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Old 03-12-2019, 07:44 PM
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What do you do when you don't like someone for no "good" reason?


Do you challenge your negative feelings head-on because you realize that the person is probably not as unlikeable as they seem?

Or do you indulge your dislike by avoiding the person?

(Or do you complain about them anonymously on the internet under the guise of looking for advice? )

I have a coworker who is sweeter than honey-flavored cotton candy. But she seriously works my nerves for some reason. Her sweetness can be cloying and borderline phony, but I don't think it's that. If I had to take a WAG, it would be that she exudes low self-esteem in just about everything she says and does. Perhaps she reminds me of my own vulnerability/insecurity. But rather than feeling sympathy and compassion (which I really want to feel), I feel repulsed and exasperated.

Like, today she asked me to help her send out meeting invitations via email. She probably said "I just don't know how to do it" about fifty times while I walked her through all the steps (literally telling her where to click, what to type, what to pull down, etc.). She thanked me afterwards, and I told her "no problem". Because it wasn't a problem at all. But I was left wishing someone would put her out of her misery already. Then I felt guilty that I could think such a mean thing.

It seems like her every quirk, no matter how harmless, gets under my skin. She sometimes verbalizes the lyrics to the songs she's listening to through her earbuds. Sometimes she grunts. Sometimes she whispers. Sometimes she audibly sings, but in a low voice. There's no reason for these soft vocalizations to be any more irritating than the whir of the copy machine or the phone conversations happening all around me, and yet her noises make me stabby. She also has a tendency to whine and speak in baby talk. I know some have speculated that baby talk in adult women is an indicator of childhood abuse, and I wouldn't be surprised if my coworker was a victim of abuse. But again, instead of feeling sympathy and compassion when she speaks like that, I feel anger. The bully in me wants to yell at her "JUST LISTEN TO HOW PATHETIC YOU'RE SOUNDING RIGHT NOW!!"

She's never been my most favorite person in the world, but my repulsion has intensified since we started being cubicle neighbors. We have gone out to lunch together a bunch of times and done some other "pro-social" things, so it's not like I avoid her. But no matter what I do, the hate keeps growing. I worry that one day she's going to start noticing it in my facial expressions.

I'm curious if anyone else has experienced something similar. If so, how did you handle it? Did the hate just build or did it eventually dissipate? I've dealt with people I didn't like before, but in those cases my dislike seemed proportionate and justified. I don't know if that's the case here, and I feel awful about it.

Any advice?
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:46 PM
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I try to remain civil and limit my contact as much as possible.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:58 PM
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I adhere to the “fake it until you make it” method for people for whom I feel dislike for no “good” reason, where I know it would be to my benefit to get over it, e.g. the person reports to me or I work closely with them. I try to treat them as if I like them quite well, and that seems to evoke more likable behavior, and it builds on itself. Showing appreciation and sharing humor are big parts of it. I know it sounds Pollyanna-ish but it really does work pretty well. If the person I dislike is someone I don’t have a need to interact with then I just steer clear as much as possible. I try to always be at least courteous because it’s a small world and people who are peripheral now might move into my orbit next week, and why make life harder for myself.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:09 PM
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You don't need a good reason, or any reason at all, to dislike another person. Treat her civilly and leave it at that.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:34 PM
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Eh, imo being generally annoying is an acceptable reason not to like someone. And she does sound annoying. I'd slowly cut down contact and jump at the next opportunity for seat reassignment. You don't have to like everyone. Also, get noise cancelling headphones if your job permits it.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:42 PM
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I don't see anything wrong with someone else's quirks getting under your skin. However, if they're, what others would consider, 'normal', you (well, I) do your best to internalize it and get through the day. If anything, put some feelers out and you might find that they get on everyone's nerves.

Two of the things you mentioned, drive me up the wall as well.
1)Random singing for no effin' reason. Like, do you think you sound good? Cuz you don't. Do you feel like others want to hear you sing? Cuz they don't. Do you not even realize you're doing it? Cuz maybe you could start thinking of others. (I think most don't even realize they're doing it).

2)People that say the same thing over and over. It's like a catch phrase. I don't like it when TV characters have catch phrases and I like it even less when IRL people do it...especially since they inevitably start using it incorrectly.


In any case, you don't have to like everyone and, so far as I'm concerned, you don't have to defend why you don't like someone. Just avoid them when you can. This is a bit more difficult with a co-worker, but with people that stop in once or twice a week at my work, I just go elsewhere. Often I'll even say 'ugh, that guy drives me up the wall, can you please deal with him'. To be fair, I'll deal with people that drive my co-workers nuts, but don't bother me.

