5 Tips for Working with Colleagues You Don’t Like

Work would be so great if we could choose who to work with. You might enjoy working for the company, but working with someone you dislike can be frustrating. No matter how hard we try to get along, some people just seem to get on our nerves the moment they step inside the workplace.

Every individual is unique and different depending on their values, upbringing, beliefs, views and so on. Hence, it’s common to have personality clashes at work. For example, some colleagues may make offensive remarks to you or simply not listen to you or any of your ideas.

You might start to wonder: is it even possible to get along with your colleagues, each with different personality so that you can be productive and happy at work? How do you control yourself from taking things too personal? Of course, you would want to avoid dealing with negative people or worse, engage in toxic office politics! So what can you do to make your life easier when working with someone you dislike?

Here are some great tips for you:

1. Be professional and focus on work

While work is work, some people tend to take things too personally and go overboard. To avoid being caught up with any personal agendas, it’s important to keep your professionalism at all times during work. Not only it avoids petty and unnecessary conflicts, it also helps you to stay on track.

If you don’t want to be affected by any interpersonal issues with your colleagues at work, then it’s best to draw a line and take note of the following things:

2. Reflect on yourself

If you know that someone has been complaining or criticizing about you at work, ask yourself if those complaints are valid. It’s always easier to activate our defense mechanism and blame others. Not everyone can see things objectively especially when he or she already had a bad impression of the person.

Be completely honest and reflect on yourself if the criticism is true. For example, when the colleague you dislike asks, “Are you done with the status update report?” is he being picky or have you been missing deadlines for the past few months? If the reason is the latter, then you should improve yourself and try to mend the relationship.

3. Try to know about the colleague you dislike

We tend to give people we can get along well the benefit of the doubt far more often than giving it to random strangers. When you know what your colleague’s trigger points are, you might know him or her better.

For example, your colleague who is agitated all the time might be going through something terrible like family issues or relationship problems. Obviously, you can’t expect him to have a good mood at work. It’s always a good idea to try and understand where the other person is coming from. Practice empathy. If you are in his shoes, how would you feel about it? Can you be unaffected by what happened in our personal life and put on a happy face? If you can’t do it yourself, don’t expect others to do that.

Life is full of ups and downs. Bad things might happen to anyone of us. Be empathetic and more importantly, treat them with professionalism and respect.

4. Limit interaction

If you’ve tried tip no.2 and found out that the colleague you dislike is just not a nice person. Try to limit unnecessary interaction with him or her instead. While some might argue that facing the roots of the problem head on should be the way, it shouldn’t be the case if you know for sure that he or she is not going through a tough time in life. On the contrary, the person might be just mean and entitled.

Hence, If you aren’t the confrontational type of person, it’s best to limit interaction. For example:

When you limit the unnecessary interaction, you will get more time to focus on what truly matter such as your personal goals, productivity and so on.

5. Don’t gossip about the colleague you dislike

When you have an office enemy, the urge to gossip about him or her with others can be strong. Whether it’s just to let it off your chest or seeking validation from other colleagues, it’s tempting to have some pantry gossip sessions about how terrible that certain colleague is.

Many people think of gossiping as a way to bond with their colleagues, trying to be likable and gain support from them. However, participating in such habit only makes you seem like a backstabber.

Instead, be rational and think what good will this do. Will it help with your promotion or work performance? The answer is absolutely no. So, no point wasting time to talk about other people but focus on your career instead!

To sum up, always remind yourself that it’s okay if someone dislike you and it’s okay too if we don’t like certain people at work. It doesn’t make either of you a bad person. We all are different in many ways. Just stick with those appreciate you for who you are and don’t mind those who don’t seem to get you.  

Find these tips useful? We have more career advice, workplace tips, and job search tips on our blog. Don’t forget to check them out!


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