How to deal with an irritating co-worker

How to deal with an irritating co-worker

Having to go to work five or six days a week can be difficult enough, but if you have to deal with an irritating co-worker on top of that, then you could find it very hard to cope. However, there are ways that you can deal with the co-worker without having to lose your temper or do anything too extreme. You just need to take some time to think through your own behaviour and how best to deal with the person in question as rationally as possible.


Step 1

Decide why this person annoys you

First of all, sit down and work out why it is that this person annoys you. It may be something that is really petty, perhaps the way that they look or smell, in which case you may be making too much of it and it is something that should just be ignored. However, if it is something that affects your work, it is a much more serious issue. Before you go any further, however, make sure you know exactly what it is that is annoying you.

Step 2

Look within yourself

It takes two to tango. Look carefully at your own behaviour. Your co-worker may irritate you a great deal, but it could be that you do something to make them behave in that way. Perhaps you appear to look down on them, although you are not aware of it. Try to work out what you could do to change yourself and your own behaviour before you target other people. Ask friends and other colleagues for their opinion.

Step 3

Try to talk with them

Once you have decided that there really is a problem with your co-worker and it is one that needs their cooperation to solve, then it is time to approach them and ask them for a chat. At this stage, it should be an informal one. Explain that you are finding it difficult to work with them, but that you are willing to come to a compromise if your co-worker will do so too. A simple chat may be all that is needed to sort things out.

Step 4

Ask someone to mediate

If your co-worker is reluctant to accept what you say, and it doesn’t look as though the situation is going to be resolved through informal means, then you will need to ask for some help. Explain the situation to someone neutral, who is prepared to listen to both sides of the story, and then ask them to arrange a more formal meeting.

Step 5

Make a formal complaint

If the previous steps haven’t worked, the irritating behaviour is still continuing and it is badly affecting your working relationship, then it is time to make a formal complaint, either to your boss or to the human resources department. At this stage, you may need to keep away from the irritating co-worker in question as much as possible, until things can be sorted.

Step 6

Leave your job

In most cases, the first three steps should be enough to solve any issues with co-workers. However, if unsuccessful, you may need to consider your working future in the job. You may be able to ask for a transfer to another department, but if this isn’t possible, then it may be time to look for a new job. Forcing yourself to stay in a job where you are unhappy is not good for your mental health — and your health is one of the most precious things you have.

Things Needed
• Someone else to talk to
• A calm attitude
• A desire to sort things out

Tips & Warnings
• Don’t get wound up
• Don’t give up on the job until you have tried every avenue


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