How To Deal With The Top 5 Difficult Co-Workers

Last Updated on April 9, 2021

Do you love your job but can’t stand your co-workers? Do you dread seeing Susan because you know she is going to talk your ear off about her personal problems when you just want to work? How about Karen, who gossips about everyone in the office, do you try to avoid her? And what about Tom, Dick, and Harry who bully everyone in the office with their insults and childish behavior, do you hate running into them?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, then congratulations, you work in a normal messed up workplace! Unfortunately, it is going to be hard to escape these kinds of co-workers unless you work from home, or you are very fortunate to work with like-minded people.

Since you can’t change other people (as much as you would like to), you are going to have to find a way to deal with these people in a mature and non-violent way if you want to get some work done in a less stressful environment.

Top 5 Difficult Co-Workers

  1. The co-worker who is a jerk
  2. The inconsiderate co-worker
  3. The co-worker who loves to gossip
  4. The co-worker who whines
  5. The co-worker who wastes time

1. The Co-Worker Who Is a Jerk

This is the man or woman who purposely tries to make you feel small, stupid, or humiliated. (They are also called a bully.) You always leave their presence feeling worse than when you first saw them.

Usually, these people are in a higher job title than you, or they think that they are better than you are, and they would never dare be rude to their boss or someone else who could potentially cost them their job.

Yes, the jerk can be your co-worker or your boss.

They may not be loud and apparent. In fact, they may only be a jerk to you when they think no one else is listening or around.

They may do things like:

  • Insult you and your knowledge or skill level.
  • Consistently get in your space.
  • Try to intimidate you.
  • Send you rude and accusatory emails.
  • Interrupt you when you are on the phone or otherwise busy.
  • Give you dirty looks.
  • Give you the silent treatment to make you feel as if you don’t matter.
  • Put the blame on you even if you had nothing to do with it.

How Do You Deal With a Co-Worker Who is a Jerk?

First, don’t stoop to their level. They are NOT happy people. No one can be happy and constantly treat other people like crap. It’s impossible. So look after your own happiness by not stooping to their level.

Next, understand that nothing you say is likely going to change them. They have to have an eye-opening experience that makes them treat other people with respect. Telling them what a jerk they are may earn you some respect from them, but more than likely they will just start to treat you even worse.

Lastly, frame the way you view them in a different manner. For instance, right now you see a jerk. Instead of seeing someone who is mean and hateful, try picturing all the things that must happen to him or her on a daily basis to make him or her so miserable. For example maybe:

  • They wake up and hate the way they look.
  • Their spouse treats them poorly.
  • They have a butt-load of stress on their plate.
  • They just lost their mother, brother, or friend.
  • They rarely feel happy during the day even if they try to appear happy.
  • They have an illness.
  • They are being abused.
  • They are insecure about themselves.

Once you start to see them as people who are living a crappy life, you can start to change the way you feel towards them and get busy being grateful for your life.

2. The Inconsiderate Co-Worker

This is the person who annoys the heck out of you. They seem to live in their own tiny bubble where they actually think that the world revolves around them. Their main concern is their happiness, their voice, their health, and their success – and they take no one else into consideration.

They may do things like:

  • Talk very loud while you are trying to concentrate.
  • Interrupt you when you are talking.
  • Take the last doughnut while you are reaching for it.
  • Sit down in a spot that you have already set up for yourself.
  • Pee on the toilet.
  • Slam the door in your face.
  • Cut in front of you while walking or in a line.
  • Not replace the water bottle after they use the last drop of water.

The inconsiderate co-worker can do many things. However, the main point is that they make things as comfortable as possible for them without taking your feelings, thoughts, or – really just YOU into consideration.

How Do You Deal With an Inconsiderate Co-Worker?

Again, this boils down to how you choose to react to the person because an inconsiderate person will never even take the time to consider your opinion. They don’t care! They are inconsiderate! You will just end up making yourself more upset when they go on their merry way without acknowledging what you have said.

Also, these are the people who never seem to get fired. If you believe in the law of attraction, then I would have to say that these people expect NOT to lose their job because they are so great, and therefore, they don’t. Therefore, even though you can complain to the boss (or the boss’s boss) not much seems to happen with their attitudes or job.

However, an inconsiderate person will likely interfere with your work, so you should say something. For instance, if they are screaming at the top of your lungs outside of your office, you may want to ask them to quiet down because you are trying to concentrate. If they don’t (which will likely be the case) then feel no shame in getting up and closing your door. This will be a non-verbal message that they will likely miss, but it will also allow you to shut their voice out a little.

