7 Ways To Turn Annoying Coworkers Into A Great Team (Hint: It's About You)

Chrysta Bairre's picture

When you have an annoying coworker, everything they do can seem irritating. Annoying coworkers can be recognized by their laziness, over-sharing, obnoxious habits, poor communication, lack of hygiene - you name it! We’ve all been there.

What if your annoying coworkers aren’t really all that annoying? Not true, you may insist as you prepare a list of your coworkers annoying traits. Well I have news for you: your coworkers are not as annoying as you think.

I’m not talking about difficult people. Those are people that create a toxic and hostile work environment. What I am talking about are people that just irritate you, even though they’re really decent human beings, whether or not you like them.

What I experience at work and in life is largely a result of my attitudes and perceptions. It’s not them, it’s you. The good news is there’s really nothing you can do about a truly annoying coworker but there is a lot you can do about your experience!

If you’re still with me, perhaps you’re wondering if this is the point that I offer some ideas to turn your experience from negative to positive. This most definitely is that point so do please read on for some tips to make your annoying coworkers seem downright likeable.

1. Make friends

Try becoming friends with your annoying coworker. You may find those annoying habits seem less annoying when you really get to know someone. Getting to know the whole person, instead of a laundry list of habits, can help you appreciate the great qualities they possess. It’s much easier to overlook the not-so-good when you see the good, too. Perspective is good for your mental health!

2. Be complimentary

A great way to connect with another person is to compliment them. Find a stellar quality in the other person and tell them how much you admire that quality. In my experience it’s impossible to feel annoyed and appreciative at the same time!

3. Embrace diversity

The modern workplace is a melting pot. Differences in culture, values, status, and personality can lead to stress and conflict. When you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, use this opportunity to accept others as they are. There’s more than one way to get the job done and your way is not the right way. Everyone is different and that’s okay.

4. Stop complaining

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to be happy, stop complaining. Sure, you may have legitimate complaints, don’t we all, but repeating your complaints over and over again only makes you unreasonable and unhappy! If you stop complaining about your so-called annoying coworkers you may soon find you don’t actually find them all that annoying after all.

5. Be your best

The best way to take your mind off another person’s annoying behavior is to focus on your own behavior. What’s on your to-do list? What are your goals? Put your mind to work on your work. You’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes from a job well done! You may even show your awesome talents leading to a raise or promotion!

6. Take care of you

I am far more likely to be irritable when I’m hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you’re not taking care of you it’s a good bet you’re going to be more easily annoyed.  If you find yourself feeling annoyed, do something nice for you.

7. Take control of your own journey

It’s a basic human truth that the people around us are bound to annoy us from time-to-time, but if you want a positive experience at work it’s important to adjust your perceptions and attitudes. The more you focus your problems and stress on those things outside you (other people, places, and things), the more likely you are to be annoyed, stressed and unhappy. If you blame other people for your experience then what you experience is at the mercy of your coworkers. However, when you take responsibility for what you experience you can have more great days, and realize your coworkers really aren’t that annoying. Or at least they no longer annoy you!

(Chrysta Bairre is a writer, speaker, work-life advocate, and professional development and employee engagement specialist. She publishes weekly articles on her blog, Live Love Work. Follow @livelovework to keep up with Chrysta on Twitter.)