We don’t get to pick our family, and we also don’t get to pick our co-workers. No work environment is perfect. Sometimes, it can be as simple as having different personalities that don’t mesh well, while other times it’s someone who you just can’t stand for one reason or another.
Dealing with difficult working relationships is part of life. You can’t get away from them no matter how many companies you work for or positions you take. There will always be a colleague whom you dread coming into contact.
Eventually, moments in life that make you want to run for the hills are the very moments when you should stay put and work through the situation. These are our moments of growth. These are opportunities to stretch yourself. These are times to flex your adaptability muscle, which can work in our favor.
The people who are the most adaptable in life, who can figure out how to work with difficult people; are the ones that people want to be around. When people want to be around you, it enhances your influence. Influence allows your ideas to be accepted, inspires, and motivates others and this makes you feel good.
But ask yourself… “Is it them… Or is it me?” You will probably say “it’s them.” But the more realistic answer is “it’s both of you.” This is the hardest part to accept, but it takes two to tango.
Remember that you can’t change people, but you can change your reaction to other people.
To help you not just survive but thrive, here are 4 strategies to work with someone you don’t like:
Don’t take their behavior personally:
If the reason you dislike the person is because of how they behave. The situation can be more complicated. It is difficult to work with someone rude, causes suffering, or enjoys attacking you. The key is to not take it personally. It is more often about the other person than it is about you.
Just because you have to work with someone you don’t like doesn’t mean you have to let them walk all over you. Set behavior and interaction that help you distance yourself. The key is to be very clear and communicative about the boundaries you set.
Not everything is worth your time and attention. You can pick your battles and control the argument by taking charge of the situation.
Take breaks from working with them:
You need to set limits on how much time and energy you are willing to give to working with someone you don’t like. Once you reach your limit, disconnect from them emotionally and physically. If you work close to each other, walk away for a bit or put on headphones and tell them you’re going to be “in the zone” for a bit. The goal is to give yourself a chance to breathe and calm your mind.