Not everyone at work will be your best friend. Not everyone you work with will be someone you like. And everyone has bad days and little quirks that some people find charming while others find just simply intolerable.
But we have to be adults, sadly, and we can’t take someone’s toys away from them out of spite. Not in most workplaces, at least.
At some point, we will all come across a coworker who just isn’t our cup of tea. It’s inevitable. But we do need to be professional and at least be civil.
Here’s how to work with a coworker you just don’t like. Not even a little. (It’ll be ok, promise!)
Do your best to keep it to yourself.
This might be really difficult, but try your best to keep your opinions on that person to yourself. If you feel the urge to gossip, and give in to it, you don’t know how big those ripples might be. The colleague you confide in might be that person’s best friend, or they might be a gossip who runs to that person or your manager, making the situation worse. You also don’t need to accidentally create rifts among your team. That doesn’t help anyone.
Try not to take them personally.
We all come from different backgrounds and had different upbringings. Maybe this person’s childhood was totally different from yours and they were exposed to customs or traditions that are a far cry from yours. Maybe the way they act, their likes and dislikes, and their opinions are just polar opposites from yours. Everyone is entitled to that. They aren’t necessarily doing anything TO you, or purposely trying to get under YOUR skin specifically. This is just who they are, just like you are who you are. Try to view whatever it is that you dislike as dispassionately as possible. Let them do their thing and don’t let it stop you from doing yours.
At the very least, you need to work with this person so there’s no point in being toxic yourself. Be civil. Say good morning and good night. If they sneeze, say “bless you” or some equivalent. You don’t need to go out of your way to be friendly, but you can be polite for the sake of the group dynamic. If you learned something from their presentation, tell them they did a good job. If they help you with something, say thanks. Be courteous. It might feel difficult, but it’ll help everyone.
Try to get to know them a little.
Maybe the way to break through the impasse is to try and get to know the person a little better. Again, you don’t need to become best friends with the person, but try to learn a little more about them. That might help you understand their actions, their perspective and their approach to work. It might shed some light on their thought process, which could help you understand a little more about how they operate. Understanding is the key to growth, which allows all of us to become better people.
Is it me?
This might be a harder pill to swallow: If you always seem to have a coworker that you really can’t stand, in every job you’ve ever had, could you be the problem? Could it be your general outlook and approach to work? Could it be your attitude? Bad habits are hard to break and jumping to conclusions or finding fault with people might be your default setting without even realizing it. Take a moment to do a little reflection and a self-awareness check. Every job and coworker you have in life will only have you in common. Maybe you’re the one who needs to make a change?
Is your work environment getting to you? Check out the jobs available through Sterling Personnel!
The world is a better place because we’re not all the same. Keep that in mind. But if things get really bad and you just can’t take it anymore, go to Sterling Personnel and see what jobs are currently available. There might be a great opportunity just waiting for you! Find it, then call Sterling Personnel to get started on the road to a change.