This is a guest post by Donna Reish.

They’re found in just about every workplace. They can cause increased levels of stress, make you dread coming to work and in worse case scenarios are the reason you quit your job—they are the “difficult coworkers”. But quitting a job that you love because you don’t get along with a co-worker shouldn’t be a reason for your resignation—that’s so high school. While conflicts may arise between you a coworker some point in your career, it’s important that you approach the situation like a mature adult. To learn how to deal with a difficult co-worker, continue reading below.

    1. Self Assessment.
      The first thing you want to do is evaluate who is causing the actual friction in the workplace.  While in your mind you are the victim, you might as very well unknowingly be the problem. So do a quick self-assessment. Do you have a history of having difficulties with coworkers in other places of employment? If so, try to evaluate why. Maybe perhaps you have a hot temper or have a sharp tongue. While your close friends may be accustomed to your attitude and know which buttons not to press, your coworkers are most likely in the dark. So you might need to change the way you act/handle yourself in the workplace.


    1. Talk in Private.
      If you’ve concluded that it’s not you, (it’s definitely them) then the next step would be to confront your coworker in private and talk it out. Don’t instant chat or email your coworker about the issue you have with them—this can lead to an even heated discussion due to miscommunication (tone is easily lost in translation over the internet).  While having the discussion, it’s important that you do not accuse or attack your coworker. Instead try to sound as sincere as possible and keep your composure while carefully explaining how their actions or words are making you feel. Your co-worker might very well be oblivious that they are having this effect on you.  Whatever the case, three options may result in this discussion1) Your oblivious co-worker may apologize and promise to resolve the issue right on the spot

      2) Your co-worker admits he or she has an issue with you, may say why and then the two of you work out some sort of truce (hopefully) or

      3) Your co-worker lies in your face, says there is no problem and continues to cause problems.  If this last scenario is the case, then move on to the next solution.


  1. Talk to You Boss.
    If in any way your coworker is affecting you productivity, you might want to go and give your boss a heads up. Your boss won’t care if your co-worker is gossipy for example, but if the co-worker is sabotaging your  productivity, for instance maybe you are not getting your messages, then you should most definitely address the issue. Make sure to document instances where your coworker prevents you from doing your job. But be prepared that if you approach your boss with the issue, he or she will most likely mandate that the three of you talk it out. But as a result of this 3-way discussion, your boss may be willing to make sure that the two of you are not on the same project, for example.


About the Author:

Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this guest post.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at: donna.reish13 [at] gmail [dot] com.