Hopefully you get along really well with your coworkers, but odds are, you don’t get along with all of them. If the hit tv show The Office has any truth to it, then every office has a Toby. You might not be able to change them, but you can definitely change your attitude about them. These are some ways you can cope with frustrating coworkers.


Focus on yourself

A frustrating coworker is like a mosquito bite. If you tell yourself to not let it bother you, it’s only going to itch harder. You have every right to be annoyed by an irritating coworker, but you need to turn your focus elsewhere. Before coming to work, make a list of things you want to get done. This could include scheduling a meeting, finishing an assignment, or calling a client. The important thing is that you’re putting your energy towards yourself and your goals, not your coworker.

Talk to them

Actually confronting your coworker might be the last thing you want to do, but it can make things easier for everyone. You want to be firm but diplomatic. Even if you have some very strong opinions and words that you want to share, it’s better to keep these to yourself. Let your coworker about how their behavior affects you and what you would prefer instead. If you worry about them becoming angry about feeling singled out, tell them it’s a request you’re making of everyone in the workplace. Should they listen and understand, you might end up turning a former adversary into a friend.

File a complaint

If confronting your coworker didn’t work, you’ll need to go to your boss or the human resources department. Let them know, in detail, about your coworker’s behavior and how it’s been negatively affecting you. Make a list of instances you recall, going back as far as you can. Check around with your other coworkers. See if they have any anecdotes that would corroborate your story. Should the evidence be serious enough, it could be enough to have your coworker heavily reprimanded or terminated.

Dealing with bad manager behavior can be a bit more complicated. You’ll need to get in touch with your human resources department and any other supervisors. A pattern of abusive behavior can be identified by speaking to other employees, as well as those who have left the company. If you aren’t able to get your complaints taken seriously, it might be time to start looking for positions at different companies.

Don’t let work define you

Your problematic coworker should not define your work experience, and your work experience should not define your life. You might never be able to fully rid yourself of their irritation, but you can keep work at work. When you find yourself bothered by their actions, take a deep breath and think about some way you could treat yourself outside of work. This could be going to a favorite restaurant, calling up a friend, or reading a good book. Life is simply too short to get caught up in petty dramas that occur in the workplace. If your coworker is incapable of acting like an adult, you certainly are able to.

These coworkers are ones who thrive off frustrating others. The best way to reduce their power is to let it impact your work or your ability to enjoy yourself. You know what to do if and when they cross any lines. Remember that you’re able to handle them and that you don’t need to put up with any trouble they give you.