I hear some people say that friends are better than relatives because you can choose your friends but can’t choose your relatives. I hope this can be applied to officemates as well; but unfortunately, we can’t choose our officemates either. Though, we can choose to leave the company, I am pretty sure that you will experience obnoxious officemates in your next company. You need to face the reality that you will in one way or the other meet obnoxious officemates in your career life. So, how do you deal with them?
Working with obnoxious officemates is mentally exhausting and physically draining. Sometimes you wish you could just disappear or scream your head out. There are endless reactions to these types of people, mostly negative ones. But we can choose to respond (positively) instead of react (negatively) to them.
Always be professional. I don’t know of any company which requires its employees to be friends with each other. But if you want to work harmoniously and stay longer in your work, it is important to be friends with your officemates. But if this is impossible in your situation, at least be professional. Don’t make a fuss of the situation. If you have a doubt on a procedure, consult your company handbook or talk to your human resource personnel.
Do not take the situation too personally; do not over react to the point of assuming that your officemate’s action is a direct attack on you. Do not over analyze; take the situation to your human resource department. Do not get upset; treat it as an official situation. The office is not your life anyway; you have a home and friends to go to.
If your officemate bothers you, be open and direct with your feelings. Talk to your officemate in a professional way, either just the two of you (if you can handle it) or with a third party which should be your human resource personnel. Never use an officemate friend as a third party because this will only cause your obnoxious officemate to feel pressure or feel unfairly treated. Never ever gossip about your thoughts and feelings toward your obnoxious officemate. This will only widen the gap of your relationship. It is better to be direct and candid when you talk to your obnoxious officemate rather than hiding your anger which is sure to explode to a catastrophic confrontation.
If you’ve already been direct and tried talking out your issues, then it may be best to let the situation go and ignore the behavior that’s causing you frustration. Ignore a provocation. Your obnoxious officemate may stop provoking you when he realizes that he can’t ignite you to react negatively with their intentional behavior.
If faced with a situation that you feel you can’t handle peacefully, just walk away from the situation. Take a break, leave the room, close your door, take a walk outside your office, put on your headphones and listen to your favorite music. Do something that will take your mind away from your anger and uplift your spirit and help your mind reset to your positive attitude.
Despite your annoyance, do your best to treat your obnoxious officemate with kindness. If possible, stay away from circumstances that would fuel a negative confrontation. You exert more energy with a negative reaction than maintaining a positive demeanor.
Finally, but not the least, treat the situation with a sense of humor. If your officemate is a grump, slacker, a back fighter or maybe a know-it-all, find humor in the situation. Do not take to heart your obnoxious officemate’s character.