Co-worker conflicts: Helpful tips for working with people you dislike


When I was a kid, my biggest fears were Florida woods cockroaches and my toys magically coming to life. Unfortunately, Florida woods cockroaches dull in comparison to their human equivalent: soul-crushing peers and co-workers. 

Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but nonetheless, working with people you don’t like isn't anyone's forte. 

Animosity isn't necessarily going to kill you, but it is draining and has major repercussions on your health and self-identity. 

From that group project where you have to pull all the weight to your manager that’s more of a bully than a boss, working with people you don’t like is inevitable. No one likes it, but we all go through it. 

Being that this quandary is completely unavoidable, it’s crucial to have the skills to power through. Here are our top tips on working with people you don't like.  

Remember That Not Everyone Is Going to Like You

Sometimes people just don’t like you, and that’s okay. It’s human nature to take things personally, but just because it’s natural doesn't mean it’s professional or healthy. Analyze the situation. 

Is this person not liking you an actual problem? Does it actually affect things at work or school? Are you the problem? This first step is crucial in knowing which battles to choose. 

 Know When to Stick Up for Yourself

Okay, so we’ve established we can't start a war just because someone doesn't like us, but when people take advantage of us, are condescending and disrespectful, arming for battle is the only option. We aren't entitled to people liking us, but don't confuse this with letting people walk all over you. 

Stand up for yourself. Whether it's your lab partner, your roommate or your manager, letting people know you aren't one to be messed with is crucial. And if you’ve said what you needed to say and established boundaries, and all still fails, it's time to leave, talk to your professor or contact human resources. This is war, after all. 

Make a Plan

So we know which battle to choose, but what about those co-workers or peers who are just plain difficult? Be professional and stay in your lane. Talking to another co-worker about your disdain of “Becky” isn't going to make anything better, it’s only going to make you look bad. 

Make a plan. Put differences aside and find a way to get a project done with that classmate or co-worker. 

Let Go

If you establish that you either just don't get along with this person, have spoken up for yourself or found a solution to get work done, it’s time to let it go. I’ve had many instances where I’ve held onto grudges that served no purpose. Focusing on people and things that won’t change is only going to hurt you. 

Learn this sooner than later. Focus on yourself, do things you like and become the best version of yourself that you can be. 

Working with people I don’t like has been something I've been doing since my first job as a waitress when I was 16 years old. I’m sure you all can probably relate. 

It doesn't matter if it’s at school, your job at Victoria's Secret or your position at a Fortune 500 company, difficult people are everywhere. But isn't that what makes life kind of horribly hilarious? In fact, what often makes me feel better after a bad day at work is turning on a show like “The Office” or going on Twitter to realize I’m not alone in dealing with craziness. 

Work is never fun when you’re forced to work with people who are by all means the worst, but it’s essential to be prepared to know what to do. Remember that people respond to strength and prey on vulnerability, and above all, don’t forget to laugh at how ridiculous people are. 

I mean, who raised these human cockroaches? 


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