How To Deal With Annoying Coworkers

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We never think that some of the annoying people or experiences we encounter in our younger years will be present in our adult lives. In fact, often we tend to think that the conflicts we experience in our younger years, say in high school or college will end the moment we become part of grown adults. Additionally, since confrontations are in most cases frowned upon, we tune our brain to avoid such situations, be silent or almost become invisible. Hence, most of the time when people are faced with annoying coworkers, it becomes a grey situation that one would rather avoid than face head-on. 

However, that doesn’t take out the Elephant in the room. Thus, whether you are a baby boomer, someone in a managerial position or someone who wants to know how to deal with annoying colleagues, here are different ways you can deal with annoying coworkers depending on the context or the issue at hand. 

  1. Talk to them directly

Annoying habits can differ and can provoke different reactions from different people. One colleague may be annoyed by a coworker’s loudness while another may be annoyed by a coworker who sends too many unnecessary emails. Hence after identifying what habit exhibited by a coworker may be annoying you, ask to see them in private and talk to them about it. 

Allow them the dignity and respect you would like to be treated with, as opposed to gossiping about it or calling them out publicly. 

   2. Set boundaries.

Set your boundaries with coworkers from the get-go to make it known what you can’t stand for. Personal boundaries are important because they let the other person know how to treat you thus encouraging mutual respect and a healthy work environment. Learn how to say no without feeling guilty.

   3. Don’t feel remorseful

Speaking up about how you would like to be treated should not make you feel guilty. In fact, what you should avoid is becoming a martyr since this could worsen issues in the future.  While it’s rare that you find a colleague who annoys you intentionally, it is not uncommon to find that a coworker may be oblivious of their annoying tendencies. 

This is why it’s important to speak up early, politely and compassionately so that a small thing doesn’t end up being magnifying.

   4. Be understanding

We are only human and no one is perfect. After all, you shouldn’t expect people to impress you. Therefore as you approach the matter at hand, try to meet your colleague halfway. 

Be positive, understanding and stay cool while addressing the matter. Arrange your thoughts and provide a leeway for the other person to see the issue for themselves instead of attacking them. For instance, instead of telling someone to turn off their loud music or to speak in low tones, you could say, I know this is hard to notice as we all need a break from this project. But I was wondering if you could turn down the volume since I cannot seem to focus on my work.

The key is to point out the issue while allowing them the chance to save face. 

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   5. Take a break

Do not address an issue when you are worked up or stressed. Take a break, a walk or go to a quiet place where you can gain composure. 

You can also vent to a friend or a family member just to get everything out of your chest. However, avoid doing so with a coworker. This could be mistaken for gossip and if word spreads, it could ruin your chance to resolve the issue amicably. 

   6. Involve a third party

Solicit the help of Human Resource on matters concerning productivity and creating a conducive work environment. According to Business Insider, addressing such issues through an ally or a group meeting where input can be received publicly, removes the chance of pointing fingers and blame-shifting. 

   7. Be a role model

One may be seeing the speck in another person’s eye while a log is lodged in theirs. Therefore as much as it is crucial to deal with annoying coworkers it is also important to examine our own habits. 

One’s character doesn’t have to define who you become. Be humble, limit confrontations to things you can control and find better ways on how to approach others. For instance, instead of telling someone that they’re annoying which attacks their character, comment on the issue itself as it can be controlled.  

Have in mind that how you respond/react to the situation will have an impact on your job environment, your work and maybe your career. Thus set a good example by being more positive and by creating a conducive work environment that you and your colleagues/employees can enjoy working in.

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How do you deal with annoying coworkers?

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I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.