5 Tips For Dealing with Difficult Coworkers

5 Tips For Dealing with Difficult Coworkers

Sometimes it feels as though you spend more time with your coworkers than you spend time with your family and friends. That’s fine when you like your fellow drones – but what if there’s someone you can’t stand? If someone drives you crazy, hiding his or her calculator in a jello mold a la The Office may not be your best solution. Here’s what you can try instead:

1. Calm down

Never take action against someone until you cooled off and have thought it through. You don’t want to do or say something you’ll regret, because then your work environment will be even more tense and uncomfortable. Take a deep breath, count to ten, go to the kitchen and grab some water, or do whatever you have to do to put your mind at ease. Then you may decide that you’re able to go on with your day without doing anything at all.

2. Be clear and direct

Passive aggression never solves a problem with a coworker; it only escalates it. Maybe a coworker repeatedly makes a mistake or does something that drives you crazy. Calmly and professionally address him or her about it rather than subversively doing things to piss the person off. You might find that the person is responsive and quickly alters the behavior.

3. Avoid rumors and gossip

Rumors can be endlessly fun, but also damaging and hurtful. If you earn a lot of negative karma by spreading mean things about people, you may find yourself the next subject of a rumor (ick). Try to stay quiet when people are gossiping and you’ll make fewer enemies.

4. Keep your distance

Some people get really close with their coworkers, hanging out at night and on the weekends. There’s nothing wrong with this – but it’s also okay to keep your distance and keep your professional relationships strictly professional. Maintaining a certain persona at work might make you feel more in control of handling the tougher people. If a coworker (especially one who ranks below you) has had to drag you home after you guzzled a dozen margaritas, you might lose some authority. Also remember that it’s okay to decline personal invitations and take some time for yourself at lunch or happy hour.

5. Keep work at work

Try to shut off your work brain when you leave. This is the toughest one, but if you spend hours venting to your family or friends about work, you’ll find that it takes over your life. It’s okay to vent sometimes, but don’t let difficult coworkers ruin your time off!

Photo: NBC