Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Difficult people are everywhere. They are on the streets with you when you’re driving. They’re at the supermarket as you pick up groceries for the week. While the difficult people in these places are strangers and you don’t need to deal with them much, there are some who aren’t as easy to get away from. The people I’m referring to are co-workers.

You have to go to your job every day, or you’ll get fired. This will propel you into even more stress than you’re already dealing with at the moment. That’s why the best thing you can do is learn how to deal with difficult people at work.

The following will help you overcome the frustrating some people cause while you’re just trying to do your job. Try the one you think will work best, or do all of them – whatever is effective is best.

Keep It Civil

You do not have to be friends with your co-workers, especially the difficult ones. Simply saying hello when you pass the person or only discussing work is perfectly fine for a working environment. You are not being rude, and you’re not doing anything wrong. It will also decrease the chances of the person doing something that will upset you.

difficult peopleMove Your Location

If you can move your desk, this is the best decision. Come up with an excuse besides the person being difficult, so you don’t add more fuel to the fire.

If you can’t move your desk voluntarily, consider asking your supervisor if that is possible. You can let him or her know of your situation, or you can simply say that you need a better lit area or you need one that is less distracting. Productivity is important to supervisors, so if you’re able to show that you’ll do your job better by moving, you’ll likely not be challenged.

Keep the Conversation to a Minimum

This person who irritates you may not know what he or she is doing. This means the person may try to talk to you from time to time. You can keep your stress levels from rising simply by responding only as much as you need to and not continuing the conversation by asking questions.

Divide Tasks with a Project

If you have a project to do with the person, it’s best to come up with a list of what needs to be done, and then divide the tasks up between the two of you. That way, you can each go your separate ways and do what needs to be done. You can then come together to achieve the project goals.

Don’t Challenge Difficult People

While you may want to say something to the person who is so difficult, it won’t do you much good. Usually, difficult people are adamant about their beliefs and will think something is wrong with you when you bring it up. Simply try to avoid the person and be as cordial as possible, as to not cause more problems at work.

If you need additional help with difficult people, please contact Kendall Van Blarcom – a personal consultant. He often helps people deal with workplace conflict, so they can keep their job and sanity. Simply book a time that’s convenient for you.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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