Dear Lola,

One of my coworkers has a terrible habit of chatting with me when I’m using the restroom. I have tried to answer her in single syllables, even going so far recently as to not answer her while I’m in the stall. She remains undaunted and continues to engage me in single-sided conversations. This week was the final straw! Every time I went to the restroom, my coworker followed behind me. She didn’t even use the restroom herself, instead standing near the sinks and facing the stall I was in so she could have a conversation. I was mute. Mute with rage. How can I politely convey to this idiot that she shouldn’t be badgering me while I’m going to the restroom?


Polite Polly Needs to Pee

A cartoon rendering of Lola riding a scooter saying "I'm on my way to help the humans!"

Dear Polite Polly,

I have to say, the phrase ‘mute with rage’ and calling your coworker an idiot has confirmed that you have moved past the polite phase of confrontation. You are liable to have an extreme meltdown within the next week if you do not handle this problem. Though I must admit, I’m curious as to how you allowed a problem to become so consuming that you find yourself in a toilet stall, pants around your ankles, seething with a pent up rage that no water can quench.

Pull your pants up and stop this madness!

Be blunt with your coworker. Explain to her that chatting in the restroom makes your bladder nervous, and when your bladder is nervous it forgets how to properly do its job. Tell her this even if it is a bald-faced lie. You may want to lay it on a bit thick, starting with an apology for not having spoken up sooner. You can gush over her as much or as little as you like, depending on how well you want this work friendship to blossom. However, I feel that I have to be honest with you – which you should have been from the start of this bathroom extravaganza!

Your coworker is not going to take this rejection well.

She’s heard you tinkle and knows your bladder can perform with an audience. You always have the option of staging an elaborate scheme over the next month where you go into the bathroom and sit on a toilet without peeing, allowing your coworker to bear witness to your bladder’s suddenly shy personality. While this could work, I think the muted rage is more likely to explode out of your throat in a screeching sound that would make any horror movie star envious.

Your coworker is probably too dense for this plan to succeed anyways.

Just imagine how dense she must be to follow someone into a bathroom and talk incessantly while they sit in muted rage. Then again, the bathroom door probably concealed the majority of your rage. Concealed rage aside, your coworker held down entire conversations without your once having to provide input. That speaks to the level of awareness she has.

Best to blame your bladder and hope she walks away without animosity.

You can bake her cookies if the guilt overwhelms you. Or follow her into the bathroom for a chat the next time she visits. Let’s see how she likes it when someone stands outside the stall door…


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