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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

How to Deal With Co-workers You Don't Like

This is an article “How to Deal With Co-workers You Don't Like” by Marc Primo

Whether or not you’ve watched The Office (U.S. version) sitcom, it’s likely you’ve encountered co-workers who you just can’t get along with, no matter what. In the television series, Dwight Shrute is the resident office weirdo who efficiently manages to get on his co-employees’ nerves with his unorthodox principles and antics. However, there’s also a Jim Halpert in every office who manages to keep Dwight’s antics at bay and make everything work for everyone at the end of the day.

As in life, encountering difficult people at the office is inevitable. There’s always someone who might constantly disagree with your ideas, constantly bully you, or elevate your blood pressure without them even knowing it.

How do you deal with such co-workers?

Well, the first thing you should realize is that nobody is perfect—and that includes you. Simply avoiding the ones you don’t like is not enough to solve the problem, as you may sometimes team up for an assignment and work together (which can really be awkward). Also, it might limit your working space which can lead to a lack of motivation in your own performance.

Most successful people live by a few tenets when it comes to dealing with difficult people at the office, and here are some which can help you turn yourself into a regular Jim Halpert.

You can’t please everybody

Dwight and Jim are mortal office rivals but Jim often comes out the bigger man by learning how to keep the rivalry at bay and working together with Dwight when it really matters.

‘Dislike’ is often a two-way street and the sooner you accept that nobody likes everyone, the better you’ll understand how office relationships work. Having a dislike for someone in particular is not at all bad, and acknowledging that friction helps you move into a position where it's easier to agree to disagree with that particular person—just like how Jim does with Dwight.

Rely on your EQ

Another The Office character we can take pointers from is Toby—the HR representative whose calm voice always manages to destress any mounting tension. Though constantly bullied by her boss Michael Scott and his loyal henchman, Dwight, Toby knows how to keep his poise by never resorting to anger or hurtful words.

Someone will only get on your nerves if you let them. Your emotional wellbeing will always be up to you so it’s best to practice mindfulness regularly so you’ll learn how to immediately dissipate tension and irritation when you feel that things are already boiling.

Stay sharp and on point

Yes, we said Michael Scott was a bully, but he can also be a sweetheart. Despite the many silly mishaps and wrong decisions this boss has made concerning his Scranton Paper branch, Michael has given audiences glimpses of brilliance when the going gets tough, like how he managed to save his branch from being axed due to poor sales, or stood up to Corporate on his own terms after being terminated and becoming their fierce competitor.

These examples may be a bit much for non-viewers of The Office, but Michael Scott is one of the perfect characters who can illustrate tactfulness and how being on point during tense situations pays off, rather than resorting to ill temper and bitterness.

Always stay firm on the points you’re making and deliver them in a soft-spoken manner. This gives everyone the impression that you are focused, positive, and aimed at a resolution.

Remember, when dealing with difficult co-workers, maintaining the proper office decorum is always essential to keep an acceptable flow of communication and work relations with everyone. Without it, you might come off as defeatist and unprofessional which can turn off your other co-workers as well.


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