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How to Deal With Annoying Co-Workers

Pass on the passive-aggressiveness.

It can be almost impossible to work out differences with someone who won’t tell you when something is wrong. Some people simply aren’t comfortable with confrontation. If you find mildly nasty notes lying around or find yourself being “unintentionally” skipped, it might be time to take things into your own hands. Sit Mr. or Ms. P.A. down and ask them if you’ve done something to upset them, or what you can do to fix it.

Or start your own not-so-passive aggressive barrage. Stick her notes back on her computer monitor, or hand them straight to her with a smile and say “I think you dropped this.” The most frustrating aspect of someone who is passive aggressive is that they know they’re doing it and that it’s wildly immature. And you know they know. And they know that you know that they know you know.


Uncling The Clinger.

The most annoying co-worker is the girl you said “hi” to on the elevator once six months ago who decided that meant you were immediately best friends. With other annoying co-workers, the antics end when you leave the office - but she sends you texts all night long.

Unless you’ve been considering transferring to a different part of the company, try gently putting distance between you. When she starts up a midnight text-parade, nip it in the bud by kindly but firmly telling her you’ve had a long day, and you’d just like a little time to yourself.  Or, be brutally mean. You could go hang out with her. Just once. Just make sure to be an utter killjoy, expect her to pick up the tab, and ask her to repeat every sentence at least twice – to make sure she really gets the “I’m not listening!” message.

And if she still wants to hang out, just be honest: tell her the only time you’re going to spend with her lasts the length of an elevator ride. Just, you know, wait until the doors open so you can escape quickly.


Deflate The Egoist.

You could go about dealing with Mr. Ego the nice way: people who behave like this often have such a low opinion of themselves that they wildly over-correct to make sure no one ever sees the “bad” stuff about them, not realizing acting like a big shot is worse than anything else. If his incredible ability to sink four out of nine paper-ball shots into the trash can hoop is all he has, give him that. Find times when he’s not being an egotistical jerk to genuinely compliment him on a job well done, even if it’s something as simple as “nice shoes.” It’s the little things that make a difference.

Or you can take him down a notch. Call him out when you know he’s blowing things out of proportion (“You’re saying those shoes cost you $600? Because I can tell from their stitching they’re a knock off. They aren’t even real leather.”). The bigger the ego, the harder they fall.


Out-gossip The Gossip.

With all your good deeds putting people in their place, you’ll be providing plenty of fodder for gossip. That only adds fuel to the fire for another one of those unbearable co-workers. So, although you’ll be fixing one problem to cause another, you could have a chat with her too. When she asks you to tell her what happened (because you know she will), take a different tactic. Nicely tell her you are hesitant to tell her, because this isn’t something you want spreading all over the office. Try opening an honest dialogue, and if that doesn’t work, just don’t tell her things you don’t want anyone else to know.


Take The Tattler by the tale.

When there’s one person in the office trying to get everyone else in trouble, it puts the whole crew on edge. If you’ve decided to take matters into your own hands, you have two options - and neither of them are pretty. First, make them a completely unreliable source. Create situations for them to go to the boss about - false situations. Let them overhear you telling someone else about how you’ve been using the copier for personal use when you haven’t been. Make sure you can prove it’s not true though, so their credibility is shot.

Your other option is to take over their job for them. Turn the tables, and start snitching on them in turn.  


Give The Pushover a Pull.

Dealing with someone who gives in to everyone else’s whims takes a gentle hand. Instead of telling or showing them that the way they’re acting is wrong, give them the confidence they need to stand up for themselves. Start by standing up for them to other people. If you notice they’re being taken advantage of, be a good example. Then encourage them to do it on their own. Remind them that they’re a valuable part of the company, and that other people have to be responsible for their own work.

Conversely, you could take advantage of their good nature, get rid of a little extra work, and make your own life easier instead.


Convert The Flirt.

Dealing with a great big flirt depends largely on how far they go with their amorous attentions. If it’s a same-attraction issue, it’s probably best to just remember not to get involved with a co-worker, and leave them to create (and clean up) their own messes. However, if those attentions are directed at you, are making you uncomfortable, or being used to get you to do things you aren’t comfortable doing, ask them to stop.

If that doesn’t work, take it to the boss. There’s nothing funny about sexual harassment, and if you have the courage to get it handled, you might inspire a lot of other people dealing with the same problem.


Prank The Prankster.

Although pulling pranks is generally harmless, sometimes they can not only get obnoxious, they can get out of control. If it’s small things that liven up a dull and dreary office and give people a laugh, maybe you should just let it slide. If what’s troubling you is the attention going to someone else, well, maybe you should try a few (mild) pranks of your own. Or figure out your own place, instead of being so worried about everyone else’s business.


Cage The Boss's Pet.

Before you deal with everyone else’s neurotic issues, you’ll probably want their help dealing with the boss’s pet. She’s usually sucked up to the big dogs to such an extent that they don't think she can do anything wrong. You’ll need to get The Clinger to stick to her like glue, then report to The Gossip. The Gossip, of course, will tell The Tattle Tale, which means you have to wait to discredit him until he’s gotten the Boss’s Pet in the dog house. Or you can oust her position, and become the boss’s favorite instead.


Sully The Bully.

Unfortunately, bullying doesn't end in high school. Some people are bullies for life. Most of the time, you just have to stand up to them. Bullies are often mean to other people because it makes them feel better about themselves. There’s just one little catch here - now that you’ve put everyone else in their place, if you’re looking around trying to figure out who the bully is to take him down a notch and can’t find him, it might be that you have become the bully.