What to Do When You Don’t Get Along With a Co-Worker


Work is stressful. When you work with someone who drives mad, work can be downright miserable. If you let the situation get to you, your job performance will eventually begin to suffer. Here are some tips to help you navigate work when you just can’t get along with that co-worker.

Determine Your Real Issue

When you don’t like someone, the strikes against them can accumulate rather quickly. It’s easy to start seeking out evidence in their daily actions to “prove” why they are a terrible human being. This snowball of resentment only makes things worse. If you want to shift the dynamics, try to determine the heart of the problem.

Examine your case against them. Is there an actual issue, or have you interpreted things a certain way? For example, you may have started to dislike Judy because she responds to voice messages via email, rather than having a conversation. You have interpreted this as some sort of personal affront, but you really don’t know why she responds in that way. Try to separate fact from feeling and assumption.

Have a Conversation

A private and direct conversation can often help the situation. Just be sure to focus on specific situations rather than venturing into personal attacks. Instead of saying, “Judy, you’ve been avoiding me since last December and it’s making me angry,” say, “Since December, you have replied to all of my voice messages via email. I was wondering if I did something to upset you because it feels like you have been avoiding me.”

You may find that Judy simply finds email a more efficient means of communication given her vast workload. Or you may find that you did something to offend her and she really has been avoiding you. Either way, you can begin to overcome the issue through open, frank conversation.

Limit Interaction

If a direct conversation doesn’t help or is not possible, try to limit interaction with your co-worker. When you do interact with them, be as cordial and polite as possible, without being fake. You cannot control the actions of others, but you can manage your own. If you focus on being positive, you won’t be tempted to say negative things or start an argument that could land you in hot water with your boss.

Talk To Your Boss

If the situation goes beyond a personality clash or misunderstanding and your co-worker is actually taking active action to sabotage you on the job or is stirring negativity in the team, sit down with your boss to talk about the situation. Be careful about your approach. You don’t want to unleash a personal attack, just make your boss aware of specific, documented situations when the person’s behavior had a negative impact on your work or the work of the team.

Move On

Sometimes these situations with co-workers can become toxic. If you cannot see a resolution, it might be time to start searching for new opportunities. If you are an engineer or technical professional in the Southeast looking for new challenges, reach out to the recruiting experts at Selectek today.