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How to Find a Great Deal on a Laptop

A laptop is an extremely important part of your life, especially when you use it for school or work. Getting a great deal on a good laptop is important because you’re able to get a high-quality item without breaking the bank. Following are tips on how to find great deals.

Check Out Craigslist

Craigslist is filled to the brim with people trying to unload their laptops. Some of them are people who primarily use a work laptop for everything and don’t need their personal laptops. Others are trying to upgrade to newer or different models. Many of these people offer amazing deals for their computers because they simply want to unload them. Try to go with people who still have their laptops under warranty, but if a deal seems too good to pass up, do yourself a favor and test out the computer first.

Buy the Previous Generation of a Brand New Model

When companies like Apple release brand new laptops, the previous generation often goes through a massive price drop. If you’re not into or don’t need all the bells and whistles of the latest release, go back a generation or two. You’ll most likely see amazing deals that offers savings of as much as hundreds of dollars less than the new models.

Buy During Sale Events

Where special buying events like “Black Friday” were once unique and special, they’ve become par for the course. Everyone expects some sort of a deal on Black Friday these days. Companies compete to offer the best deals around. If you’re looking to save big bucks, time your purchases to line up with special shopping events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You may be able to swing the deal of the century.

Know When Your Brand Goes on Sale

Certain brands go on sale at specific times of the year when they’re ready to release their latest models. For instance, Apple tends to go on sale during the spring and the fall. You can also check out the MacRumors site or the MacRumors buying guide to figure out when you should buy. You can also join brand forums so that you’re notified of updates.

Hunt for Deals on

One site that’s perfect for finding awesome deals on laptops is TechRadar. This site finds the best deals on the hottest tech products, pulling together a list of all of the retailers that are currently having sales, including companies like Amazon and Newegg. You’ll then be able to compare prices. If you sign up for notifications from TechRadar, you’ll always be kept in the loop of the latest deals.


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How to deal with difficult coworkers and still be professional


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Why is knowing how to deal with difficult coworkers important?

Before anything, check in with yourself, the different types of difficult coworkers and how to deal with them, how to deal with any kind of difficult coworker .

Everyone has a story about a difficult coworker. 

There’s always someone who never shows up on time, who borrows your favorite pen and never gives it back, or is regularly rude to you . 

In small doses, this behavior is tolerable. Everyone makes mistakes or has a bad day. But if it happens daily, their conduct becomes a pattern. Over time, however, this kind of difficult coworker can lower your job satisfaction an d impact your overall well-being . 

Some studies even show that difficult coworkers can lead employees to leave their companies . 

So how can you deal with difficult coworkers? First, remember that managing these relationships is a vital part of office politics . Frustrated outbursts and angry behavior will only harm your career and contribute to a toxic workplace .

To keep your career on track and find so me peace at work, use these 8 tips for how to deal with a difficult coworker. You ’ll be on your way to maintaining a healthy and harmonious work environment before you know it. 


In every area of life, you’re bound to meet someone that you find challenging to be around. The workplace is no exception. The difference is that while you might be able to snub someone at the supermarket, doing so at work could have an impact on your career . 

Retaliation against a mean coworker might seem satisfying at the moment. However, it’s worth thinking twice about. One passive-aggressive remark can turn into full-blown hostility. This can only make life more stressful than before. 

This kind of conflict can also ruin your relationship with your other coworkers. They likely won’t recognize that you are simply defending yourself by lashing out. Instead, you could be seen as another difficult person in the office. 

If you retaliate, you could also contribute to normalizing toxic behavior at work. This could eventually erode any positive culture that currently exists. That’s not an ideal outcome if your goal was to improve your quality of life.

Dealing with a difficult coworker is a delicate matter. You have a right to a peaceful work environment and a right to speak up for yourself . However, the workplace makes addressing your coworker a little complicated. The good news? You can learn exactly what steps you need to take to improve your work life.

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Before risking a potential conflict, take a moment to examine your feelings. Why does this person bother you so much? You should discern if you’re dealing with a coworker who is uncooperative, lazy, or downright mean.

