendly one-to-one catchup. As you are fearful of confrontation, just try to explain that you are a private person and that you don’t like too many people knowing your personal business. Also just subtly confirm that group Zoom calls don’t allow for appropriate privacy and that you would be happy to catch up with her separately instead.

If the subtle approach doesn’t work, you may just have to refrain from confiding in her about your personal life going forward, as the less she knows, the less likely she will have cause to raise the subject inappropriately in future.

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and other legal professionals, which can be put to them via the editor. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Education, Training & Qualifications team. Email or phone 0131 226 7411 (select option 3).

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