I've told many of my employees that everyone is allowed one or two people that they just can't stomach being around for whatever reason. Just leave the area and I'll have someone else deal with them. Now, when 1 or 2 people once or twice a week turns into 5 or 6 people every day, it's going to be a problem. But we all have people we would rather not interact with for any number of reasons and if it means you won't be in a pissy mood for the rest of the day, I'll help where I can.


And, like scumpup said, just be civil. If you lash out at someone or contact your superiors because 'she says the same thing over and over' or 'she quietly sings to herself' and no one else has every said anything, you're gonna be the bad guy.
Over the years, I've had to tell employees they need to find some way to get along or one of them is going to be out of a job. It's unfortunate and I'd prefer not to, but when two employees are at each other's throats all day, there's not much reason to have either of them there since nothing gets done.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
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I don't like it when TV characters have catch phrases and I like it even less when IRL people do it...especially since they inevitably start using it incorrectly.
Well, aren't YOU a Debby Downward!


Me, I'm trying to be this wonderful Hippie Jesus-Freak Laid-Back Dude, accepting of everyone and all their quirks/faults... but screw that. Sometimes you just can't do it. I had this one roommate in college, and 40 years later it still bothers me how much he got on my nerves (sorry, Johnny!).
And I know someone who's annoyed at anything I do or say, and after a couple of decades of trying to build bridges (and after reading this thread), I'm going to give up and settle for civility.


Oh, and sometimes a person is tripping your limbic "primitive brain" to fight-or-flight. I had a student like that, and found out that other students and faculty had the same irrational reaction to him walking in the room. We found out years later that he was full of rage, and ended up dying due to drugs.

Last edited by digs; 03-13-2019 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:17 AM
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I'm the classic runner. I don't like what's happening or who's around, I go. Chicken? Yep. Don't like confrontation. At all.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:29 AM
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Either murder rampage/suicide by cop or start dating her. There is no in between. If you choose the 2nd option, you'll either find true everlasting happiness, or you'll find a legitimate reason to hate her.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I'm curious if anyone else has experienced something similar. If so, how did you handle it? Did the hate just build or did it eventually dissipate? I've dealt with people I didn't like before, but in those cases my dislike seemed proportionate and justified. I don't know if that's the case here, and I feel awful about it.
What you're picking up on is the signals of a social parasite. They demand your attention by not understanding the task at hand. This is understandable, but then they demand your attention by the random grunts and clicks they emit into the environment. And it's not an accident, these are also probes for acceptance. If you ignore them you create tension, if you accept them you validate this kind of behavior. They may or may not know this on a conscious level, but it's habituated into their behavior as a way to maintain psychological safety.

My suggestion is, pay attention to these signals. Be sensitive to their needs. Figure out the patterns of the give-and-take that they seek, and adjust your behavior accordingly. And without overt emotion or hostility, you will frustrate them at every turn. When she says she doesn't understand the task, you say it's not very surprising. When she's singing to her earbuds, you interrupt and ask what song she's singing, and you remark that you couldn't possibly tell. When she mutters under her breath, you ask her to repeat herself until everyone can hear what she's saying. When she unpacks her lunch, you ask what on earth is that ungodly smell.

You have tools at your disposal, use them.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:27 AM
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My suggestion is, pay attention to these signals. Be sensitive to their needs. Figure out the patterns of the give-and-take that they seek, and adjust your behavior accordingly. And without overt emotion or hostility, you will frustrate them at every turn. When she says she doesn't understand the task, you say it's not very surprising. When she's singing to her earbuds, you interrupt and ask what song she's singing, and you remark that you couldn't possibly tell. When she mutters under her breath, you ask her to repeat herself until everyone can hear what she's saying. When she unpacks her lunch, you ask what on earth is that ungodly smell.

You have tools at your disposal, use them.
I've decided the next time she plays the "I'm helpless!" tape on an endless loop, I'm going to say something like, "I don't like when you talk like that."

It communicates my feelings in a honest way, without revealing why I feel the way I do. I don't actually care if she thinks she's helpless. She's actually done a great job of making me agree with her. I'm just tired of hearing about it in every interaction.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:26 AM
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At some point in my mid 50s I decided I was old enough that I could pretty much do what I wanted. Among other things; I got rid of all my ties and my three suits (one of which had never been worn) and I stopped pretending I liked people who I did not like.

Recently I was sitting at a table in a bar drinking beer with two friends, when "Frank" walked in and joined us. I do not enjoy Frank's company, so I got up and walked off, chatting with others, reading posted events, looking over the latest bottled beers, etc.

After I noticed Frank had left I rejoined my friends at the table. They were both jealous of my attitude, but both said they'd feel too awkward doing anything similar.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
I try to remain civil and limit my contact as much as possible.

