Life is just easier and more pleasant when you get along with your co-workers, but that can be hard to do. Throughout your career, you’re bound to meet some people who you don’t mesh well with and others who are just downright awful. If you’re struggling to play nice with some of your office mates, try these tips and strategies for coping.
Every workplace has at least one annoying co-worker. If you can’t find him, you might be him. Take an honest look at yourself and make sure you’re not unintentionally making yourself difficult to get along with. Don’t leave messes in the break room or come to work when you’re sick. Be supportive of your coworkers and when you do offer criticism of an idea or plan, make it constructive. Treat every day at work like it’s a first date and put your best foot forward.
Close Your Lips
When chatting with co-workers, always watch what you say so as not to offend. Always avoid politics, religion and sex when talking to your peers at work. These topics are the big three when it comes to offending others, but be mindful of other potentially unwanted conversation topics. No one wants to hear about that thing on your back, for instance. If you’re going to mention another co-worker in your conversation, always do so in a positive light and avoid spreading gossip. As your mother always told you, don’t say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say.
Kill Them With Kindness
Sometimes, the best way to handle a grating co-worker is to be nice to them. It’s difficult to do, but people tend to act kindly towards those who are kind to them. Someone who growls at everyone in the office may start being nice to you if you start the ball rolling by treating them well. You may even find yourself getting to know the person and gaining a better understanding of why they do some of the things that annoy you. Once you understand their motivation, you may be able to help alter their behavior or at least accept it.
Talk It Out
If you can do so tactfully, try talking to your co-worker about the problem. People are often unaware that they have a particular habit that others find annoying. Someone might not know, for example, that they speak very loudly on the phone or tend to focus more on negative things than positive ones. Use I messages and be constructive but honest when talking out an issue with a co-worker. It’s often surprising how much difference a simple conversation can make.
When all else fails, you may find that certain behaviors, such as sexual harassment, simply must get reported to management for correction. You can often improve relationships with difficult coworkers on your own, however, and it’s best to do so whenever possible. After all, a reputation as the office tattle tail likely won’t help you get along with your co-workers.