Workplaces are made up of a mix of people – some are always nice and others just don’t seem to have anything nice about them. No matter how pleasant everyone is to them, they always seem to find a way to be unbearable.

It’s one thing when you don’t have to work closely with them – you can ignore them, or keep communication with them to the bare minimum. But what happens when you do have to work closely with a difficult coworker? What can you do to make your work experience still a positive one?

Remember, everyone has a story
One thing to remember is that if they were this unbearable during the interview stage, they probably wouldn’t have got the job. So, something must have happened between starting the job and now to make them behave in this negative manner.

Sometimes stress at home or at work can negatively impact how an individual will perform at work. It’s no excuse – we all have challenges to deal with – but realising that they may be going through challenges that they are clearly finding difficult to cope with can help you better approach them, or just not take their behaviour towards you (and others) personally.

Kill with kindness
It’s doesn’t mean smothering them with kindness or becoming a doormat. Try to always be nice to people, even if they annoy you, try to follow the rules of common courtesy and treat your colleagues how you would like to be treated.

Try not to do like for like
Try not to respond to their annoying and difficult behaviour with equally annoying or difficult behaviour.

Many times, when we are upset at a situation, we tend to direct our anger at an individual rather than the situation. Take a step back and see if the way you are behaving may be influencing how your coworker responds to you.

Try to see things from their point of view. Maybe your actions have been annoying them.

Report it to HR
If being nice doesn’t work, try to document the incidents and report them to the human resources (HR) department of your company. Obviously, this is going to create even more tension in your office, so be prepared to stand your ground and be strong. You may get some flak from other colleagues or from this particular person you have an issue with for reporting the issue, but if the behaviour has been witnessed by others, it should soon blow over.

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