We've all dealt with a toxic or annoying co-worker in the office at one point or another. Maybe you've got a bad case of executives that steal company Keurig cups or drama queens that spend hours talking to you about their family conflicts. For whichever reasons your colleagues are driving you crazy, we've come up with a simple guide to help transform you into a relationship mastermind quickly:


1. Always Choose Business Over Personal

If your cubicle mate has the habit of frequently dropping by to spill the latest gossip or can't seem to keep their music down, always relate the problem back to business.

Here's a great example from Business Insider: "Hey, I normally love that song too, but I actually need to finish something by the end of the day and it's a little distracting. Do you mind turning it down?"

2. Be Diplomatic And Calm

Professional man confronting an annoying co-worker

Feel yourself getting a bit heated? Avoid confrontations that are ill-natured and battle prone. We promise you, it will never end well. Instead, try to rehearse what you'll be saying before you say it. If you're feeling a lot of frustration, sometimes stepping back and writing down your emotions can help, too.

3. If It Doesn't Get Better, Search For Professional Allies

Woman sits next to her annoying co-worker

If the situation you're facing continues despite your mitigation efforts, it's time to solicit the help of Human Resources.

Try to approach the issue in a group setting where a professional meeting can be held that fosters a respectful communicative environment (instead of pointing fingers at one specific co-worker). This way, you'll stay anonymous but also benefit your team as a whole by advocating a positive (and less annoying) workplace culture for everyone!

4. When Applicable, Talk To Your Manager

Man annoyed by his co-workers

Unless the situation is harmful or threatening in nature, complaining to your supervisor shouldn't be your first line of defense. Leadership may not positively view co-workers who report their colleagues, no matter how annoying, without having tried to alleviate the situation first.

If you do confront your upper management, make sure to present your case with factual information. Also, be sure to frame the situation from a business standpoint only (no emotions and/or blaming).

Example: "I enjoy working with Whitney, but due to ____ (whatever the problem is), I'm concerned about my productivity being affected. I value meeting this project's deadlines and finishing this client's needs. Do you have suggestions on how we can improve this situation?"

These four approaches should hopefully ease co-worker-induced stress, but if it doesn't, it may be important to ask if your seat can be changed. If it's a toxic workplace culture overall, however, are you ready to make the moves necessary to find another position?

We know how difficult career success can be when tricky situations arise at work that may leave you feeling confused and fearful. If you need the support and help of a career coach, join our career growth club today!