Even when you love your job, working with someone you don’t like can make you dread showing up to work every morning. Having to spend that much time with someone you don’t get along with can be a source of significant anxiety and stress and turn a dream job into a nightmare (trust me, I know from personal experience).
While you may not be able to fix the person you dislike, you can change your approach to the situation and make it easier to deal with by using these six tips.
1. Always Keep it Professional
Some personalities will simply clash and that’s alright. When a deeper relationship isn’t meant to be, don’t try to force it. You don’t have to be friends with everyone.
If someone rubs you the wrong way, limit unnecessary interactions to prevent potential friction. But you should always be polite and engage in small gestures to create the illusion of being friendly. Small things such as smiling when you’re passing in the hall and saying goodnight at the end of the day will go a long way in breaking down barriers that at first glance may seem insurmountable.
2. Vent To The Right Person
Keep it classy and resist the temptation to bad mouth your coworker at the office. You never know who is listening and you can’t be sure of the true feelings of other people, even people you consider allies. They'll smile in your face now and then run and tell when the moment is right.
It’s healthy to let your feelings out, but make sure you find a safe person to open up to. It's much safer to vent to a family member or a friend you don’t work with.
3. Use Your Energy Wisely
Think about all of the energy you are wasting by letting this person get under your skin. Redirect this energy into something more productive such as being a valuable employee and a good person. This is what will ultimately allow you to succeed in the workplace and open doors that may actually lead away from that huge thorn in your side.
Don’t dwell on hatred and spend your days being annoyed. Someone you dislike isn’t worth that kind of energy. You can’t change other people so focus on yourself instead and use your energy to make your situation better.
4. Try To Talk It Out
If the reason you dislike your coworker is due to clashing personalities, it’s unlikely that can be fixed and you’re better off not breaching the subject. However, if your feelings are the result of specific events you might be able to hash it out with a good heart to heart. Maybe you will come to a meeting of the minds and mend the relationship.
If this is the route you want to pursue, proceed with great care making sure you don’t make things worse. Arrange a meeting in a private location such as a conference room or go for a walk together. Gather your thoughts ahead of time and try to come to a compromise for the sake of working together. It might be well worth the one-time effort in exchange for a happier work environment.
5. Find a Mediator
If you find that you can’t have a productive working relationship, you might have to turn to someone for some assistance. Find a good mediator to help mend the professional relationship. This person should be in a position of authority to both parties so that their decision has more weight. Ideally it should be someone both people trust and respect.
6. Know Where To Draw The Line
In most cases you are responsible for your relationships as well as your feelings. However, some people cross the line that should never be crossed. If the person you’re having problems with is harassing you, sabotaging your work, threatening you, bullying you, or violating your rights as a person, you need to stand up for yourself.
Talk to your immediate supervisor first and if that doesn’t solve the problem go to HR and make a formal complaint. Everyone deserves the right to feel safe and equal at their place of work. No job is worth sacrificing your safety and self worth.
Do you have an office nemesis?
Sierra E is a Los-Angeles based trial lawyer and entrepreneur. She became partner at her law firm in 2015 and has made numerous appearances as a guest legal correspondent on CNN. In 2018, Sierra launched SuitKits, an online shopping service that allows women to custom design suits and separates to fit their exact measurements, style, color and cut. Through her career, her writings, and her company, Sierra hopes to help women from all backgrounds achieve both personal and professional success for the benefit of themselves and their families. You can find her on Twitter/Facebook/IG @SuitKits