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How to Deal with an Annoying Officemate

09 February 2022

You would not always like all your co-workers. In any office you’ve been in, there is most probably an employee that has annoyed you since time immemorial. That colleague could have probably come off as arrogant, is difficult to work with, always has an excuse for everything, or is a walking gossip column even during times when you need to focus at work. Getting annoyed is true even for the most chill person. There is just that officemate that will drive you nuts.

We all deal with different people every day and it’s almost impossible that you won’t encounter someone who irks you. If you’ve watched The Office, then for sure you know the tall, four-eyed Dwight Schrute. He’s portrayed as annoying, always snooping with other people’s business and commanding what they should do and should not.

You can’t just escape the Dwight Schrute types. They exist in any office. But like the character himself, although annoying, he also had charming qualities that made people not forget him, and to a certain extent, care about him. If you want to know how to manage an annoying officemate, here are ways on how to do just that:

Stay positive.

1. Stay positive.

If your co-worker is not doing anything to harm you directly, then just let them be. It will just affect your work performance negatively if you always linger on your annoyance rather than focus on what you have to do. Choose your battles and only address the situation if your annoying co-worker directly causes you problems. What matters more is that you stay positive and focused on your work. After all, you can’t really change anybody if they don’t want or see the need to change themselves.

Try to look for common interests between you two.

2. Try to look for common interests between you two.

If you really want your relationship with this officemate to be better, then dwell on what you guys share in common. You might have a similar interest that you could talk about or even the same things that you both don’t like. You don’t necessarily have to like your officemate or to spend time with him or her but if you find a common ground, then it might make working together with a little more breezy than heavy.

Don’t dwell on their negative traits.

3. Don’t dwell on their negative traits.

Again, the best thing to do when you have an annoying officemate who can’t stop bragging is to not give them the time of the day. Ignore. It really is not your problem, if say, your superior does not call him out at all. It’s not your job to change him or her; your job is to do your work so focus on that instead. Don’t look at their flaws even though it bothers you a lot when a co-worker can’t shut up about something that doesn’t interest you at all. If you focus on the negative, then you will just be a lot more irritated and annoyed with your current situation in the office.

Kindness always works.

4. Kindness always works.

Kill your co-worker with kindness. Let’s say they are big bullies or that they influence you to do something bad and have nothing good to say about other people, don’t satisfy them by giving in. Simply respond with kindness. It’s best that you stay out of conflict so if you could still manage it, let them be with their annoying behavior. You can’t do anything other than smile and do your job, hopefully, as quietly as possible.

It also helps if you will understand where they are coming from. Their annoying character may have stemmed from their upbringing, the environment they reside in, the problems at home, and other concerns. You can’t be their therapist, of course, but seeing their humane and vulnerable side might help you understand why they are acting the way they are.

Don’t be flattered with their attention.

5. Don’t be flattered with their attention.

If that annoying co-worker in question has an interest in you and continues to pester you even after a no, keep a calm and cool head and simply decline. Reject their invitations without hurting feelings. This goes for even the most extroverted in the room. Yes, you may want to have the conversation but don’t waste your time and let them be.

If in case the annoying co-worker bugs you during work, don’t hesitate to tell them that you need your space and would only entertain work-related questions. Having a sign put up in your workstation can help them stay away.

You have to be assertive.

6. You have to be assertive.

If you’ve already reached your boiling point, then it might be time to take action. You can’t forever just smile and be kind when you know you’re just faking it. You also need to stand up for yourself if you feel that you’re already being trampled upon. This is the time that you have to confront your co-worker and let them know directly what your problem is. Don’t sugarcoat words but be professional. Let them know that they’ve been distracting you and it has been affecting your work performance. Be specific about what it is they are doing that is damaging to your productivity at work. If your co-worker responds to this negatively, then the next step that you should do is to go to higher management. Escalate the problem to your superior and already ask them to intervene.

Do not let your annoying co-workers drag you down and make you hate work. You can’t always choose your situation but you can control how you respond and react to it. Don’t let them get into you and be the best you can be at work.

Tip: To help you divert your attention from your annoying officemate and focus at work, invest in ergonomic furniture from FlexiSpot. With the permission of your office, you may bring your own desk bike from FlexiSpot to work, use a height-adjustable standing desk, or an ergonomic chair. Take the time to cool down your head by decluttering your workspace. Make use of desk organizers and mobile cabinets to help organize your items in one place.