Dealing with an annoying co-worker – humanistically

The single best way to deal with an annoying co-worker is by cultivating compassion for them, followed by a commitment to be professional even when it’s hard.

Your coworker is who they are. You might find them annoying, but so what. You are a professional.  Your job is to figure out how to treat your co-worker with the respect they deserve. After all, you are annoying to others too and you expect to be treated with respect. Don’t you. No one is not annoying. Some people are just more annoying than others.

The next time you feel annoyed, remind yourself, this person is a person and is flawed and may not be able to help it. And then remind yourself that you have your moments too. Feel sorry for them, think about how you would want to be treated in those moments when you haven’t been your best, and actively reach out to your coworker in a genuinely kind and professional way. You may be surprised to find that their annoying behavior was actually in response to your annoying behavior. It happens a lot.

If you change and stop being so judgmental and obviously annoyed, your coworker may be less stressed around you and if they are less stressed, their annoying habits that they manifest when stressed, won’t occur.
So again, consider that you might be part of the problem. Consider your coworker with the compassion you reserve for the people you consider fully human and commit yourself to behaving professionally regardless of how other people act. In other words, be kind. It’s not all about you.

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