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Getting Along With Difficult Coworkers

We’ve all dealt with difficult coworkers at one time or another. The word difficult really depends on what you deem as bothersome or annoying. If you’re the type of person that loves to gossip, then a gossip at work would not bother you so much. However, if you like to keep to yourself without having to constantly hear about Janice’s relationship troubles or what Steve really did to get his supervisor position, then a gossip would probably be deemed a difficult coworker to you. I’ve dealt with all different types of people in the workplace and the key to getting along with difficult coworkers is communication.

Say the office gossip is once again talking your ear off about everyone’s business in the workplace. What I have learned to do in these situations is set some boundaries as to when and where it is appropriate to discuss those types of things. Ideally the workplace is definitely not appropriate, but sometimes people just cannot keep information to themselves. So, if there is downtime or a break during the day and this person wants to tell you the personal doings of everyone in the office, just listen. Do not agree or disagree or take sides. Just listen. More often than not, office gossips want someone who will “ooh” and “aah” along with them and take sides. Once they figure out that you are not like that, your lunches will be free from having to listen to things that are none of your business.

Getting along with difficult coworkers can be hindered when that coworker is someone intent on one-upping you every single chance they get. We’ve all dealt with coworkers who are obscenely competitive about anything and everything. Healthy competition in the workplace is fine, but some coworkers tend to take it too far. Getting along with the over-competitive person in the office may be more difficult since they have probably inadvertently isolated themselves by making everything into a competition. In this case, if it seems as if you will never see eye to eye, just be cordial. It is the most you can do and at least you will still be professional.

Finally, the most uncomfortable coworker situation I have been in is with the “touchy feely” worker. The person who will hug anyone and everyone and has no sense of personal space. In this case, I suggest either having a conversation upfront about how their behavior makes you uncomfortable or just slowly moving away every time you see this person coming. Either way will work but the former will probably be quicker. There are various other types of people you will encounter but in my experience, getting along with these difficult coworkers is the trickiest.

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Stephanie Becerra

Stephanie Becerra is a Chicago native. She spent a couple of years working in social services before she realized that her passion was in writing. She is now writing full-time. When she has free time she enjoys reading and also listening to records on her dusty record player.