Another vote for basically this; I also refuse to share my attitude with anyone including close friends. There have been people in my life that as soon as I met them I just wanted to have myself steam-cleaned - instant dislike. But even my wife couldn't have named one until long after any contact with them (work, whatever) was over.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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I try to remain civil and limit my contact as much as possible.
This. Now that I'm retired, I don't have to put up with too many people. That might be the second best thing about being retired. The first is not having to get up at a specific time and put on clothes. (Is that two reasons?)

The "sweet as sugar" type drives me nuts. Usually women, but occasionally a guy will be Uriah-Heep*-obsequious. Yuck. Also people (usually women) who 1) constantly put themselves down ("I'm so stupid!") and/or 2) have a perpetual smile on their faces even when they're telling you seriously bad news (like someone got a bad diagnosis or even died). I cannot stand to be around this kind of behavior.



* Dickens, that is.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:05 AM
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You don't need a good reason, or any reason at all, to dislike another person. Treat her civilly and leave it at that.
Agreed. The way you couched your OP implies that one should somehow feel guilty about such a thing. If someone gets on my nerves and annoys the hell out of me, that's "good reason" enough for me to reduce my interaction to limited civil contact.
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:37 PM
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You don't need a good reason, or any reason at all, to dislike another person. Treat her civilly and leave it at that.
Agreed. I trust my instincts and don't need to be aware of any "good reason" for my antipathy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I'm the classic runner. I don't like what's happening or who's around, I go. Chicken? Yep. Don't like confrontation. At all.
Same here! Nature and nurture conspired to make me a person (quoting my shrink) "who'll do just about anything to avoid confrontation." Almost literally "anything."
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:51 PM
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You don't need a good reason, or any reason at all, to dislike another person. Treat her civilly and leave it at that.
Agreed. No one has a right to be liked by someone else. However, as she's a co-worker, this makes things a little more complicated than if she was just someone with whom you interacted socially, because things like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro
The bully in me wants to yell at her "JUST LISTEN TO HOW PATHETIC YOU'RE SOUNDING RIGHT NOW!!"
...could wind up being construed as harassment, or creating a hostile work environment, if you actually do them. Even if they didn't reach the level of harassment, the last thing you want is for something to get escalated to your manager, or to HR. So, my advice would be to tread lightly.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:15 PM
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I dont know if I'd say i challenge my negative feelings about someone as much as i examine them, try to understand why i feel the way i do. Generally speaking (but by no means always) I've found that those intial feelings are ultimately validated if given enough time. But I've also but shown to be totally wrong enough times to know not to trust those feelings without some introspection.

My best friend is a perfect example. When i first met him i found him to be loud, brutish and kind of arrogant. Now, those things all ended up being true but they were part of a much more complicated, funny, *trustworthy* and hyperintelligent person that i am lucky to call my friend.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 03-13-2019 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:28 PM
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Another vote for try and be civil and avoid them as much as possible.

Last time a co-worker triggered something like that for me, partly due to being just that bit too needy and keen to be friends, he got fired, just after I quit, for scamming another co-worker out of half a month's wages, as well as running out of grace period and excuses for providing documentation for a background check. I have to admit, that was kinda satisfying when I found out. Said scam victim had actually mentioned she got the same vibe off him, but felt sorry for the guy and ignored it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 04:16 PM
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I vent to my partner. Then try to focus on their good points. I also try and think about why they are doing what they are doing, what they are likely feeling, and what they are trying to achieve. That helps me take it less personally.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:49 AM
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I maintain that everyone deserves to be treated with respect until they have proven otherwise.

In the workplace, there is one woman I do not like to deal with. I answer her questions and that is it. I do not get into conversations or discuss personal matters with her.

As I tell new people "You have to get along with people. Nobody is saying you have to like them."
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:14 AM
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She sometimes verbalizes the lyrics to the songs she's listening to through her earbuds. Sometimes she grunts. Sometimes she whispers. Sometimes she audibly sings, but in a low voice.
That falls under "treating a common area as if it was her own space", which it isn't and it's not acceptable. I do tend to do that same stuff, and I've had coworkers who shared the tendency; I stop it when I notice myself doing it, never saw anybody react with anything other than "oops, sorry! " when anybody pointed it out. It's simply not appropriate, same as it wouldn't be appropriate to go to the office in nothing but underwear (no matter how clean and pretty). What's OK in one's own space isn't always OK in a shared area.




