6 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Coworkers

Just like we can’t choose our family, we can’t always choose our coworkers. If you prioritize company culture and end up in a great organization, you may be surrounded by delightful coworkers. But for those who get stuck with rude, inconsiderate, or negative coworkers, here are some tips.

1. Equanimity is Key

According to Psychology, Today equanimity is defined as mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. They assert that equanimity is, “the key to stopping the ricochet effect of rudeness snowballing out of control.” Rude behavior can become a cycle and, while you can’t control someone else’s behavior or tone, avoiding rudeness in response breaks the cycle and can pivot the interpersonal relationship into a more positive place. Basically, don’t sink to their level and they may start to rise to yours.

2. Let it Roll off Your Back

If equanimity doesn’t change their behavior, the best thing you can do is to not take their rudeness to heart. Some people deal with stressful situations by lashing out at others. And many workplaces are filled with stress mines just waiting to be stepped on. For your own sanity’s sake, the easiest thing you can do is come laugh off their rudeness. Shrug your shoulders, let it go, and walk away. That way, it won’t ruin the rest of your day or build resentment that can’t be ignored over time.

3. Explain Your Priorities

If coworkers are inconsiderate of your time and constantly dropping the ball on their responsibilities that you rely on, it’s time to have a frank conversation about your priorities. Explain to them why you need XYZ done by a certain time and how, when it isn’t, the snowball effect plows into your productivity for the rest of the day. If they’re piling onto your already busy workload, explain that you need to do XYZ first and that their new task will only be completed if all other priorities are met first. Explanations are key when you’re dealing with a coworker who is inconsiderate of your time.

4. Implement Tools to Circumvent Lack of Consideration

If your coworker leaves the break room a mess, ask your boss to implement a shared cleaning schedule. That way, everyone is accountable for the cleanliness of their spaces. If your coworker is inconsiderate and makes a lot of noise that distracts you throughout the day, invest in noise-canceling headphones and leave them on your desk for everyday use. A leopard doesn’t change its spots, at least not easily, and an inconsiderate coworker probably won’t change their behavior just because you ask. Instead, implement tools that help you circumvent the effects of their lack of consideration so that they’re less of a distraction and hindrance at work.

5. Don’t Engage in Complaints

Negative coworkers love nothing more than pulling everyone into their complaint spirals. Sometimes, it’s tempting to participate, but this will sour your mood, reduce your motivation, and hinder your job performance. The best thing you can do is to stop engaging with a negative coworkers when they start to complain.

6. Daily Gratitude List

If your negative coworker is souring your mood and dousing your passionate fire for your job with an ice bucket full of water, a daily gratitude list at the end of the day can come in handy. This will help you remind yourself of all of the positive aspects of your job, of why you love what you do, and counteract the negative effects of their outlook so you’ll remain optimistic at home that evening and ready to tackle the day with positive energy the next morning.

If you’re stuck with rude, inconsiderate, or negative coworkers and you’re not yet interested in jumping ship for a new job, these 6 tips will help you deal with your less-than-pleasant situation. Your workday doesn’t have to be ruined every day if you implement these tips!

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