3 Quick Tips On Dealing With Irritating Colleagues

Angry man with smoke comingMost of us spend the majority of our day at the office; while working for eight hours can be enough to drive us mad, adding an annoying colleague or two into the mix can definitely affect not just our mood but also our work ethic.

In our personal lives, we may choose to avoid pushy, nosy or overly-talkative friends and neighbours, but at work we simply do not have that choice.

We are stuck in close quarters with our team, whether we like it or not.

In addition, we must remain professionals, avoiding conflict, and focusing on our tasks.

While this may seem impossible, it is not with these tips.


The most obvious choice in dealing with an annoying colleague is to separate yourself.

When another person just drives you up the wall, attempting to distance yourself from them can increase the peace in your life.

It may be easier to create space for some colleagues, but not others; for example those who sit in cubicles right next to each other.

However, creating more separation is still feasible; don’t sit together at lunch, don’t meet by the water cooler to gossip during breaks, and leave your desk two minutes after they do not to be stuck in the lift together.

If your colleague constantly accosts you while you are at your desk, consider wearing headphones and signal that you are busy and cannot speak to prevent communication.

Look For The Positive

While separating yourself is the easiest way to avoid this uncomfortable situation, considering an alternative, yet harder route.

Look for the positive in the person that is driving you mad.

Assess why you believe their behaviour annoys you, and what their true intentions may be.

For example, the office gossip may simply be trying to make friends, yet doesn’t know another way to bond.

The nosy colleague may simply be interested in your life, but doesn’t realise that you have boundaries.

By finding the good in each person, you may very well change your feelings about them.

Address The Situation

In some cases, neither separating yourself nor looking for the positive works, especially if your coworker is interfering with your work or causing you a great deal of stress.

In this scenario, you must address the situation and confront your colleague.

Ask the individual to step out into the hall for a private conversation, and prepare what you will say.

Remember that you will be working with this person for a long time, so choose your words wisely.

Gently state what is bothering you, and end on a positive note, saying that you hope that you will have a better relationship.

Colleagues are our work family, and having an annoying family member that you are stuck with throughout the day is difficult.

Use these strategies to deal with this situation and improve your day at work.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 4 May, 2016

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