How to Deal with an Annoying Officemate?


There will always be people who will speculate about their co-workers or officemate and their motives.  In an ideal world, we’d all get along. Even when we didn’t have anything in common, we could just make it work and compromise. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and variety is the spice of life, but spending too much time with someone you don’t like can bring down your overall mood.

The last thing you want at work is to be spending time in close quarters with people that have proven themselves to be annoying, it can lower your job satisfaction and make motivating yourself an awful lot harder. In the event of an awful coworker, you need to deal with it rationally and appropriately, so here’s how:

Assess the Situation

If you have a coworker who is a repeat offender of something that annoys you, the best thing to do to begin with is try to take a deep breath and assess the situation. Ask yourself, what is it that annoys me? Do they know they are annoying me? Are they aware of what they’re doing? Would their behavior annoy me in any other situation?  Take some time to figure out whether you’re reacting adversely to this person because of the stressful setting of the workplace, whether other people have the same reaction as you and whether you think they are worth giving the benefit of the doubt.

Source of the Rumor

Deal directly with the main source of the rumor (if the issue started via gossips which it usually does). Gossip may in fact be a form of verbal harassment. Politely but firmly explain the truth behind the matter/issue to correct proper information. Workplaces must be professional and therefore gossip-neutral or gossip-free. The standard rule of thumb: “If you can’t say it outright a person, zip up your mouth and keep quiet.”

Remove yourself from the situation

If you’re being put in a position where you feel irritated and angered by a coworker constantly, it’s time to remove yourself. When you see a situation about to arise, simply walk away or make an excuse to disappear off. Keep your communication curt and polite, and don’t waste too much time talking or thinking about the person outside of work, no matter how much they annoy you.

Let it go. Let the rumor die a natural death. Ignore it.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep quiet and pay no attention to the gossip at all. Trust that the people who know you and care about you know you better. People who are sensible enough to not easily believe in gossip. Remember that a gossip says more about the person who spreads it than the one being talked about.

Get some perspective

It’s sometimes a good idea to get a fresh perspective on things, have a gossip with a trusted friend or family member and let rip about everything that’s driving you crazy. Once it’s all out, treat it as a therapeutic experience and try not to obsess over it, dragging it out can make you more stressed before you even go to the workplace and make you closer to snapping! Another good way to distract yourself from the situation is to have some ‘me time’, keep your work life and personal life separate and shake it off!

Give them a chance

This might be hard, but sometimes if you get to know a person properly you’ll realize that their sarcasm is just all a joke, or that their obnoxious sense of humor is just hiding their self esteem issues. Maybe take some time to go out for a drink after work with a group of coworkers, plan events where you can see the annoying coworker outside of the workplace and get a sense of their personality.

File a Report if You Must

Check your employment handouts in terms of your office policy because gossip is considered a verbal harassment in your office. You HR specialists should be able to help you work through the problem–to advise you on how to proceed, make you feel better, and even dispense discipline to people who have started the rumor. Don’t be afraid to contact an authority figure when dealing with especially nasty rumors. These people are in a position to help you.

Don’t encourage a mean girls situation

The last thing you want to do is encourage your other coworkers to side against the annoying culprit and isolate them based on their actions. No matter how awful they might seem, it’s always best to avoid any kind of situation that pits people against each other, especially in the workplace. If people agree with you about the situation, let them do it quietly, and make sure nobody treats the annoying coworker in a manner that’s unprofessional.

Approach things properly

There’s every chance that your annoying coworker doesn’t even know that they’ve insulted or annoyed you, after all if you haven’t brought it up with them, they’re probably blissfully unaware that their behavior is making you uncomfortable and will continue thinking you’re fine with it. Take a quiet and private moment and simply bring up any behavior that has upset or annoyed you. Don’t put them on the spot too much or make it dramatic, say something like “You know how you do X sometimes? Well I don’t really like it, can you stop doing it around me please?” Explain that there’s no hard feelings, you just wanted to work in a positive environment and be friendly and casual about it. If they resist or start arguing, try to be calm and explain your justification, don’t hurt their pride and make sure they think you aren’t on the offensive. If none of that works, it’s time to talk to your superiors.

But before you even resort to any of the above mentioned ways, use this opportunity to do a humble self-examination. Ask God to show you areas in your life where you need better wisdom and discretion.

“Humble self-examination while entrusting oneself to God and setting the record straight with others while seeking reconciliation is perhaps the best way to respond to gossip.”

Vance Madrid

Freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, social media manager, events coordinator, scriptwriter, film buff, wanderlust and certified foodie. Zealous for a keyboard and new experiences, I wish to live and learn through my writing.