Every office has that person that no one can stand. They’re condescending, overbearing, or just plain weird. In another situation, they may not be so bad, but when you’re forced to spend forty hours a week with them it can be. The trick is to not let them get to you and especially to not let them affect your productivity.
First off, try to anticipate any conflict or clash you may have with the person before it happens. As with any conflict, it is better to react logically rather than emotionally. If you are caught off guard you are more likely to become unnecessarily angry and make the situation worse.
If you already have a plan for how to react, it will be easier to control the reaction. If there is a specific conflict that is ongoing or inevitable, you can plan your reaction very specifically. To take it a step further, you can write down what you should say in certain situations or play out the entire conversation in your head. The important thing is to remember that your goal is to resolve the conflict, not to prove that you are right.
The next thing to try is to initiate a friendly conversation with the person. This can just be a quick chat in the break room or by the water cooler, but you may find that it makes a big difference in their attitude toward you. Chances are you’re not the only person in the office that dislikes them, so they might be more than happy to see a friendly face.
Keep this up and you could find your work days becoming much easier and less hostile. At the same time, try to keep up with yourself also. Getting a good night’s sleep, proper exercise and nutrition and time for yourself will help you keep your cool.
Unfortunately, it won’t always be this easy. If you try to befriend your difficult co-worker and they simply won’t budge, it may be time to let go. It is important to not spend too much time worrying about this person and focus on work.
In the workplace, unneeded stress is a very unwelcome guest. If this person is disrupting productivity in the entire workplace, you may want to speak to your boss about getting them transferred or even let go from the company. If this doesn’t work, you may have to take the drastic step of finding a new job yourself.