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What is the best way to deal with a coworker who you don't get along with?

Hey! What is the best way to deal with someone you work with who you don't get along with? Maybe it's because you disagree about things, you totally clash, or some other reason, how do you deal with it? #business #science #teaching #medicine #healthcare #law #math #politics

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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Angelina,

While it may be frustrating, your life will be filled with people you may not get along with - and that's ok!! It's good to have differences with people - it helps us grow and know more about who we are as people. As we learn to get along with others, we are developing our "people skills":

People skills are defined as the ability to listen, to communicate and to relate to others on a personal or professional level. Good people skills also extend to include problem-solving abilities, empathy for others and a willingness to work together toward the common good.

Think about this definition and the word "empathy" - caring for another - walking in their shoes. Sometimes we disagree or class with others because we don't understand where they come from - their experiences in life could be far different from ours. That means with empathy we can try to better understand their thinking - remember most importantly - no one is ever always right!!

But, when you meet that one person and all else has failed, smile, do your best to be kind, and limit contact if you can.


Thank you for your super helpful answer, Stephanie, and all the tips! I really appreciate it:D Angelina P.

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Mukesh’s Answer

  1. Be Brutally Honest with Your Coworker

Confronting the person who is making you sick and telling him really nicely what he’s doing to make your workday awful can sometimes get him to stop. Much of the time, people are completely oblivious to how their behavior makes other people feel. Bringing their lousy behavior to their attention can be the wake-up call they need to change their ways.

  1. Rise Above Bad Workplace Behavior

Is there any way to ignore or avoid the person who’s driving you crazy? Like your mother taught you when you were little, pretending that you aren’t affected by the way someone is behaving can get him to stop -- especially if he’s behaving in a way that is intentionally aimed at hurting you.

  1. Reframe Your Perspective

A good coaching exercise is to focus on the good qualities this person possesses. This act of appreciation can get you to notice when she is being nice and help you ignore her when she’s being nasty. Try making a list of all the good things she does and intentionally notice those things during the day.

  1. Use Honey

Try to connect with the person to develop a closer relationship. Sometimes getting to know someone a little better and extending a hand in friendship can make the person start to go out of his way for you.

  1. Use the Opposite of Honey

Sometimes the only way to get someone to back off is to show her what she’s doing. You’ve probably been told before not to sink to anyone's level, but once in a while a bully needs a good kick in the shins. Be careful, however, because if you end up having to go to a higher authority to get this person to stop (see next step), you don't want her to have any ammunition against you. If you try this approach, explain why you did it. For example, “I shot down your idea in the meeting because that’s how you always speak to me. If you don't like how that feels, maybe you shouldn't do it to others."

  1. Report as a Last Resort

You never want to be labeled the workplace tattletale, but some situations are just impossible to live with. If all else fails and you feel an intervention is needed to stop the behavior, tell your boss. If you go this route, make sure you speak in terms of how the behavior is impacting the organization. Reducing creative thinking, impacting productivity and damaging team morale are all reasons for a boss to get involved because it will impact his bottom line.

It isn't reasonable to expect to have only coworkers you like, but if you have to work with people you can't stand, at least you have options to make your days a little better.

Thanks for the answer! Angelina P.

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Kim’s Answer


It all depends!

If you just don't get along, but it does not interfere with your ability to work together, then, it is not a problem for the supervisor.

I am one of those people who is "difficult" to get along with. Why? Because I have no nieces, nephews, grandkids (that's all adults seem to talk about!), I don't cook or go out, I'm not "into" fashion, or do anything else that people talk about. I spend all my free time with my hobby, which is working on cases for lawyers, and I can't really discuss that, for obvious reasons. People who try to connect with me know to ask me about my dog! But I am not good at asking questions back to them, because it was drilled into me never to ask personal questions! So, what I am saying is, try to find a common interest to connect with them on, without digging into their personal lives.

If it is affecting job performance, that is the time to discuss it with the boss, privately. But be ready to explain how you have tried to fix it, and, be willing to accept some responsibility for the problem. It's usually not totally one-sided. A lot of times things are not as they seem to be.

Hope that helps! Feel free to ask me questions!

Thank you for your helpful answer, (Kim? Ms. Igleheart? I'm sorry, I don't know what to call you!)! I appreciate you taking the time to answer me! I do get what you are saying, and it makes a lot of sense! Also, thank you for your service, there are people out there who appreciate you and what you do! Angelina P.

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Bruce’s Answer

Speak to the co-worker with a supervisor present

Thank you very much! Angelina P.

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Dennis’s Answer

Angelina try to do your best to find out where the disconnect is. Sometimes it can be as simple as a Communication disconnect - maybe if it can happen a sit down over coffee and really both go into the conversation as open minded and really looking to have a better work relationship by talking it out.

If it seems like it’s an ongoing issue and nothing seems to be making it better and you feel you did everything you can on your side, maybe a one on one talk with your Boss especially if it is affecting your work and the overall workplace environment.

Wishing you the Best of Luck!

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Karen’s Answer

Everyone has different personalities, we are all different. Sometimes we will have the same view and opinions of some co-workers, and other we will not. You do not have to be friends with everyone, you do however have to be professional at all times, you have to keep the Best Interests of the company and team as the Main Priority and Goal. You can only be held accountable for your behavior so make sure your behaviors is beyond reproach. Try to resolve the issue with the person, take the high road and try to come to an agreement. If this fails if the Other person is demonstrating unprofessional behavior then you need to address the issue with a superior so the behavior can be halted and some re-training to that person.

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John’s Answer

It all depends on how closely you are required to work with them. I am honest with people which is abrasive and quite forward. This shows people where they currently stand with me. This is not just me barking loud noises at someone and saying nothing. I let them know how they act and are perceived by me and how I do not like it. If they continue their actions or to act in a manner that shows they are not willing to change, then I avoid them. Obstacle avoidance is the easiest. It takes a bit of courage to let someone know they are rude, difficult to be around, or even have hygiene issues. Most people are too afraid of confrontation to be forward. You may be the one twho brings it up to the individual for the first time.

Figure the person out before you completely write them off. The same approach can not be taken the same by everyone. Some people need a gentler approach.

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Mitchell’s Answer

I'm in the military, so the work culture I'm surrounded with is probably different than yours, but I find that the best experiences I've had in the navy have been the times when the environment is a little more, shall we say, civilian. My strategy is generally to be especially kind to people you don't get along with, even if they are being rude. Ignoring someone only works to a point, so I'd not recommend it as a proper strategy for dealing with conflicting personalities. You can either try to find something you have in common with them, either through asking them or people that know them. Maybe there's an ice breaker left in there somewhere.

Most of all be patient. I know people can be frustrating. I was locked in a ship for several months with several people that I couldn't stand. But don't be rude, don't roll your eyes, and flash a smile. It's hard to fight with someone who always seems happy. You'll be fine. Good luck!