We often dislike individuals because they remind us of someone from our past or have qualities we dislike in ourselves. Naming these feelings might be enough to diffuse your frustration. 

Journaling is a great way to put your thoughts into words and channel your negative emotions elsewhere. You can also try talking it out with a professional. BetterUp , for example, can help you navigate these workplace relationships by providing objective guidance. 

It’s also worth examining your own behavior. Think back on whether you’ve been rude or if you might’ve done something to instigate this situation. Remember, at the end of the day, the only person you can control is yourself . What can you do to improve things now, instead of waiting for someone else to change? 

There are many constructive ways to deal with a difficult colleague, but the strategies vary depending on the person. Here are 5 common types of difficult coworkers and how to deal with them. 


1. The sloth

This person is generally considered a slacker. They complete their work, but only just, and they thrive on doing the bare minimum. They’re often slow, working up to the deadline when they could easily finish right away. 

The sloth is particularly frustrating if your own work depends on theirs. 

Solution: First of all, be kind and respectful . Speak to them privately. Ask about the ETA for their work and politely push for an explanation. They might have personal issues you don’t know about. If they don’t appear to have a good reason, tell them how their tardiness affects your work, as this might be the kick they need to work faster.

Track your attempts at addressing this difficult situation. If you fail on several occasions, your manager or human resources department can help with conflict resolution.

2. The bellyacher

Look, we all need to blow off steam sometimes. But it can be exhausting when a colleague never stops complaining. These types of coworkers dwell on problems and rarely offer solutions. After a while, the negativity can be grating. It can even make you more unhappy with your job over time, even if you truly enjoy it. 

Solution: Try acknowledging your difficult coworker’s complaints and subtly moving the conversation elsewhere. You can also ask them to pitch a solution. Remind them that nothing will change unless someone takes action. Since they seem passionate about the issue, why not them?

Another way to surprise the bellyacher is to offer a contrasting opinion. Continuing to be kind and respectful, you can simply say, “I actually enjoyed that meeting.” If you don’t echo their complaints, this difficult coworker will likely get bored and move onto the next person. 

3. The center of attention

Some people love the spotlight but don’t like working for it. This person will often take credit for other people’s achievements. Usually, this behavior masks their underlying insecurities.

Solution: This is a case where it’s more productive to focus on yourself. Keep a list of your accomplishments and share it with your manager to help them recognize your work before someone else takes credit for it. 


4. The hotshot

You might have a team member who fancies themself a know-it-all. They’re loud in meetings, rarely accept criticism, and make reckless decisions. These people like to steamroll over other people’s ideas.

Solution: This might be difficult, but try asking for their advice on a problem. This shows you’re willing to have a positive relationship. They may learn to trust you and be more inclined to hear your ideas.

If that doesn’t work, be direct. Explain that you don’t feel heard. Maybe this person doesn’t know their behavior is harming people. 

5. The gossip

There’s such a thing as innocent office gossip, but sometimes, it can go too far. This person talks behind people’s backs and spreads unverified rumors. Anyone who remembers high school knows how this behavior can cause harm. Put-downs and gossip have no place in a workplace.

Solution: Don’t participate. When the conversation turns negative, simply leave and don’t repeat the rumors. You can also try changing the subject. If someone is spreading particularly harmful lies, politely ask them to stop. 

Outside of the above scenarios, here are some general ways to stay sane around a difficult coworker.


1. Avoid them if you can

Some people are best in small doses. Don’t feel bad limiting your interactions with them. To avoid drama, remember to be kind and continue to engage in small talk. Don’t give them the cold shoulder — just keep your time with your difficult coworker brief. 

2. Don’t let them push your buttons

Figure out why your difficult coworker bothers you so much. What behaviors are the most bothersome? What buttons do they push? When they start exhibiting those traits, you can politely excuse yourself. You can also work on coping mechanisms such as deep breathing .

3. Stay positive

Don’t let a difficult coworker burn you out . Remember why you love your job and focus on the people who bring you joy. This will help protect your mental health in the long run.

4. Don’t take it personally

A difficult coworker’s behavior isn’t your fault. Let it slide off your shoulders, and only intervene when it interferes with your actual work and professional goals.