In general I do challenge myself to "shut up and grow up", but when something specific bothers me I also ask myself if it's normal to be bothered by it (being bothered by someone humming is normal; being bothered because someone's beard is untrimmed is not) and will call people on behavior that's not "just me being picky", it's them being impolite.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:46 AM
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I am a happy go lucky person 99% of the time. It is hard to piss me off; I let a lot of the little shit slide, it's not worth it. But I'm no pushover, I stand my ground when the line is crossed. That said, there are some people who cannot cope with the concept that people can be happy most of the time. The problem is theirs, not mine. You want to go through life as a sore, angry, disgruntled prick, be my guest, but don't project it onto me. You are the asshole for disliking me because I'm enjoying life.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:16 PM
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You're coworkers. You're going to need to be around her no matter what, so there really isn't a "stay away" option. For the annoying things that she shouldn't be doing (singing with her music out load, for example), I'd kindly let her know it bugs me. She likely doesn't realize that it can bother you. I've known people like that, and I've told them, and they'd been fine with it.

The rest? Yeah, challenge thoughts. Especially the thoughts where you agree with her because she's down on herself. That's a mental health thing. It bothers me that people actually push that as valid, to dislike someone because they are down on themselves.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with minimizing contact with people who bother you. I just don't see that as a viable option. And I think believing someone is bad because they put themselves down is horrible.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:03 PM
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When I analyze WHY someone annoys me, that old saying rings true: "The things that bother you about others are the things you need to work on yourself." Hell, yeah. But that doesn't excuse you, Miss Didn't-Get-Hugged-Enough-And-Laughs-Too-Loud-At-Her-Own-Jokes-Just-Like-Digs-But-Why-Would-You-Want-To-Be-Anything-Like-Him?

Okay, that's half the time. The other half, they are flawed human beings that need to stay out of my way so that I can remain unsullied by their negative vibes as I get under their skin by enjoying life.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:16 AM
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Don't discount intuition. Sometimes someone just feels 'wrong'.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:57 AM
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Don't discount intuition. Sometimes someone just feels 'wrong'.
So true! It might be as simple as "this person just rubs me the wrong way", or they may be a full-on sociopath.

In the OP's case, it sounds like the former. The best thing to do is be civil and interact with her only when and if necessary.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 03-15-2019 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:01 AM
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What you're picking up on is the signals of a social parasite.
What do you mean by "social parasite"?
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:40 AM
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We've all met that person. They suck all the oxygen out of a room. They're always too loud, too gester-ing and flashy. Just too much 'everything', boy I can run fast when i sense that. I have a really gregarious and loudmouthed friend who likes to run interference for me. She's a good tool to utilize. She suffers no fools. Altho' she's not the person I would've ever chosen for a friend she's turned into my best friend. So sometimes your initial instincts can be wrong. I'm trying to make myself give people more than a few minutes. It really is hard to do. I'm working on it everyday. If I'm not careful I will isolate myself from everyone. That's just a sad way to be. I don't want to be like that.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 03-15-2019 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:49 AM
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What do you mean by "social parasite"?
I don't know if this is what HMS Irruncible meant, but my coworker does seem socially "parasite-ish" when she does the over-the-top self-denigration thing. It strikes me as a way for her to force others to feel sorry for her and throw assurances at her. Most people are going to respond to "I'm so stupid, I don't know what I'm doing!" with something nice and reassuring. And most people will be moved to step in and do whatever task needs to be done to placate someone who says something like this.

I think it is very possible my coworker is manipulative without even knowing she's being manipulative.

She's also an over-apologizer--the kind of person who apologizes for the smallest thing, even stuff you don't notice or care about. Even stuff she didn't have any part in. I have told her repeatedly when her apologies aren't warranted, but she still does it. I know this is an anxiety thing, but it also quite feels manipulative. "If I apologize for my every mistake, people will feel sorry for me and won't get angry at me when I really screw up."
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:20 AM
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We've all met that person.
And if we haven't, then maybe we are!
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:05 PM
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I don't know if this is what HMS Irruncible meant, but my coworker does seem socially "parasite-ish" when she does the over-the-top self-denigration thing. It strikes me as a way for her to force others to feel sorry for her and throw assurances at her. ...

I think it is very possible my coworker is manipulative without even knowing she's being manipulative.
That's exactly what I meant by social parasite. I don't know if these people are conscious of what they're doing, there's no way to know their actual thoughts. But from the outside it looks like they've determined to do the most slack, shoddy work they possibly can, and they pre-emptively insulate themselves from accountability by being ingratiating and self-deprecating. It's hard to yell at someone who just brought muffins, it's hard to deprecate someone who is already doing their best at self-deprecation. It almost seems planned. These people piss me off even more than the garden-variety screwups, because their pre-emptive expectation settings means they can't be trained or remedied. Y'know, because they said they're so dumb. It's like they've decided they aren't going to try, but they're also definitely not going to give up their position.

/rant
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