How to Get Along with Annoying Coworkers

We will forever be working with at least a few annoying coworkers. And depending on your personality or work style, you may “see” annoying attributes in more people than not.

The goal here is to stop spiraling down the annoyance drain when you have to interact with these people — especially if that annoying coworker is your boss.

From someone who finds little things more annoying than not, here are five ways to get along with super-annoying coworkers — making your work life a whole lot easier.

1. Make a Game Out of It

You can probably point out the various levels of annoying for each of your coworkers— so why not turn that knowledge into a competitive game for yourself? This is an easy way to redirect the angst around your frustration and get some entertainment value out of the situation.

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What It Means to Be Professional

It was my first day in a real corporate job, I was wearing my business professional (you can’t go casual on day one) outfit, ready to conquer the world. I looked the part, acted the part, but was not feeling the part. I was in the “fake it ‘til you make it” phase of my career – trying so hard to be “professional.”

I’m not really sure where I got the impression that I had to be buttoned up at all times when at work, but it had a long-lasting impact on my career and overall “self.” We are inundated with nuggets of advice like “dress for the job you want,” and act as if you are already in the next position. Decent advice, but how does it all fit into your idea of being “professional?”

I went along with the set expectations of the professional working world – wearing black pants with a suitable blouse daily, answering emails instantaneously, and using acceptable pen colors and notebooks. In other words, I complete erased my own identity at work in the name of being professional.

Looking back, I often wonder if my unhappiness in my corporate world originally stemmed from having to hold back so much of myself, in order to climb up the ladder. I was just so tired of muting my personality and love of color, to live up to someone else’s idea of being professional.

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Learn to Get Along with HR

Being able to forge a healthy relationship with Human Resources — ahem, HR — is a critical step in the development and growth of your career path. But often, people tend to duck and hide or flee the path of HR for the fear of receiving bad news.

Here’s the thing: if you are the one ducking and hiding, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build an important relationship with a key influencer. Not to mention, you’re hurting HR’s feelings.

It’s easy to get along with HR — if you approach it the right way. They want to be friendly with the people they support… up to a point. But at a minimum, they want to get along with you. Here are five ways to get along with HR:

1. Remember HR Is Made of People

This is easy to forget because the perception of HR is of cold, calculating old ladies ready to kill your career aspirations, but the HR department is made up of people. They come to work for the same reasons you do. They have families and lives and their own dreams.

People make up HR — and just like other people, they want to be liked and respected. The easiest way to make a connection with your HR partner is to treat them as you would any other person.
Say hello to them when you cross paths in the hallway instead of scattering. Ask them how their weekend was at the water cooler as you would with your cube-mate. Remember that they’re people first, HR second.

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Should You Ever Be Friends With Your Boss?

The answer to this question seems straight-forward from a human resources perspective; it’s almost laughable to ask. But alas, outside of HR, this is a question that is often overlooked.

The best answer is no — you should not be friends with your boss in almost all situations. Even your weird situation you’re about to start explaining.

Before your outrage gets out of hand, let me be clear: being friends with your boss is quite different than being friendly with your boss. Your friends are people you can be uniquely you around. They like you just as you are and hopefully don’t judge you for that. Your friends don’t have enormous power and influence over your career trajectory, compensation or general work/life happiness.

Still not convinced being friends with your boss is a bad idea? Consider these four potential consequences:

1. Compensation Questions are Awkward

Asking for more money is difficult regardless of the situation. But when you’re friends with the person who controls the money, the awkward meter skyrockets for both of you.

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4 Ways to Earn Your Boss’s Respect

Starting a new job or having a new boss is always intimidating. You’re walking into a new situation, somewhat blind with high expectations of what’s to come. Without even knowing about it, you rub your new boss the wrong way… and all because you stumbled over the “respect is earned, not given” guidance.

In general, you will have earned a baseline of respect when you walk in the door – they respected your background and experience enough to hire you, so you have that going for you. But once you are officially on board, you are walking into a team. An organization that has been a unit before you joined them, so it’s up to you to start gaining their respect and integrating into the team.


4 Quick Ways to Start Earning Your Boss’s Respect

1. Don’t be the antagonist.

I know there are some personalities that tend to enjoy being the contrarian or the antagonist. I am constantly surrounded by a few, so I understand the urge to point out the potential other side.

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