BetterUp can help you learn how to deal with difficult coworkers and navigate these relationships. Whether you need career advice, to find better work-life balance, or help developing your career, we’ll always be in your corner.

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Collaborating with a difficult co-worker: Do’s and don’ts

Collaborating with a difficult co-worker: Do’s and don’ts

No matter how much you like your job, it doesn’t mean that all your co-workers are a pleasure to work with. In fact, it’s possible that one of your colleagues never fails to push your buttons, and you always dread having to bring up the issue.

If this sounds familiar, then it might help to know you’re not alone. According to Gwen Moran in her  FastCompany  article titled “ How to Deal with a Coworker You Can’t Stand ,” approximately 80 percent of workers reported experiencing moderate to severe stress due to having to collaborate with a difficult colleague.

Regardless of whether you’re justified in finding someone “difficult” or “unpleasant,” the truth is that it’s critical to your professional success that you have the ability to work with anyone. The reason for this is simply that if you let someone else’s behavior get to you, you’re likely to be thrown off your game, and your work will likely suffer. At the same time, some of the most brilliant people you might encounter in your career could be very difficult—and if you avoid them purely because you don’t get along, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to do great work. What’s more: you could even run the risk of earning the reputation of being difficult yourself.

It’s far more constructive to understand that while it’s nice to like your colleagues, it’s not a prerequisite to doing good work together. What  is  a necessity is that you develop strategies for working with difficult people. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind:

Working with a difficult colleague is never fun. However, it’s important for your career and reputation that you never let interpersonal problems get in the way of your professionalism.

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how to deal with problem work colleagues


4 Tactics that Backfire When Dealing with a Difficult Colleague

how to deal with problem work colleagues

Suppressing your emotions doesn’t work. Neither does starting a flame war.

When you’re at your wit’s end with a challenging colleague and it feels like you’ve tried everything, well-meaning friends and coworkers may tell you to “just ignore it” or to “suck it up” and move on with your life. But suppressing our emotions rarely helps. In this piece, the author outlines four tactics that are tempting to try — but often backfire — when dealing with a difficult colleague. Another one to avoid: waiting to see if your difficult colleague will just leave on their own. Your dream that they’ll walk out the door may come true, but there’s no guarantee that the culture will shift or that you’ll get along with their replacement. Ultimately you’re better off trying to create a workable situation with your colleague now. And remember: even small improvements can make a big difference.

One of my favorite questions to ask people who are dealing with a difficult colleague is:  What would you do about this situation if you could do anything you wanted? 

In researching and writing my book, Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) , I had the opportunity to ask this question of dozens of people, and the answers usually ranged from practical to entertaining to a bit scary (there are lots of people who want to punch an annoying colleague in the face!). Many fantasize about quitting dramatically. Others just want to tell their coworker exactly how they feel without mincing words.

I ask this question because I want people to think expansively about how they might respond, and often, without constraints, they land on a strategy that might actually work ( not punching someone in the face!).

But there are quite a few tactics that are less productive that we sometimes gravitate toward because we think they’ll help us feel better, when in actuality, they often backfire. They may alleviate our pain in the short term but are ultimately bad for us, the other person, and our organization. Avoiding these common tactics will prevent you from making things worse.

Suppressing your emotions

When you’re at your wit’s end with a challenging colleague and it feels like you’ve tried everything, well-meaning friends and coworkers may tell you to “just ignore it” or to “suck it up” and move on with your life. This can be good advice if you’re truly able to let it go. But often we decide we’re going to do nothing but actually end up doing a whole lot of things , whether it’s stewing about the situation, talking incessantly about it to our partner, or becoming passive-aggressive. Suppressing our emotions rarely helps.

In fact, psychologist Susan David writes that “suppressing your emotions — deciding not to say something when you’re upset — can lead to bad results.” She explains that if you don’t express your feelings, they’re likely to show up in unexpected places.

Psychologists call this emotional leakage . David explains:

Have you ever yelled at your spouse or child after a frustrating day at work — a frustration that had nothing to do with [them]?…When you bottle up your feelings, you’re likely to express your emotions in unintended ways instead, either sarcastically or in a completely different context. Suppressing your emotions is associated with poor memory, difficulties in relationships, and physiological costs (such as cardiovascular health problems).

