Forbes recommendations: 3 Types of Awful Co-Workers and How To Deal With Them

coworker_preTry these solutions to stop even the most annoying co-workers from driving you crazy.

Positive coping strategies may not only save your sanity, but they can also improve your well-being more than complaining ever will. In fact, learning to deal with difficult people can be a powerful way to develop your leadership skills.

Type 1: The co-worker who hits you up on slack to chat about office politics.

Gossip is compensatory strategy often used to cover low-self esteem or feelings of powerlessness. It’s likely your co-worker is communicating this way – although passively aggressively and manipulatively – to seek connection.

Nonetheless, hanging around gossiping co-workers is energy draining. Plus, getting involved in rumor-mongering can damage your professional reputation.

To disengage from this toxic cycle, use a simple formula: empathize and redirect.

First validate your co-worker, letting them know they’re being heard. By saying something like «Ugh, it is frustrating to feel confused», you’re not agreeing with or justifying their behavior, you’re simply mirroring how they feel without getting involved or talking about other people. Your focus is on them, which is probably their favorite subject anyway.

You can then use redirection, including focusing on positives, “Sorry that’s still bothering you. For now let’s talk about how things are going with the new project» or impose a solution-based boundary like «You should talk directly with Jim rather than me to solve this.»

Type 2: The co-worker who is negative about…well, everything.

Remember that there is a difference between being a perpetual pessimist and having an occasional need to vent. Everybody has tough times, and sharing our feelings can make us feel better. Use the “5-minute rule” when it comes to this. Let your colleague vent for five minutes, but after that, assume that he’s entered Downer mode, and proceed with the next steps.

Negative people often speak in extreme terms that match their worldviews. They talk about “never” and “always.” Your first goal is to switch them to fact-based statements. Switch extremes into facts.

People who whine a lot often feel powerless and believe that the situation is hopeless. Your only chance of ending their negativity is to help them to move into a problem solving mode.

If, after all your efforts, you deem these people to be hopelessly negative, you need to cut them off.

Type 3: The co-worker who gets too close for comfort.

When someone’s behavior is inappropriate for the workplace – like flirting or remarks about age, appearance, relationships, or gender – you have to draw a line. The key to establishing and maintaining boundaries is to enforce them immediately and assertively.


Hit smb up on slack Нажать на слабое место, взять на слабо
Annoying Раздражающий
Drive smb crazy Сводить с ума
Coping strategies Стратегии преодоления трудностей
Sanity Психическое здоровье
Low self-esteem Низкая самооценка
Powerlessness Беспомощность, бессилие
It’s likely Похоже, скорей всего
Seek connection Искать сходство
Disengage from the toxic cycle Освободиться, выйти из вредного окружения
Hang around Находиться среди, проводить вместе время
Gossip Сплетни
Energy draining энергозатратно
Be involved in rumour mongering участвовать в распространении слухов
Impose a solution-based boundary определить границу, основанную на поиске решения
Perpetual pessimist вечный пессимист
Need to vent потребность высказаться
Tough times трудные времена
Match their worldviews отражать взгляды на жизнь
Move into a problem solving mode перейти в режим решения проблемы
Deem smb helpless считать безнадежным
Cut smb off прервать общение с кем-либо
Maintain boundaries не переходить границы
Enforce boundaries immediately and assertively немедленно и жестко очертить границы