We all have coworkers we despise. They talk with food in their mouths. Maybe they cannot communicate. Or they stare at you. They mumble. They argue about trivial, pointless shit. They hit on you all the time.!They storm in to your office and interrupt your work. I’m getting revved up just thinking about the list of ways coworkers grind on us. So, how do you deal with these inevitable bags of skin that annoy you?

Ignore Them

It’s a law of society that people don’t like to stop busy people. They feel guilty. Always act busy and those coworkers you despise will not want to interrupt your flow. If you leave your desk always move like you are carrying a life saving heart in a cooler and need to drop it off at the hospital in the next two minutes people have a tendency to only interrupt you with really important requests or things.

If the matter is urgent, then give that person a few minutes of your time. If you are interrupted, and they want something non-urgent, just say “I’m a bit busy, so do you mind emailing me this.” Which brings us to suggestion number two.

Eliminate the Personal

Minimize your human contact and interactions by directing annoying people to your voicemail or your email. Drop them into the digital world and keep them there. Only interact in person if necessary. Relegating these individuals to the realm of emails and voice messages makes them A) interact only when necessary because email and voice messages are tedious and we all already have overload with these things and B) get to the point with what they need you for. If someone strikes up a personal conversation you can easily redirect.

Mitigate Them

If this is someone you have to interact with as part of your job, interact only as much as is necessary. Keep the conversation moving by saying, “I have a-lot going on, can we please stay on point.” Or use conversation enders when the point of the interaction has been achieved and the rambling begins. Such things as ,”got it. Cool. I’ll get that done.” Or, ” I’ll check on that and email you.” Or, “thanks for the heads up, is there anything else?”

Mitigate by controlling the conversation. Even if approached by the annoying person, control the conversation so that you can ensure things stay on point and end when you want them to.

Set Boundaries

Either spoken or unspoken, draw a line in the sand for what you are willing to endure. Work is a professional environment and you have a right to not deal with awkwardness, harassment, or frustration from annoying coworkers.

Part of work is dealing with coworkers, but a large part of your work is doing a job. So, do your job and ignore the rest. Usually colleagues just let things be at this point. They understand we’re all trying to do our best.

But, if a problem arises the problem will then arise with the other person and not you. In such a situation you have insulated yourself because you can confidently, and honestly say, “I’m not sure what the issue is. I’m just trying to do my job in the best way possible. Is that what you want from me, or would you prefer I make sure Joe feels safe and accepted?”

The workplace is not a place for emotions. The workplace is a space to get things done, and that requires operating with direction and poise, not emotion.

Don’t Be Honest

Read my article on Why Honesty Doesn’t Matter for why this never works.

Bookend Meetings

Do you have a meeting with that person? No problem. Schedule another meeting right after that one so you cannot run over in time and get trapped. This also forces the conversation to stay on point since you have limited time.

Dealing with Annoying Coworkers

When it comes down to it you can either quit your job or find a way to deal. But, no matter where you go and what you do, you are going to deal with coworkers you despise.

Irregardless of what you decide remember that most people are not idiots, they just make mistakes. Some make more mistakes than others, but everyone is trying their best to do good, fit in, and please others. So, if all else fails… maybe you just need to operate on the premise that we are all trying our best, and just air your concerns.

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