In a perfect world it would all be sugar, spice &
everything nice. But as we’ve all experienced in our working years,
sometimes it can be only spice. There’s a reason why people say it’s
good to “spice things up”, it keeps boredom away. But is it really worth
your nerves and serenity? Luckily, there are several ways to block the
negativity and the spikes & flames shooting from your colleagues.
1. Learn the power of a break
If there’s a sure way a coworker gets on our blacklist then it’s by
saying something offensive. All the efforts made not to judge and to be
nice disappear in an instant and you feel the need to say something
back. Instead of wishing your frenemy to fail in every professional
task, try taking a step back. Walk away from the conflict and think it
through. Is it worth the while? If there is someone who is annoying or
abrasive, don’t think about how the person acts, think about how you
react. It’s far more productive to focus on your own behavior because
you can control it. Be the better person and don’t burn your bridges,
maybe your coworker is snappy because he’s having a bad day.
2. Be like Switzerland – neutral
Once you’ve decided you don’t like something, it becomes very easy to
see all things through the filter of negativity. If you don’t feel any
chemistry in particular with someone, don’t rush to judge. Don’t jump to
conclusions and keep a neutral and polite attitude. Negativity only
fuels negativity and the greater the hate you have for your coworker the
greater the burden is for you to carry the weight. Set yourself free by
forgiving your coworker. If you can’t say it out loud to him, say it in
the mirror to yourself.
3. Ask yourself What if?
Every question starting with what if is a very powerful and
useful one. It allows you to add infinite alternative solutions to your
conflict. Try seeing the good side of things and put yourself in your
coworker’s shoes. You’ll be surprised how many new perspectives a simple
game of role play can bring.
4. Save some space just for you
In situations where you are truly stuck you need to practice the fine
art of emotional detachment. By ignoring the irritating behaviors, you
neutralize the affect on you. Try keeping distance between you and limit
your interaction to professional tasks.
5. Make your boundaries known
Some personality characteristics may always set you off. Maybe it’s
the coworker who regularly misses deadlines, or the guy who tells
off-color jokes. Take a look at what sets you off and who’s pushing your
buttons. That way, you can prepare for when it happens again. When your
teeth are on edge and your hands start to shake, you can check in with
yourself and defuse your response. Explain politely that some topics
make you feel uncomfortable and that you’d prefer not to talk about
6. Check your expectations
It’s not uncommon for people to have unrealistic expectations about
coworkers. We may expect them to act just as we would or say the things
that we might say in certain situations. That’s just not realistic.
People have ingrained personality traits that are going to largely
determine how they react. Expecting others to do as you would do is
setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
7. Observe how others handle them
Watch how others in the office deal with this coworker. You may
realize that you are clashing with him because of your particular style
of communication. Then you can adjust accordingly.
Suddenly, working with people you don't like becomes a lot more
interesting. Because getting to know them better, and accepting the
parts of them you don't like, is actually getting to know yourself
better and accepting the parts of yourself you don't like.
Alexa Anghel is a copywriter and social media passionate who truly believes in the power of words. She sees herself as a word
stylist, creating beautiful stories for brands and companies. Today
she’s the word master for Oracle’s Brand Recruitment department, where
she continues to experiment with social media and improve content
strategy. Her specialties include content writing, online marketing, public relations, branding and social media. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.