3 Ways to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

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No matter what job you have or how successful you are, you are always going to run into people that make your life difficult. Throughout your professional life, you will come across these types of people over and over again, and it is best to learn how to work with them even when you really don’t want to.

Below find three tips for dealing with difficult coworkers:

1. Define the Problem

There is a large range of issues that happen among coworkers, and each circumstance requires a slightly different approach. Is your coworker just talking your ear off? Do they slack off and expect you to do all the work? Do they spread rumors all around the office? Is your coworker making you feel uncomfortable or crossing professional boundaries?

Once you determine what the problem is, you will have a better idea of how to deal with it and if it is a situation you should involve others in.

2. Avoid Gossip

We all have at least one coworker that we just find annoying, but our irritation with them will multiply greatly each time we decide to gossip about them. What may start out as a “harmless” ranting session with your friend will quickly turn into a situation where you are waiting for them to do the next annoying thing so you can tell your friend. When we decide to be overly critical of someone else, it spreads through us like disease, only worsening the situation.

Realize that you can’t change your coworker. Unless they are doing something inappropriate or illegal, keep in mind that they are only human. When you become hyper-focused on the faults of other people, it will make you unhappy. That’s not the sort of person you want to be, so make an extra effort to control your thoughts and your tongue.

3. Change the Situation

As the saying goes, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” If you hate how your coworker talks nonstop about her dog on your lunch break, eat your lunch somewhere else. If your coworker won’t carry their weight during your projects together, have a direct conversation with them about it. Try to avoid the circumstances with your coworkers that make your job harder.


Remember that the most important key to happiness is in your own head. Try to change your thoughts about your coworker from negative to positive. Focus on what you do like about them, or try to imagine what it’s like living in their shoes.

About the Author: Norah Kearneyunnamed

I am currently a junior at Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m working on my BA in English with a focus on creative writing. I plan to use my degree for writing, editing, teaching, or a bit of all three.

Read more from and about the author: Norah’s WiLab Profile