In other words, sucking it up doesn’t usually decrease your stress level. It raises it.

The risk that you’ll take your negative feelings out on innocent bystanders isn’t the only reason to avoid this tactic. Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day , points out that, while the intention behind pretending you’re not upset with a difficult colleague may be good — perhaps you want to preserve the relationship — they’re likely to sense your irritation anyway. “Because of emotional contagion, they might not be conscious that you harbor negativity toward them, but it will still have an effect on them. Your passive-aggressiveness is going to come through, even in remote work environments,” she told me in an interview for my book. Research has shown that it’s not just you who suffers the physical impact of suppression either. If you hide anger or frustration, the blood pressure of those around you is likely to rise as well. They may not know exactly what you’re feeling and thinking, but they register underlying tension just the same.


Another tempting response to mistreatment is to fight fire with fire. If your passive-aggressive teammate says one thing in a meeting and does something completely different afterward, why not do the same to them? Or if your pessimistic colleague is going to poke a zillion holes in your ideas, why shouldn’t you take them down when they suggest something new? Unfortunately, stooping to their level doesn’t generally work. You intensify the feeling of being on opposing sides rather than giving the dynamic a chance to change. And retaliation often makes you look bad. Or worse, it violates your values.

To avoid giving into the (understandable) desire for revenge, commit to behaving in line with your values. Sometimes it’s helpful to write them down. What is it that you care about? What matters most to you? If you’re not sure, consider looking at a set of universal values and see which resonate with you, listing them in order of importance. Then, when you’re coming up with a plan for how you want to respond to your insecure boss or biased coworker, refer to the list and make sure that the tactics you land on align with your values.

When I’m dealing with someone who pushes my buttons, I often fantasize about sending an email to everyone who knows them, outing them as a jerk. My (flawed) logic is that if the person who has wronged me is humiliated enough, they will be forced to change their ways.

Bob Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule , summed it up this way: “Calling people an asshole is one of the most reliable ways to turn someone into an asshole — or make them hate you.” That’s because feelings of shame rarely inspire us to behave better; more often, they make us lash out further.

I like the way that Brené Brown distinguishes between shame and guilt and explains their relative usefulness:

I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful — it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort. I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging — something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.

Making your colleague feel as if they’re a bad person, labeling them as a jerk or as someone who plays the victim, is unlikely to improve your relationship.

Similarly, dehumanizing a difficult coworker doesn’t help. It’s easy to demonize the person who causes us harm, but hating them only pits you against one another. Instead, make sure that every step of the way, you remind yourself that you’re dealing with a fellow human, not a robot or an arch villain.

Hoping your colleague will leave

Many of us bank on outlasting our difficult colleagues and focus on making the situation workable until they get fired or move on to another job. But be careful of putting all of your eggs in the “eventually they’ll be gone” basket. Sutton warns that sometimes “removing the bad apples” does little to change the underlying issue, especially if your colleague’s obnoxious behavior is validated by the organizational culture. Often other things need to change to prevent incivility, he says — things like the “incentive system, who’s promoted and rewarded, how meetings are run, and the pressure people are under to perform.”

A few years ago, the head of HR for a health insurance company asked me to train their staff on how to have difficult conversations. She explained that they had a very hierarchical culture and were having trouble getting people to speak up, especially with ideas that challenged the status quo. Nine years earlier, they’d done a survey that showed employees felt it was a very “command and control” environment. Determined to evolve, executives led several culture change initiatives and hired new leaders who were known for having a more collaborative and less autocratic style. Those leaders also replaced people on their teams so that within that nine-year period, almost 80% of the employee population had turned over, including most of the leadership team. But when they conducted the culture survey again, they got almost exactly the same results. The exasperated HR executive told me, “It’s like it’s in the water here.”

