Top Tips For Dealing With Annoying Coworkers

by Danny A. on October 8, 2013

Okay. We are human beings. Strange creatures, we, and as such, we all have foibles and idiosyncrasies that you might not realize or notice yourself. These quirks in the workplace could be considered annoying in the eyes of your coworkers. You probably can think of at least one annoying coworker right now. It is just a fact of life and if you haven’t had to deal with annoying coworkers at least once in your work career, than you might be a flying pig.

They come in many shapes and sizes. For example, the gossiper, the loud-talker, the know-it-all, the too-much-information giver, the whiner/complainer just to name a few. All can get under your skin while really affecting your work and productivity. However, there are ways to deal with annoying coworkers.

Annoying Coworker

Be assertive – Chances are, the annoying coworker doesn’t know they are annoying. Be firm, yet friendly and ask the person right out to stop what they are doing that is annoying. Announce that you are really busy and concentrating and would be really nice of them to quiet down or have their personal phone call elsewhere. Better yet, explain to your supervisor/HR department the situation and have them ask to cease and desist. Your supervisor is most likely already aware of it!

Positivity – Sometimes the old adage, “kill it with kindness” still rings true. A warm smile and friendly disposition can smooth over almost any situation no matter how awkward. If Captain Bring-down is bringing you down, stay sunny and counteract it with a positive spin.

Avoid/Ignore – For as long as you can, try to avoid the person as much as humanly possible. Take your lunch at a different time. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Park your car elsewhere. You get the idea. It gets tough when the person is in your direct vicinity like in a “cube-style” office, so best options are to use headphones to tune them out or see if you can look in to a seating arrangement change. Of course there is a breaking point for everyone but hold out as long as you can. If you can get up and walk away from the person for a little while, try that. Hopefully when you return they will have stopped.

Breathe! – If it becomes unbearable and you are about to boil over and burst, don’t! Close your eyes. Relax your muscles and place your hands palm up in your lap. Take a deep breath in through your nose and count to five. Exhale slowly through your mouth (trying not to disturb others) and repeat until you feel a sense of calm and collection. Rinse and repeat until enlightenment is reached or at least until you can continue your work without going insane. A walk outside or around the office grounds is another surefire way to clear your head and give a new perspective to the situation. Some fresh air can do wonders.

Toughen up – To be honest, can it really be that bad? Okay, maybe it is but come on. You only have to work with this person. You don’t have to interact with them in any way shape or form outside of work. They are not your significant other, they are not a family member or loved one… So, deal with it! A thicker skin might do you some good and build some character. Guess what? It’s life! You are not always going to love every single detail of every single facet of your life. The sooner you realize this and keep it in mind, the easier it will be to deal with any person, annoying or not. Remember, the annoyed can also be the annoyee. You might be annoyed by someone but just as easily, you can be annoying someone yourself.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia B. October 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

None of these tips really mention just having a direct and honest conversation with the co-worker. Work takes up a big part of our day, and it’s important to be comfortable in the workplace. Just “growing thicker skin” to “deal with” an annoying co-worker won’t really do it. It wouldn’t hurt to pull the co-worker aside, kindly tell them up-front what they are doing that is bothering you, and come to some sort of agreement. The co-worker might not even be aware that they are doing what they are doing and will try to stop if they are reminded that they are affecting other people in a work environment.

Greg October 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The first tip, “Be assertive” works the best. Don’t skirt around the situation.

Madison October 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I find the tips under Breathe! most helpful. I tend to keep all my stress in my head and neck, and the calming breathing suggestion is one I’m going to try. I actually have terrific co-workers and can’t really complain about any of them, but just the stress at work is enough to try these stress relievers…

Eva October 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I do the Avoid/Ignore approach-I cannot even bare to look at this person let alone talk to her.
Try “the gossiper, the loud-talker, the know-it-all, the too-much-information giver, the whiner/complainer” all in one person with a high pitched voice-Yikes! I also do the Breathe!technique when I am cornered-

Lianna K October 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm

We spend more of our waking moments at work than anywhere else so it’s hard to tough it out. I suggest having a one on one discussion with the annoying person. Maybe if confronted they can see how their behavior affects others around them. No one should have to put up with the annoying behavior but if they are never told about the annoying behavior they will never change.

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