6 Tips for Dealing with Annoying Co-Workers

                                                By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC


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What do you do when you love everything about your job, except that one annoying coworker? You have to be around this person for at least 8 hours day, 5 days a week. You spend more time with this person than you do with your friends and some family members.


Some people just like to push our buttons. There are individuals who are actively working against you to try to get ahead. And some are just completely clueless and don't even realize what they're doing. Do you work with someone like this?


Discover some helpful tips for dealing with annoying coworkers:


  • Try avoiding them. It may seem obvious, but if you make an effort to avoid someone, you may be able to significantly reduce the frequency of your interactions with them.
  • Ignore the annoying coworker. If you work within earshot of someone who likes to sing all day long, the one who is constantly talking, or the office jokester who is constantly making un-funny jokes, try to ignore them.
  • Take the high road and maintain a positive attitude. Do your best to let things go and not allow their annoying habits to irritate you. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to stay focused and get your work done. Try putting on some headphones, turn on your fan and/or invest in a white noise machine to insulate yourself from all of the distractions.  
  • Find a way to let your frustration out. Get away from the individual who annoys you. When you take your breaks, don't go to the break room where he/she may show up. Instead, go for a walk and disappear for a little while.
    • Rather than just taking a leisurely stroll, consider doing some power walking. A quick workout can help you release your frustrations. Furthermore, the endorphins released during exercise will make you feel a lot better.
  • Be more assertive. If avoiding someone, ignoring them, and doing your best to let their annoying habits roll off your back just isn’t working, it's time to confront them.
    • If you have a coworker who’s constantly cracking jokes, singing, or trying to make small talk with everyone around them, politely let them know that it’s distracting to you.
    • If a coworker is repeatedly interrupting you when you're trying to work, ask them to send you an e-mail or set up a calendar invitation so that you can address their concerns when you have a moment.
  • Talk to your supervisor. If you have attempted all of these tips and things still haven’t changed, it may be time to talk to the boss.
    • Your supervisor may have better luck getting them to change their annoying habits.
    • It's also possible that you’re not the only one having these concerns. If several of your coworkers have already approached your supervisor with the same issues, they’ll have no choice but to do something about it.

 When you have an annoying coworker, it's important to remember that most of the time he/she probably has no idea that his/her habits are annoying. People who are openly rude and/or mean are usually behaving this way because they’re unhappy in their own lives. If someone is miserable, you can try to show compassion or avoid them as much as possible. Just don't let their misery negatively impact your work.

Additional Resources

Conflict Resolution

How to Resolve a Disagreement with a Colleague

Spreading Happiness at Work

How to Succeed at Group Projects at Work

7 Strategies for Working with Difficult Co-Workers