Working with someone you can't get along with is an unfortunate reality for many people, regardless of their profession or the workplace.

Working with a coworker who is too vocal or always running late can be very challenging. It could even be something less obvious, like having to deal with a colleague who never completes their tasks on time. It may be difficult to create a positive work atmosphere when we don't get along with the people with whom we are working. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't any steps that can be taken to help manage any negative energy in the workplace.

Taking the time to follow these tips may help make it easier for you to work with challenging people:

Remember: You’re NOT the Boss

It's not wise to tell someone else how to do their job if you lack the authority to do so. This will only make you look unprofessional. If your coworker does a poor job and you’re tempted to correct his mistakes, don’t expect to be thanked for it. And don’t be surprised if he’s stubborn about your good-natured advice either.

  • Lead by example and focus on doing your own work successfully.

Avoid Communication through Email

Dealing with difficult people can be tricky so it's important to communicate with them in person or over the phone if possible. Emails often come across as impersonal and can leave the other person feeling attacked, so using another form of communication would be more appropriate in most cases.

  • Reading emails aloud before sending them is a great way to avoid potential misunderstandings in written communication. This technique helps you be mindful of the words you are using and detect any potential emotional triggers that could be interpreted differently without hearing your voice or seeing your facial expressions. Though you might love nothing more than to avoid the person, make sure poor or misinterpreted communication doesn’t compound your issues.

Avoid Gossip

Talking about a difficult coworker behind their back is not the best way to handle grievances. If you feel like you must get something off your chest or want to discuss it with someone, wait until after work hours once you’re home.

  • Steer clear of office gossip and steer away from office drama. Not only is this discouraged by many workplaces, you never know who's around listening. Develop and maintain friendly relationships with your colleagues, and always make sure to take the higher moral high road in any situation.

Let Go of Your Anger

It can often be difficult to remain composed when dealing with a challenging individual. You may find yourself becoming frustrated due to the amount of time she’s wasted or things she’s done. However, it is essential that you take the time to unclench your teeth and remain calm.

  • Stay aware of the amount of mental energy you consume in feeling angry. This energy could be better spent elsewhere, on meaningful activities and tasks.
  • It's important to step away and let go of any anger you may be feeling towards a difficult coworker. Doing this will free up time which can be put to better use on something more productive.

Keep a List

If your coworker's issues start hampering your work, it is a wise idea to maintain a record of all related problems. Keeping such records will come in handy if a need arises for documenting the situation at some point in time.

  • Keep a list, date it, and if necessary, show it to your boss in a formal complaint. Doing this will give you evidence in the event that your coworker disputes your complaint.


It's not easy to work with people who don't bring out the best in you. However, it's important to remember that you don't have any control over your coworkers and thus cannot do anything about the situation. Hence, it is advised that you focus on getting your job done while trying your best not to let these people bother you any longer than necessary. Prioritizing your workload and following the above tips will help you maintain equilibrium in a hectic work environment.