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7 Tips for Dealing With Toxic Colleagues

Work is an important and integral part of life, which takes up about a third of our time. Surely everyone wants this time to pass productively and not feel negative about things. However, not everything is always perfect. One of the problems that a person can face in the workplace is toxic co-workers. These people can be a real test of your patience and professional skills. We’re offering up some tips to help you deal with hard situations with the people you work with.

1. Build personal boundaries.

Chatterbox colleagues can constantly distract you from your work. These people don’t know how to stop. They always try to talk about personal matters, gossip, and other things unrelated to work. Obviously, we’re not talking about people with whom you have a friendly chat during a break but about colleagues that distract you from tasks. In this case, you need to build personal boundaries. Try to answer as briefly as possible and avoid conversation at all costs. Learn to say “no” to unreasonable requests.

2. Avoid gossiping, and don’t let people gossip about you.

Some toxic co-workers may try to drag you into gossiping about other co-workers. In this situation, you should clearly state your position and explain that you are not interested in such conversations. If you know that a toxic colleague is constantly talking behind your back about you with others, then talk to them. Invite him or her to a one-on-one conversation and politely express your dissatisfaction.

3. Try to minimize communication.

Making friends at work is important. However, it is not always possible to befriend everyone, even if you want to. Therefore, one way to maintain emotional health while interacting with toxic colleagues is to minimize communication with them. Try to ensure that your work tasks depend on each other as little as possible.

4. Don’t let negative emotions take over.

Toxic people can cause unpleasant emotions. Even the calmest person may want to raise their voice or be rude. However, you should not do this. Retaliatory aggression will not improve the situation. So don’t let a toxic colleague affect your emotional and physical health. Control what you can and let go of what you cannot control.

5. Try to understand your colleagues and talk to them.

There is probably a reason for a colleague’s inappropriate behavior. Try to understand the situation. This can help you find a solution to the conflict that is beneficial for everyone. Honest and frank face-to-face dialogue can help you with this. Try to gently communicate your thoughts to this person. Explain how their behavior affects you. Also, ask for feedback on your behavior.

6. Be willing to ask for help.

At some point, you may realize that all the methods you’ve tried to smooth out conflicts have not worked. In this case, you can ask for help from one of your colleagues. It could be an HR professional or a trusted mentor who can point you toward a different approach. Another option is to contact the manager directly and ask for help to solve the problem.

7. Be prepared to change jobs.

Whatever good intentions you have may eventually prove ineffective. If the behavior of a toxic colleague continues to harm your physical or mental health and affects your professional performance, and if the company you’re working for takes no further action, then it may be worth considering changing jobs.

Bonus: “Made an enemy on my first day of work.”

Preview photo credit MagicalKhaos / Reddit
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