There’s a lot of things you get to choose about your professional life — your job, employer, company location — but your colleagues isn’t one of them. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to work alongside an amazing group of people, but it doesn’t always work that way.
Even one bad apple thrown into the mix can make your workday miserable. Whether the person is a bully, know-it-all or just plain negative, it’s hard to work with someone you can’t stand.
Struggling to deal with an awful co-worker can take a major toll on your personal and professional health. The last thing you want is to allow this toxic person to negatively impact your productivity or overall life happiness, so learn how to take this weight off your shoulders.
Talk to the Person
There’s a chance your colleague doesn’t even realize the tension they’re causing. With a perpetually challenging personality, they’re probably not well-received in most situations, so pulling them aside for a chat could do the trick. Keep the discussion private, between the two of you, because involving multiple people will put them on the defense. Calmly explain how their behavior is impacting you and give them the floor for an honest reply. Work together to find common ground so you can put this behind you and move forward.
Keep Your Distance
If having a nice chat with the person doesn’t work, try to limit your interactions with them. As long as it doesn’t negatively impact your work, consider requiring fewer face-to-face exchanges, such as emailing questions instead of stopping by their desk. Be cordial when you see them, but keep your exchanges strictly professional. Creating space between the two of you should significantly improve your working relationship.
Explain the Situation to Your Boss
Sometimes, knowing how to respond to an impossible colleague is above your pay grade. If all else fails and the person is still making your workday miserable, let your manager know what’s going on. This is especially crucial if the person is harassing you or otherwise intentionally behaving in an unprofessional manner. Your boss might talk to the person themselves or loop HR in on the matter.
Rise Above It
At the end of the day, only you can control your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Miserable people enjoy bringing others down with them, so vow not to let the person get inside your head for another minute. Take the high road when interacting with them, and leave the office at the end of the day with a clear conscience. Focus on all the good in your life and give your terrible colleague the minimal thought they deserve.
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