Help! I Can’t Stand My Coworkers!

You love your job. It’s challenging, the commute is manageable, there’s room for advancement and the pay is great.

But your coworkers? Some of them are, to be diplomatic, insufferable. In fact, they are so draining and distracting that they’re undermining your work performance – and making you dread going to the job you otherwise adore.

When you truly can’t stand your coworkers, how can you keep them from driving you nuts and ultimately driving you out the door? Here are a few practical alternatives to make your work life easier:

Give yourself permission to not like someone.

It’s perfectly acceptable to not care for a coworker, as long as you keep those feelings to yourself. Sometimes, simply removing the pressure to like a fellow employee is enough to alleviate some of the stress of working with them.

Instead of focusing on their behaviors, focus on yours.

When someone behaves in a way that’s rude, annoying or subversive, you may not be able to control their actions – but you can control the way you react. Determine exactly what behaviors make you upset or frustrated. Once you identify those triggers, practice a simple relaxation activity (e.g., deep breathing, brief meditation, positive visualization) when they occur to minimize their negative impact on you.

Resist the urge to gripe.

Venting to coworkers about a fellow employee you don’t like may provide short-term relief. Over the long-term, however, making disparaging comments about a coworker may reflect negatively on you – damaging your professional reputation and causing you to be labeled as the difficult one. If you need to vent about a coworker who’s driving you nuts, confide in a family member or a friend outside work.

Consider offering behavior-based feedback.

Personal attacks or angry rants won’t likely get you anywhere with a toxic coworker. Depending on the individual, however, specific feedback that pinpoints behaviors you find offensive may be impactful. If you do decide to approach your coworker, stick to work-related issues. Explain the way the individual’s actions affect your job performance. Keep your emotions in check, and keep your tone respectful and professional.

Want more tips for working with people you don’t necessarily like?

Read PrideStaff’s earlier post, Dealing with Toxic Coworkers. And if you’re looking for a job in a more positive work environment, contact the PrideStaff office in your area. We’ll help you find a great opportunity that suits your personality, interests and career goals.