How to Work with Someone You Hate

Jun 13, 2014

We can all agree that liking the people you work with makes doing your job a heck of a lot better. In a survey by Jobsite, 70 percent of respondents said having friends at work is the most important element to a happy working life.

However, what about those co-workers you detest. You know the type, the pompous jerk, the obnoxious nit-picker, the complainer, the slacker that always passes off more than their fair share of work, the “thinks they’re the boss” co-workers. These people all negatively affect your attitude and performance.

Don’t let these people distract and drain your energy. Here are three tips to help you deal with dreaded co-workers.

1. Find common ground

Find something you can both relate to – maybe it’s a sports team you like, or an activity. Actively try to get to know the person more. You may find that there’s something you can relate to that makes the person more likable. You may also discover the reason the person acts like they do and find a better way to work with them.

2. Embrace what they are good at

Seeing the good in another can be hard when you dislike them, but actively trying to find something good about them will help you in the long run. Look closely for something the person is good at and compliment them on it. At best, it will bring good feelings to your relationship, at worst, it will remind you why it’s important to have that person around.

3. Distance yourself if possible

As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you can put some space and time between yourself and your co-worker, you may find that your strong feelings start to dissolve a bit. This could include requesting a desk switch or working on different projects. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but if you can manage a little bit of space, you’ll breathe easier.

If you can’t put physical distance between you and them, try putting mental distance in place. Take note of your reactions when they are around and try to manage them. Don’t let them get a rise out of you. Try to emotional detach. This will reduce your stress. Also, avoid complaining to other co-workers about the person. Not only will this take up more of your time and energy without helping the situation, it will just bring other people down. Plus, it makes you look bad.

If you still can’t find anything you like about this co-worker or create any distance between you and them, take it as a challenge to overcome. We all have our burdens at work, this may just be yours to bear. Don’t let it ruin your day. Take humour in the situation and remember that in the long run, your hate hurts you more than them. Stewing over how much you don’t like someone only makes you miserable and adds more stress to your life.