How To Deal With Difficult Coworkers & Protect Your Positive Vibes

January 16, 2018

At one time or another, you may have had to work with a coworker who maintained a glass-half-empty perspective, and their often gloomy attitude infiltrated your workplace. I have worked in a variety of settings, and I have personally experienced working with a multitude of coworkers whose Debby-Downer mood met me each morning.

Positive Ways to Deal with Negative Co-workers

Despite how positive you may be, it can be difficult at times to deflect their mood and refrain from allowing it to have an effect on you. That being said, I have found a few methods that have helped me create a more positive working environment while ensuring that I wasn’t leaving work each day emotionally drained.

How To Deal With Difficult Coworkers in A Positive & Proactive Manner

Take 5

When I am in the midst of an environment that is challenging or negative due to the attitude of a particular coworker, I make a point to take time for myself when needed. I have found that when I am wrapped up in a conversation with a difficult coworker or have to work around them for extended periods of time, it can be harder think clearly and be happy. Their negative energy can leave you feeling overwhelmed and emotionally invested–and not in the good way. This can lead to an exertion of energy in a place where it is not needed and can result in you responding in a less than positive manner.

When I feel overwhelmed and emotionally affected, I make a point to take a 5-minute break and excuse myself. This could be just going into the bathroom to take a deep breath and give yourself a pep talk in the mirror or just stepping outside for a quick second to take a few breaths of fresh air and then come back in refreshed. You’ll be able to return to your work with a clear mind and be able to approach working together in a proactive manner.

Positive Ways to Deal with Negative Co-workers

Bond Over a Cup of Jo

There have been many coworkers that I worked with every day, but I knew very little about their personal life. Going out for coffee on the weekend or meeting up for dinner after work can really bridge the gap, especially when it comes to more difficult coworkers. After going out and spending time together, I have found that not only would I learn more about them, but our relationship would become more friendly when we interacted. A friendly outing could lead to a way of understanding why they might have the attitude they do towards work, allowing you to find out the deeper meaning behind it. There have been times when I learned that a coworker was dealing with issues at home that were bringing them down, or aspects of their role at work were causing them to have a more negative approach during the day.

Positive Ways to Deal with Negative Co-workers

Find an Outlet

It is easy to let a challenging coworker consume your thoughts and emotions even after you leave work at the end of the day. It is important that you find an outlet to channel any stress or negative energy that you may be holding onto from your work-day. Find something that you can integrate into your schedule during your work-week. It does not need to be something you commit to every day–just an outlet that you can escape to when you need to center yourself and wind down. For me, I like to practice yoga or go to the gym. It allows me to focus on myself and create positivity in my own life. It helps me to enjoy my time at home without the stress of work overwhelming me, and it also lets me go into work the next day with a clear positive mindset.

What are some of the ways you deal with difficult coworkers?

Also by Hillary: These 3 Body Positivity Books Will Help You Heal Your Relationship With Yourself

Related: How to Heal from an Emotional Hangover

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Hillary Fink is a writer who resides in New York with her cat, Little Jerry Seinfeld. Despite being raised a vegan, she just recently returned to living a vegan lifestyle. She has an intense passion for reading, true crime podcasts, and traveling the east coast in search of the perfect vegan doughnut. Follow her on Instagram @elementsofhill.


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