If you don’t have a door to close, try framing them in a different light. For instance, an inconsiderate jerk is not likely someone who is spreading a lot of happiness to other people. It has to be very lonely with such a narrow view of the world as they go along in their bubble of self-interest, and even if it’s not – then he or she is missing out on the gift of being aware of other people around them. Trust me, it is a gift to be considerate and be aware of other people’s needs…it makes your life richer.

Feel bad for them instead of angry at them.

3. The Co-Worker Who Loves to Gossip

Why does Susan come to work every morning? It can’t be to work because she never does that… oh yeah, it’s to find out about and spread the latest gossip!

Do you hate it when the office gossip is coming towards you? There is a good reason! If they gossip about others, then you know that they gossip about you. Plus they are very draining.

Unfortunately, many people like to engage in gossip, and this is why someone who gossips can always find someone else to talk to at work. They can only be happy when they are spreading the latest news.

They may do things like:

  • Tell you about others’ personal lives.
  • Tell you about their own personal life.
  • Tell you about others’ work lives.

And most importantly tell you information that is completely wrong and untrue!

People who gossip do not take the time to check facts. They hear something and they run with it! You can get yourself into a lot of trouble listening to these people, and it really is just a waste of your day.

How Do You Deal With a Co-Worker Who Wants To Gossip?

The answer to this one is very simple. You say, “I don’t want to hear the gossip” or “Sorry, I don’t like to talk about other people.” As soon as you tell them that you are not going to listen to their gossip, they will automatically clam up and walk away. Why?

They will likely feel embarrassed because they know their gossip is wrong but no one else calls them on it.

OR

They will have nothing else to say because all they do is gossip.

Either way, as soon as they get the message that you do not want to partake in the latest gossip, they will leave you alone!

4. The Co-Worker Who Whines

This is the co-worker who is never, ever happy. They hate everything about work, and they tend to whine about everything outside of work as well. They have a victim mentality.

They may do things like:

  • Complain about their workload (even though they never work!)
  • Complain about the boss.
  • Complain about their co-workers.
  • Whine about how work is so unfair and hard.
  • Whine about their paycheck.
  • Whine about the raise they just got.

Whine and complain, whine and complain – that is what their day is made up of. These people can drain your energy just by looking at them!

They never make you happy.

They hardly ever talk about anything good.

And if they do happen to talk about something good, then they quickly follow it up with “but that doesn’t matter because I still don’t have what I wanted.”

They are an endless pit of complaints.

How Do You Deal With a Co-Worker Who Wants To Whine?

This is a simple answer. If you are not willing to listen to their whining, then they will not talk to you. They need someone to agree with them or else their words do not have power behind them. Therefore, stop agreeing with them.

Warning: I did this at work, and it worked very quickly. Then, however, they started to whine about me because I was all of a sudden someone who was not in their negative pool. Therefore, if you don’t want to listen to them, then you should expect them not to ‘like’ you anymore. However, this is natural when you move out of their negative level of energy. They can’t relate to you anymore!

Every time the whiner says something negative, contradict it with something positive. For instance, if they say “This job sucks! I can’t believe we get paid so little!” then respond with “I like the job, and I’m quite happy with the pay.” They may ignore your comment and keep talking about how much the job sucks, but if you follow up their next sentence with the same kind of response, then they will slowly start to back away and look for someone else to whine to.

5. The Co-Worker Who Wastes Time

This person will do everything in their power to avoid work, and they will try to drag you down with them. They can’t just sit and stare at the wall, because that would be boring. No, usually they have to come and bug you and talk to you about nonsense stuff that just wastes time. They may talk about work or they may talk about current events, but no matter what they talk about, it will be a waste of time.

And if they are not bugging you, then they are annoying the heck out of you with their wasteful actions.

They may do things like:

  • Spend an hour getting their coffee ready.
  • Talk on the phone for the majority of their day.
  • Talk to you about the latest unimportant stories they heard on the way to work.
  • Organize their work area so they look like they are working.
  • Talk to the boss for hours about ‘important subjects.’
  • Ask you ridiculous questions about work that they should know.

Really, the truth is that these time-wasting co-workers are good at doing nothing all day, and for some reason, they never get fired. If you or I were to try to waste time all day like them, we would be in the boss’s office being yelled at.

How Do You Deal With a Time Wasting Co-Worker?

You ignore them! Do not let them hit your radar because if you do, then they will drive you insane trying to figure out how they can live with themselves doing nothing all day.

Yelling at them will do no good because it will go in one ear and out the other. And we all know the boss seems to think they work all day, so complaining about them will do nothing, except make you mad.

Just ignore them and get on with your day. Be proud of the fact that you actually work for a living, and earn your money.

While earning money for wasting time is a talent, it is not a fulfilling talent. They do not know what it feels like to actually do a job well done and earn money for doing so. Live your life with fulfillment and let them waste theirs!

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