We’ve always been told that asking questions is a good thing. At a young age, you were told to never be afraid to ask questions because that is how you learn. In middle school, you raised your hand to signal the need for clarification. In college, when you were unclear on what your professor was talking about, you asked questions to get a better understanding of the subject matter. When you landed your first post grad job, you asked questions to make sure you were doing your job quickly and efficiently.
See Also: How to Deal with Sarcastic Coworkers
As a new employee, it is perfectly understandable for you to ask the same question more than once. It is actually expected and no one will judge you. At some point, the information will stick and you will no longer be seen as the new kid in the office.
But there are some co-workers that, for some reason, can’t retain information. Everything you seem to say to them goes in one ear and out the other. You can’t help but categorize these colleagues as dumb. Their inability to store information and their annoying habit of asking the same questions over and over again, has driven you to write them off. Here are six ways to deal with dumb colleagues that ask recurrent questions.
1. Teach Them
You may have explained to them how to tackle a difficult account yesterday, but maybe you didn’t explain it in a language they understand. Dumb it down for them and lower your use of colorful words. Create a PowerPoint or come up with a song to cater to their simple minds.
2. Create Handouts
In order to deal with dumb colleagues that ask recurrent questions, you have to get creative. Visuals. Everyone loves good visuals. Create handouts for your co-workers to carry around with them. Hopefully, their incapacity to retain information doesn’t hinder their ability to read. Whenever they have questions, they will no longer come to you. The gorgeous handout, you designed, is there to answer the questions you answered for them the other day.
3. Ignore Them
Somehow, the handouts you made were “misplaced” and now your co-workers are back. Maybe the best way to deal with dumb colleagues that ask recurrent questions is to just ignore them. Eventually, they will pick up on your irritation and go pester someone else.
4. Talk to Supervisor
Ignoring them doesn’t work, so it’s time to take it to the next level. Have a conversation with your supervisor and talk about how your colleague is keeping you from getting your job done. Try not to bad mouth them too much; instead try to focus on how to help your struggling peer. With the help of your supervisor, you may be able to come up with a satisfactory solution that doesn’t involve getting your colleague fired -even though they probably deserve it.
5. Embarrass Them
I don’t necessarily recommend this approach but some people need a little tough love. If you embarrass them in front of all of their peers, they will try very hard to remember everything you say from then on.
6. Pray For Them
I’m not religious, but if you are, praying for a miracle may be your best solution. If all else fails, put everything in God’s hands and hope for the best. Obviously, there is nothing else you can do.
Dealing with dumb colleagues that ask recurrent questions is difficult but now you have the tools to cope. Share your experiences in the comments.