Sometimes it’s not individual people who are the problem but the systems that allow, and in some cases encourage, hostility over cooperation. And systems are hard to change. Your dream that your difficult coworker will walk out the door may come true, but there’s no guarantee that the culture will shift or that you’ll get along with their replacement. Ultimately you’re better off trying to create a workable situation with your colleague now than hoping things will improve if they leave.

Will you always be able to avoid these flawed responses? No. Nobody’s perfect, and these unproductive approaches are seductive. But if you get a flat tire, you don’t fix the problem by slashing the other three tires. When you strike out with the first tactic (or several tactics) you choose, try something else — or reach out for help. Maybe your boss, a friend, or a mutual colleague can offer a novel solution. The point is to keep at it; remember: even small improvements can make a big difference.

This article is excerpted from Amy’s Gallo book, Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) (Harvard Business Review Press 2022).

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How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers: 14 Effective Strategies & Coping Tactics

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Meredith Walters, MBA and by wikiHow staff writer, Glenn Carreau . Meredith Walters is a Certified Career Coach who helps people develop the skills they need to find meaningful, fulfilling work. Meredith has over eight years of career and life coaching experience, including conducting training at Emory University's Goizueta School of Business and the US Peace Corps. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors of ICF-Georgia. She earned her coaching credentials from New Ventures West and a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 110,226 times.

Having good working relationships with your coworkers is important since you spend so much time there. Unfortunately, some coworkers can be rude, unprofessional, or just plain toxic. It’s easy to get stressed and struggle with productivity when you’re juggling a bad work relationship, but thankfully, there are ways to improve the situation. Read on for a list of ways to help you effectively deal with a difficult coworker—making your job much more enjoyable in the process!

Things You Should Know

Limit your time with them.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 1

Learn to let it go.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 2

Maintain a cheerful attitude.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 3

Treat everyone with respect.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 4

Ask for your coworker’s advice.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 5

Identify the behaviors that upset you.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 6

Get to know your coworker.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 7

Meredith Walters, MBA

Meredith Walters, MBA

Our Expert Agrees: View your coworkers with compassion. Keep in mind that whatever the other person is responding to about you, it's not necessarily because you're doing wrong. In most cases, it's more about them. Try having a conversation with them where you try to get an idea of what they're reacting to and why. Often, if you can do that without becoming defensive, you can navigate the situation and work together.

Reflect on your behavior.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 8

Address the issue respectfully.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 9

Share your perspective with them politely.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 10

Remain neutral at work.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 11

Focus on the positive aspects of your job.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 12

Accept your differences.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 13

Talk to a supervisor.

Image titled Deal With a Difficult Co‐worker Step 14

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Meredith Walters, MBA

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About This Article

Meredith Walters, MBA

To deal with a difficult coworker, don't take anything they do personally, and try to remember that they might be acting difficult because they're going through something in their own life. If you can, just try to ignore them and not let it get to you. However, if the issue is too big to ignore, try politely bringing it up with them and seeing if you can resolve things. Or, in serious circumstances, consider talking to HR about the problem. For tips on how to be the bigger person at work, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Deal With Difficult Co-Workers

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Regardless of what kind of job you have, chances are, you have to interact with a number of people with widely different personalities — and sometimes, those personalities just don’t mesh with yours.

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For many employees, it’s a serious enough issue that it causes a problematic work environment that prompts the search for a new job.

But if you like everything else about the work you do, there are a few steps you can take to minimize a toxic co-worker’s negative impact on your workdays, says counseling psychologist  Chivonna Childs, PhD .

Why it’s important to navigate coworker relationships

“We spend eight to 12 hours a day at our workplace, which is almost more time than we spend with our families,” Dr. Childs says. “The atmosphere there can have a heavy toll on our mental and emotional health.”

We spend so much time at work that difficult colleagues can have an outsized negative impact on our quality of life. A 2018 study on workplace behaviors reported that “[e]ven the actions of a single toxic person can have ripple effects, creating more widespread discontent and conflict. In other words, one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.”

If you don’t find healthy ways to cope, you may begin feeling isolated and depressed. You might experience sleeplessness, anxiety and low self-esteem.

“We begin to worry if we’re good enough to be here, if people like us, if we’re going to lose our job,” Dr. Childs says. “There are a lot of rabbit holes that we start to go down as we worry about the workplace we enter on a daily basis.”

