How to deal with an obnoxious co-worker

Have you ever looked at a co-worker and wondered: How the hell did you get employed in the first place?! Almost everything about them is nauseating, as their behaviour and attitude rub people the wrong way daily. Yet, year after year, despite several poor evaluations and getting the cold shoulder from their colleagues, they are still there like a large pimple on your nose.

That one difficult co-worker exists in every organisation. It is not hard to spot them if you study group dynamics. They are loud, talkative, lazy, always gossiping, take extended lunch breaks, hold inappropriate conversations, flirt shamelessly, whine when they are forced to do their duty or leave early every chance they get. Yup, that obnoxious individual will display many of these negative character traits and actions, but for some reason, human resources just cannot seem to find a way to give them the pink paper.

Well, since they are not going anywhere any time soon, you may as well learn how to cope. Always start from a place of choosing your battles wisely. It makes no sense butting heads or resorting to a screaming match to hear whose voice is louder. When a person is obnoxious, decide if it is worth your efforts to discuss the problem. In a perfect world, you could both agree to disagree and just compromise, but we do not live in this mythical world. Ask yourself if the situation is causing you so much distress that it must be addressed.

If so, take a breath before acting so that you can gather your thoughts and control your emotions. If your colleague sent you an upsetting email or message, wait a while before you respond, as it will be pure emotions and adrenaline. There will be very little rationale or logic, so it will be two dummies going at it.  One solution is to discuss the situation with someone who is neutral and unbiased, preferably someone who does not know the other party. If that is not possible, then talk to yourself while walking or completing a task. This could prevent confrontation or an unnecessary interaction with the offending party until you are able to articulate rationally what you wish to convey.

Most of the time they are clueless about just how much they irk others around them. But if they do and just do not care, you should continue to be polite. No matter how rude they get, keep your cool, and do not let them see you sweat. Avoid the name-calling and belittling wisecracks and stick to the substantive point. The goal is not to sink to their level with the pettiness. Also, if you are posed, and they are belligerent, they will look even sillier before management and their peers, and that is the last thing they want.

Written by C.W.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.