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How to Deal with an Annoying Co-Worker

I cannot tell you how many times I had coworkers that drove me absolutely bonkers. Whether they were moody, competitive, or just plain talked too much. They would make me dread going into work. Often articles talk about what to do if you have a boss that you can’t stand or maybe an employee that isn’t working out but less often do articles talk about those annoying coworkers.

While trying to avoid these coworkers by taking the long way to the bathroom or sitting at the other end of the conference table can put a bandaid on the situation, they don’t solve it. At the end of the day, you most likely don’t have a choice whether you work with this person or not so you might as well make it work.

In my experience, I tried everything other than the one thing that works—confronting the issue. I tried finding common ground to keep the conversations light, I tired appearing really “busy” or I tried talking to my boss about it. But at the end of the day I was always left with the inevitable which made me uncomfortable, actually talking about the issue. And in every single case, I always felt better after having the talk and our relationship improved dramatically.

How to have the conversation:

  • Set up a meeting in a private office together or ask them to go grab a coffee with you
  • Use the sandwich approach—start with a positive, negative in the middle, end with a positive.
  • Example dialogue; “I want you to know that I really appreciate how hard you’ve worked on this project. I have however felt like my ideas have not gotten the credit that they deserve and wanted to talk to you more about that to get your perspective. (Discuss) Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with this about me as I really value your work.”

While in your dream job you won’t have to deal with these annoying coworkers, for now it’s time to make the best of it. And you never know, you may just make a new friend out of it.