What to do about a toxic co-worker

Most people don’t like tension or confrontation, so it probably feels way outside of your comfort zone to set physical and emotional boundaries . But doing so is necessary for tending to your mental health, especially in a toxic space.

“We teach people how to treat us,” Dr. Childs says. “Fire can’t burn without fuel, and the same is true in the workplace. If we refuse to be a part of something, we starve the fire.”

She shares tips for managing your interactions with a co-worker whose personality doesn’t mesh well with your own.

1. Create physical distance

If you work in an office space together, you can try to literally distance yourself from your difficult co-worker. This could mean reworking your office layout so your desk faces a different direction or capitalizing on an opportunity to relocate to an empty cubicle down the hall.

“Create a space that allows you to set physical boundaries, which in turn, protects your mental and emotional space, as well,” Dr. Childs says.

2. Avoid, if you can 

When you find yourself in a spot where people are infecting you with cynicism, criticism, gossip or always wanting to be right, try to protect and insulate yourself by refusing to participate.

“Try to change the subject. Don’t indulge and don’t commiserate with them,” Dr. Childs advises. “It can be easy to get sucked in.”

3. Set your conversational boundaries

If your coworker doesn’t take the hint about conversational topics that make you uncomfortable, it’s time to say so.

“Let them know that this is not a comfortable space for you and not a topic you want to indulge in,” Dr. Childs suggests. “If they continue to do it, you can be upfront with them. Say, ‘This is not something that I want to do,’ and remove yourself from the situation.”

4. Take care of yourself

“Work should be left at work, even if we’re working from home,” Dr. Childs says. “But because that isn’t always possible, self-care is pivotal.”

Build your coping skills by starting a self-care routine that helps you stay in a healthy mental space. The more serene and secure you feel, the better you’ll be able to manage what you’re experiencing at work.

5. Stay true to yourself and your values

“What are your goals? What do you want for yourself? What is your purpose? What are you here to do?” Dr. Childs asks. “Figure that out and then try to create a safe space for yourself so that you can be happy no matter what your job is.”

When to involve your supervisor or HR

What if the situation doesn’t get any better? You’ve done everything you can, but your co-worker continues to gossip or bully (or both!), and you just don’t know what to do at this point. Now what?

When it’s time to consider another job

Yes, you have to pay your bills, but you also have to be a functional, healthy human — so it’s worth exploring your job options . Maybe there’s an opening in another department, or you could be transferred to a different location.

“Looking for a new job isn’t always a realistic immediate option,” Dr. Childs says, “but if you learn to prioritize yourself, you’ll start to get some clarity on what to do about your job.”

Employers, take note

Research shows that toxic co-workers cost companies far more than what the high performers add to the workplace, so it’s beneficial for employers to take a holistic approach to hiring. This means not only hiring people with the right experience and skills, but also those who are likely to mesh well with the team.

It’s important to take into consideration who might be able to create a positive culture that promotes productivity, Dr. Childs says. One negative personality is all it takes to drag everyone else down.

“Positive people build positive companies,” she notes.

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Illustration of a person surrounded by pointing fingers

Chances are, you have to interact with a number of people with widely different personalities at work — and sometimes, those personalities just don’t mesh with yours. But if you like everything else about your job, there are a few steps you can take to minimize a toxic co-worker’s negative impact.

35+ Ways to Deal With Difficult Coworkers

There are problem coworkers in every office. Here's how to deal with a problem coworker—whether she's negative, doesn't do her work, or is passive-aggressive.

35+-Ways-to-Deal-With-Difficult-Coworkers Image

Why You Must Deal With Difficult Coworkers

5 common types of difficult coworkers.

