I was “chatting around the water cooler” after lunch, and during the conversation leared that a co-worker had moved in with her boyfried. Reportedly this happened months ago, but I was unaware of it. I’m not a big workplace gossip, you see, and, in reciprocal fashion, don’t tend to disclose much of my own personal life. I keep the discussion relatively superficial, e.g. weekend recaps, recent movies, plans for summer vacation, that sort of light fare. I like my private life and work life to have a healthy distinction, and generally consider it a matter of mutual courtesy to not pry into more personal matters of others, regardless of whether or not they’re willing to share such information.
My ignorance of what was apparently a widely-discussed topic surprised the aforementioned co-worker, and she made a comment, something along the lines of “Boy, you do keep your head down around here, don’t you!”
So, my buttoutsky habits seem to have earned me a reputation among the sewing circle that I was unaware of, but should have guessed at, I suppose. The inescapable connotation is that I’m deliberately aloof. Which, I suppose, I am, come to think of it. I guess among the majority who aren’t as scrupulous as myself about not mixing certain intimacies with work, my behavior must seem a bit odd, or even standoffish. Both the desire to grant and receive a level of respect for privacy seems to lack appreciation, or even recognition.
So I’m wondering what you think: Is the habit of minding one’s own effing business, to you, a respectful practice, or one that suggests the individual simply doesn’t care? Do you see questions about, say, your love life, or the more personal status of family members, to be a sign of requisite caring, or an unwelcome intrusion into private matters? Is it simply bad form to keep co-workers at arm’s-length as a rule, or is not mixing business with pleasure a skill to be honed? What say you?