By Joan Ko
There are two types of co-workers. First are those who make your daily 9-to-5 somehow bearable and, to an extent, even make you excited to spend your day in the office. On the other hand, there are some horrible ones who make your work life a living hell, period.
You’re stuck with the people you work with for 40+ hours a week, and spending time in close quarters with a person you just can’t seem to click with can be a lot tougher. If an escape of any sorts is not an option for you, here’s a rundown of things that you can try to alleviate your office situation before you burst into oblivion yourself.
1. Evaluate the reason why you're not getting along with someone. Before you go full-on beast mode over your co-worker, find out where your dispute is stemming from. Assumptions and prejudices should be put aside! The first thing to assess is what exactly has he or she done to trigger that feeling of annoyance. Ask yourself “Do they even know they’re annoying me?” to be sure that you are not just reacting adversely because of a stressful deadline, a thing he or she commented that only you seem to have taken to heart, or simply because he or she smiles less than you do. Always give others the benefit of the doubt!
2. Make an effort. Be interested to find out more about your gnarly co-worker. Don’t let your first impression dictate how you’ll be for the rest of eternity. You might want to try asking questions about previous jobs, which universities you went to, or even start by asking what he or she had for lunch. Let simple questions help you gauge if there’s a chance to hit the reset button and turn your rocky start into a smoother-sailing journey at work. Who knows—you might even be looking at your new coffee buddy!
3. Eye on the prize. If you catch this coworker whispering to someone else or giggling over a text message, don’t get paranoid! Not everything he or she does is evil or directed towards you! The best way to block distraction off is to focus on what you need to finish for the day. Pay no mind to the little things that tick you off and keep your eye on the real target: your job! Now, scoot along and focus!
4. Get advice from somebody else. If trying to deal with the person isn’t working and avoiding them still makes the problem hard to handle, consider asking for your boss or supervisor’s advice—but use this time to ask for an opinion, rather than a chance to gossip!
5. Avoid office drama. Even if you don’t like each other, remember that you need each other to stay productive in the workplace. Perhaps, it's time to develop a strategy that minimizes your interaction about personal stuff, keep a safe distance, and just stick to meeting your deadlines and staying respectful of each other’s time and boundaries.
When they said we can choose our friends, but not our family—it should be expanded to include our officemates. This is a known fact! Remember that no matter how much they annoy you, find a way to get along with everyone and don't spread the bad vibes. Be the bigger person and take the high road! If you start losing patience, always reflect on how your attitude of negativity towards others might affect your rapport in the office. Keep it professional, and use your energy on more productive things!
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