When + How to Talk to Management

The negative coworker, how to deal, the overly-competitive coworker, the work shirker, how to deal with difficult coworkers (35+ ways), 1. understand their personality, 2. determine their preferred communication style, 3. control your tone of voice, 4. consider their perspective—first, 5. timing matters, 6. examine your own behavior, 7. share your experience with a trusted ally or mentor, 8. schedule a private conversation, 9. practice empathy, 10. come from a place of curiosity, 11. name the specific issue—and address it quickly, 12. know your own trigger points, 13. if needed, limit your interactions, 14. treat the difficult person with compassion, 15. set boundaries + enforce them, 16. be accountable for dealing with the difficult coworker, 17. evaluate + control your actions, 18. voice your thoughts in a productive way, 19. if needed, track specific interactions, 20. treat your conversation like a collaboration, 21. create a mutual plan for moving forward, 22. stay neutral + don't bring in other employees, 23. follow-up after your initial discussion, 24. focus on your work, 25. clarify team roles + responsibilities, 26. create a team feedback structure, 27. review work communication platforms, 28. don't be a "right" fighter, 29. be assertive but not rude, 30. separate your personal feelings from the situation, 31. focus on positive relationships, 32. manage your expectations, 33. have an exit plan ready, 34. talk to your boss, 35. articulate how their behavior impacts your work, 36. learn how to take critical feedback, 37. learn how to give effective feedback, 38. be optimistic.

The Bottom Line

how to deal with problem work colleagues

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how to deal with problem work colleagues

Direct Discussion – How to Approach a Co-Worker

Don’t talk to your colleague in anger.

Do not engage in a discussion while feelings are escalated; when you are angry your ability to use rational, problem-solving skills is impaired. Remove yourself from any situation where feelings are high and take the time to cool down and reflect. To find out more about the role of anger and how it can be channeled in productive ways review the section on Managing Anger – Yours and Others .

Analyze and think about the problem

Spend some time determining what the issues or problems are from your perspective. Try to consider the situation from the other employee’s perspective and what their wants or needs might be.

Separate the issues from the person - plan how to discuss the problem in a non-blaming manner. Being Hard on the Problem – Not the Person has useful pointers on analyzing the conflict and preparing to address the issues.

Often conflict is fueled by inaccurate assumptions, misperceptions, and unmet expectations. For assistance in understanding the dynamics of a current conflict consult The Role of Assumptions, Perceptions and Expectations in Conflict . 

Set time to have a discussion

Arrange a meeting with the co-worker when you both have some time. Let him/her know that you wish to discuss the working relationship. Express your desire to have a good working relationship and to tackle issues that emerge jointly.

Communicate effectively

Use good communication skills. While being an effective communicator is always important, in conflict situations it becomes even more important. Communicating in Conflict outlines essential skills to be used in any conversation where there is conflict.

Be ready to listen

Be open to hearing from the other person about their concerns. It is usually not a one-way street. The old adage that it “takes two to tango” often applies to conflict situations. We may be unaware of how we are contributing to the situation or how others perceive our behaviour.

Keep in mind that striving to understand the situation from the other person’s perspective does not mean that you share that perspective or agree with it. Conflict is not resolved by arguing with someone regarding what happened. Resolving the conflict involves understanding the other person’s perspective and having the other person understand yours. It also involves knowing what each person wants and needs in relation to the conflict issue.  

Work together to solve the problem

Get the other person involved in solving the problem with you. Identify possible solutions and assess which option works best for both of you. Be open. This is not about getting the other person to agree to a solution you have already chosen. To really solve the problem it needs to be a mutual, sincere process of identifying, exploring and evaluating options in relation to what each person needs and wants.

If workplace problems that you and your colleague cannot solve are producing conflict in the working relationship identify the proper arena for addressing the issue, e.g. a department meeting, discussion with a supervisor or your dean, etc.

Don’t vent to others - keep the matter confidential

Imagine if you heard from a co-worker that a colleague was complaining about you. Hearing from others that someone is criticizing you “behind your back”often generates anger and the potential for the conflict to escalate.   If you find yourself talking to others about the situation and wanting confirmation from them that you are “right”, stop. Take a step back and think about the issue.   The following sections might provide new insights and approaches - Being Hard on the Problem – Not the Person and The Role of Assumptions, Perceptions and Expectations in Conflict .

