You aren’t the only one. Every worker has one of those coworkers. No matter how hard you try to get along with them, or just avoid them, they just continue to irritate you. That’s why October 23rd is designated as National Slap Your Coworker Day. As good as it would feel to be able to act on your irritation if you want to keep your job, and avoid assault charges, you should try these tips instead:
Pinpoint what is so irritating
There are times when you know someone is irritating you, but you can’t quite put your finger on why. You can’t determine what it is about them exactly that drives you crazy, they just do. The first thing you need to do it figure out why they bother you so much.
- Are they disrespectful?
- Are they overly needy?
- Do they steal the credit for work that you have done?
- Are they a know-it-all?
- Are they a one-upper? Always trying to top your story or accomplishment.
You can’t address the problem until you know exactly what the problem is. Once you realize exactly why they irritate you it removes a little of the sting from their actions.
Think about your reaction
How do you react to this person? What can you learn about yourself from the way that you react? Sometimes we are irritated by our own insecurities. When we are forced to interact with people that are overly confident it bothers us and it isn’t because of anything the person is doing wrong, but how we feel about ourselves. In this case, the irritation that you are feeling is actually something that you will need to work on in yourself. Work on recognizing your accomplishments and successes so you can build your confidence. Once this happens you will find yourself being less irritated, or not irritated at all, with your coworker.
Another way that your reaction can help you fix a situation with an irritating coworker is to see if you are doing something that encourages them to continue acting in that way. If a coworker irritates you because they are making inappropriate jokes and act disrespectfully but you laugh at their behavior you are encouraging them to continue. Double check to assure that you are not acting in a way that eggs them on to continue with their behavior.
Find out what’s behind the behavior
Have you ever heard that hurting people hurt people? It’s true and sometimes realizing that can help you deal with people that irritate you. Get to know a little about the person and their personal life. Try to see things through their eyes. Sometimes when you know more about where someone is coming from you can understand their irritating behavior more. Someone that is desperate to be included in the group might have been the victim of bullying while they were growing up. Someone that is always bragging about their accomplishments might actually be extremely insecure and looking for approval from others.
With some coworkers being able to identify why they are acting the way they are, it helps you to handle them better.
Avoid it when you can
If a coworker is really bothering you do what you can to avoid dealing with them. Get to meetings early to strategically choose your seat so you don’t end up next to them. Stay busy working instead of chatting around the water cooler, or coffee pot. Look for ways to reduce the amount of time that you spend interacting with this coworker.
Be direct and honest
If a coworker is irritating you and they are just not getting the hint you may need to be honest and direct with them. Let them know that you don’t appreciate the jokes they are telling. Or, if you are dealing with an overly chatty coworker let them know that you are working on a project and don’t have time to visit at the moment. Set boundaries with your coworkers to create a better work environment for yourself. Make sure that you are professional in the way that you handle the situation. Do not cross over the line and end up starting an argument. You do not want to turn an irritating situation worse when you have to work with the person day after day.
Go up the ladder if you need to
There is a big difference between an irritating coworker and one that is making inappropriate advances or comments. If you find yourself in this situation do not allow it to continue. Report this type of activity to an HR department or the boss that is directly above you. Make sure to document every situation that occurs to protect yourself and your position.
Everyone has dealt with an irritating coworker. Slapping them can sound like a great idea, but will not accomplish what you really want it to. Instead look for ways to diffuse the situation, whether it is the coworker or yourself that makes the changes. And, don’t forget the old trick of counting to 10, when all else fails close your eyes, breathe deep and start counting.