Dealing with a toxic coworker

Work can be tough enough without having to deal with a toxic coworker; but if you do, you may be stuck with them longer than you think. So here’s eight tips to help ease the burden.

How to deal with toxic coworker

1. Don’t take it personally

It’s easy to take things personally and think that the behaviour is about the two of you, rather than the other person being the one who is out of line.

2. Avoid negative bonding

Sooner or later, the negative person will complain about something that you also dislike. Don’t join in, or sympathise with their disdain. Finding common ground on negative points will result in you being there go to person, to whine about their daily problems with.

3. Find out what’s really getting to you

You might find yourself at odds with someone because you see your bad points in them. It might be someone who moans about something you also dislike, but haven’t openly complained about. Understanding why the person irritates you might help resolve the situation.

4. Keep your distance

Getting too close to that person and their negative attitude can lead to a toxic environment, resulting in you feeling worse about things than you did to begin with.

5. Share your story

Problem coworkers are a reality of many office environments. Finding a friend (outside of the office) to share your concerns with, will help dilute the problem. You might even find yourself humouring each other about similar office troubles.

6. Inclusion is key

While it might seem tempting to marginalise the problem person, instead, include them in activities and group assignments. It might help to stop them seeing things in a negative mindset, and make them focus on the positives.

7. Confront the coworker

Is a coworker really acting in a toxic manner, or did you misread the situation? Simply asking them to repeat themselves to check you heard them right, might result in avoiding a sour relationship over a simple misunderstanding.

8. Make your exit

In the majority of cases, a workplace bully will come out on top. If you’re really finding it tough and feel your employer siding with the bully, it may be time to look for a new employer. After all, if they can’t see you’re unhappy or feeling marginalised then maybe it’s best to find someone that values you more.

Míša Benešovská

I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mainly covering IT industry. I’ve been fascinated by it for nearly a quarter of a century (or since I dismantled my first computer). I worked for, Unicorn Systems or Mafra publisher. In my spare time, I love game consoles and keep perfecting a recipe for the best pumpkin risotto in the world.

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