Keep working at it

Understand that sometimes it takes more than one meeting to really develop a good working relationship. Special attention may need to be placed on ensuring that clear and effective communication occurs with this colleague until a smoother working relationship has been attained.

how to deal with problem work colleagues

More From Forbes

5 types of difficult co-workers and how to cope.

No workplace is without difficult co-workers.

According to a survey by Olivet Nazarene University , the number one source of tension in the workplace is interpersonal relationships. In fact, 36% of those surveyed admitted to changing jobs due to an annoying or arrogant co-worker, and 96% revealed that they get annoyed with their co-workers on a regular basis.

We’ve all dealt with challenging colleagues—that person who frustrates you so much that you feel like you want to pull your hair out. The key is learning to deal with them in a way that benefits both you and the organization.

Here are five of the most trying types of work personalities and how to handle them:

The Slacker

There is at least one in every office—the slacker who has a knack for doing the bare minimum of actual work while you can hardly keep your head above water. The first question to ask yourself is whether their behavior is directly affecting you. If it’s not prohibiting you from effectively doing your job or producing quality work, it may not be an issue. But if this difficult co-worker is dramatically hurting your performance or the company overall, it’s time to step in.

How to handle them:

The first step is to approach them directly and professionally. Simply state how their work (or lack thereof) directly affects you. Ask them whether their behavior is intentional or unintentional. For all you know, there may extenuating circumstances that you are unaware of. Document the responsibilities of each team member on the projects you share, ensuring everyone is held accountable for their own work. And keep track of your attempts to remedy the situation. If all else fails, it may be time to approach your manager.

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Best covid-19 travel insurance plans, the complainer.

We're all human, and a certain amount of complaining can be normal to blow off steam. But working with a chronic complainer is exhausting. They focus on the negative and look for problems instead of solutions. And the worst part of this difficult co-worker is that they tend to drag down the morale of the entire team.

First, you can try to redirect their perspective by acknowledging their grievances and then subtly changing the subject. Another option is to encourage them to seek out a solution. Ask questions like, "How do you suggest we solve this problem?" Also, make it clear to this difficult co-worker that things aren't going to change if they continue to indulge in chronic complaining.

The Scene Stealer

There's nothing more infuriating than someone taking credit for your work. These difficult co-workers love the spotlight and enjoy taking credit for the success of their teammates—often to compensate for their own insecurities.

Keep a record of your accomplishments and provide your manager with regular work in progress reports. Most importantly, “toot your own horn”—in other words, publicly claim credit for everything you do. Because if you don’t take credit for your achievements, it is likely that someone else will.

The Know-It-All

You know the type. The difficult co-worker who tends to monopolize conversations, dismiss input from others and make decisions without considering all the facts. They are generally controlling, poor listeners and their overall attitude can be summed up as “my way or the highway.”

First, approach this difficult co-worker as an ally. You may even ask for their help solving a challenging work issue. By seeking their advice, it will signal your desire to have a positive relationship. If their behavior doesn’t change and your work is suffering, it’s best to address them directly. You may begin by saying, “I respect you and want to discuss something that’s been bothering me.” By having a one-on-one conversation, you’re giving this difficult co-worker room to express themselves. There’s always a chance that they’re clueless about how their actions are impacting others.

The Office Gossip

According to Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., gossiping is a way for humans to bond with one another. But worst case, gossip can be hurtful and create a workplace atmosphere of antagonism and resentment. Is there one teammate who always seems to have the latest scoop on everybody? Gossips love drama, yet their rumor-mongering can be damaging to the organization.

Avoid engaging in any of their gossip, and try to excuse yourself from negative conversations. As soon as what’s being said becomes unprofessional, simply say something like, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I really don’t feel comfortable talking about co-workers in this way.” Another tactic is to change the subject back to work-related topics. If you find someone spreading malicious rumors, remind them that gossiping could hurt someone’s career and politely ask that they stop.

No workplace is without difficult co-workers. And ignoring them isn’t an option if you want to get ahead. Try implementing these strategies and being flexible with how you express yourself. By making adjustments, you will better connect with a colleague that has a different personality and communication style than your own.

Are you feeling stuck and unfulfilled in your career? Download my free guide:  5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!

Caroline Castrillon


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