Career Advice

How To Deal With Colleagues You Don’t Like

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Talk To Them

One of the best things you can do when there’s someone you don’t like at work is to talk to them. You don’t have to tell them you don’t like them (it’s probably best not to!), but it can be a good way to find out more about them, and it might be that, once you get to know them, you realize they’re not as bad as you thought. It’s worth a try, at least. 

Talking to someone you’re having a problem with at work isn’t just about getting to know them and ideally changing your opinion of them (assuming it makes sense to do that); it can also be a good way to let them know there’s an issue and that you’re not happy about something they’re doing. It might be awkward, but it could also change the situation if they didn’t know their actions were causing you upset or pain. 

Talk To Your Manager

If nothing changes and there’s still a problem, the next step is to talk to your manager about the situation. Ideally, you’ll want to take some evidence to back up what you’re saying, as that makes finding a solution much easier. What that solution is will depend very much on what’s happened, but it could involve workplace harassment training, for example. 

Once it’s in the hands of the manager, you need to step away from the situation and, unless asked, no longer get involved. The more you try to change or fix things at this point, the worse the problem could become, and you might undo some of the good that the manager is attempting to put in place. 

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Make Other Friends

If you’re being bullied at work or there’s someone who you just don’t get on with, being alone can make it all feel so much worse. That’s why it’s a good idea to make other friends when you’re at work; in that way, someone will always have your back when there’s a problem, and you’ll generally feel much less alone when the issue arises. 

Additional Ideas

  • Embrace Professionalism: Keep interactions with difficult colleagues strictly professional. Avoid personal topics and focus on work-related discussions to maintain a neutral and productive environment.
  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to protect your emotional and mental well-being. Politely assert your limits when interactions become uncomfortable or unprofessional.
  • Seek Common Ground: Find shared interests or goals to foster a sense of teamwork. This approach can bridge gaps and promote a more cooperative working relationship.
  • Practice Empathy: Try to understand their perspective. This doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but acknowledging their viewpoints can reduce conflicts and improve mutual respect.
  • Manage Reactions: Maintain composure during interactions. Respond calmly and professionally, regardless of provocation, to avoid escalating tensions.
  • Communicate Effectively: Ensure clear and respectful communication. Misunderstandings often fuel workplace conflicts, so clarity in expressing your thoughts is crucial.
  • Seek Mediation: If conflicts persist, consider involving a neutral third party, like HR, for mediation. This can provide a structured approach to resolving issues.
  • Focus on Personal Growth: Use these challenging interactions as opportunities for personal development. Learn patience, diplomacy, and effective communication skills.
  • Avoid Gossip: Resist the urge to discuss issues with other colleagues. Gossip can escalate tensions and damage professional reputations.
  • Seek Feedback: Regularly request feedback on your interactions and adjust your approach as needed. Continuous improvement can enhance your working relationships.

Even if no one can actively help, having friends at work makes it much more enjoyable to be there, and can often make problems seem much less of an issue. As we said, you can’t like everyone, but liking some people is a great place to start.

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06/10/2024 10:51 pm GMT

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