You’ve Got This. Tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Work

We’ve all had them. Dreams of rage quitting, yelling back at a rude customer or telling an annoying co-worker exactly what you think of them. It can be hard some days not to turn these fantasies into a reality when you feel like you’ve really hit your limit in the workplace but there are things you can do to deal with the stresses of the workplace.

1. Try Empathy

It can be hard to do, especially if the person you’re dealing with is being unnecessarily rude, but try to be empathetic to their situation. Put yourself in the person’s shoes or give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know what may be going on in their personal life to make them act this way, so try to be understanding.

2. Keep it Cool

You can’t always control what other people do or say, but what you can control is how you react to others. If you’re able to, try to walk away and cool off before responding. If you can’t walk away then take the time to really think about your reaction. Is it really worth it to yell or freak out at someone? If you can keep your emotions in check it will only help the situation.

3. Deflect and Disarm

One thing is for certain in the workplace – moods are contagious. If your co-workers or customers are draining you with their negative attitude try and ‘kill them with kindness.’ Be positive and it’s more likely that the situation will head in a better direction. If this seems impossible, then try to gracefully exit or get involved in the conversation as little as possible. Getting involved in gossip or negativity will only hurt you in the long run

4. Don’t Go Home Angry

When you’re leaving at the end of the day remember – you have a life outside of work. What happens at work doesn’t define you. Try making a list of things you want to get done the next day and leave it at work for tomorrow. Disconnect once you are home and start the new day with a fresh perspective and attitude.

How you deal with situations that make you want to snap is crucial in any workplace whether you work in customer service or in a warehouse.  Life is going to throw you difficult co-workers and bosses but it is how you handle it that will only add to your character and reputation in the workplace.


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