Are there people at work who annoy you? Do you find them difficult to work with? Do they make your job more stressful? If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then you know what it’s like to work with frustrating people.
I think most people have experienced this at some point in their career. In the workplace, a bunch of different people (with different personalities and working styles) are put together and asked to work as a team. It’s not surprising that those people don’t always get along.
But according to author Mat Apodaca, there are things that you can do to make the situation better. You can make your relationship with a frustrating individual less stressful, more productive, and more harmonious by doing the following:
- Be kind – Working with the frustrating person might make you feel angry. But you should never express that anger – that would only make things worse. Instead, when you’re interacting with the person, you should try to stay calm and be kind. Kindness will help to diffuse the situation, and the frustrating person is likely to become more flexible and agreeable.
- Show compassion – Keep in mind that you don’t know what other people are dealing with in their lives. So the difficult person may be feeling stressed for reasons that have nothing to do with you or the project you’re working on together. This isn’t an excuse for bad behavior. But if you try to be patient and understanding, it will help you to communicate with the person more effectively.
- Find common ground – Try to find out if you have something in common with the frustrating person. Maybe you both like the same kind of music or you both hate seafood. If you can find common ground, it will give you something fun and neutral to talk about. And it will help you to build a better relationship.
- Provide some perspective – The frustrating person may not fully understand the amount of thought and effort that you’ve put into the project that you’re both working on. Make sure to provide the person with this background information so they understand the reasoning behind your ideas and suggestions.
- Distance yourself – You shouldn’t try to avoid the frustrating person. You work with this person, and you need to be able to interact with them. But when things are tense, it’s OK to take a timeout. Put a little distance between yourself and the frustrating person until things have cooled off a little bit.
- Consider your own behavior – Ask yourself if your behavior may be making the situation worse. Are you doing or saying something that might be causing the difficult person to get upset and react with anger? Even though you may be an excellent employee, it’s possible that you may have contributed to the problem in certain ways. If this is the case, do what you can to change the way you interact with the person. Remember to try to be calm, kind, and compassionate whenever possible.
Apodaca, M. (n.d.). How to deal with difficult people: 10 expert techniques. Lifehack. Retrieved from: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-deal-with-difficult-people.html