8 Tricks for Dealing with Difficult Coworkers

Before you flip and possibly get fired, try these tricks.Before you flip and possibly get fired, try these tricks.Rumor has it Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey hate each other-and they're forced to work together on American Idol. Well, that sucks. Unfortunately you can't always pick who you work with. We consulted career experts Marc Dorio, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Career Advancement and Alexandra Levit, author of Blind Spots for their tips on how to work with someone who is, um, difficult.

By Korin Miller

1. Rise Above It
Yeah, it's tough when the office bitch seems to have it out for you, but you don't want to stoop to her level-even on the DL. Why? Your coworkers (and your boss) are looking to see how you deal with her craziness.

2. Figure Out Your Hot Buttons
Something about this chick drives you completely nuts, and she's pushing your buttons. You can best her by figuring out what she's doing that makes you so crazy. Is she harping on a secret work insecurity you have? Always trying to steal credit for work you do? Once you figure them out, write them down. It'll be easier to deal just being aware of what her tactic is.

3. Try to Get Where She's Coming From
Look, we're not saying you're to blame here, and sometimes people are just mean/crazy/bitchy for the sake of it. But there are two people in this situation. Are you unconsciously doing something that keeps setting her off? Try to look at it from her point of view to see if there's anything you can do differently to ease the tension.

Related: How to Handle a Work Setback

4. Talk It Out
Even if being in a room with her is the last thing on Earth you want to do, it's important to try to resolve your issues like the mature professional you are. Ask her to meet in a neutral area, like a conference room, and say, "I know there's tension between us. What can I do to help the situation?" This will likely disarm her, since most people expect you to go on the offensive against them.

5. Be an 'Active Listener'
Say things like, "What I hear you say is _____. Can you give me some examples of when I've done that?" Force her to give you specifics since comments like "you always put me down" aren't helping anything (and it could be totally in her head).

6. Stay Calm
If she totally loses it or starts accusing you of random things you know you haven't done, keep your cool. Again, people are watching your situation. Staying calm makes you look like a pro and forces her to dial back on the crazy.

Related: 15 Ways to Save Money (And Still Have a Life)

7. Work Through It
Sometimes bosses will purposefully put people who can't stand each other on a project together to get them to try to work it out. If you get put on a project with her, stick with it instead of asking to be transferred to another one. Demonstrating you can handle working with a difficult person makes you look better in the long run (and could even score you a promotion).

8. Go to Your Boss
If you've tried everything else and you're still having a problem, talk to your boss. Explain to her that you tried to work out the situation on your own first, and lay out what you did. Then ask if she has any advice on how to handle things. She may offer to talk to your nemesis or have other advice, but asking for her advice (instead of just ranting about your sucky coworker) shows that you're handling the situation in the most mature way possible.


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