How to handle rude coworkers
If you've worked for any length of time, you have probably crossed paths with a coworker whose main goal seemed to be making you miserable. Trying to get along with a coworker who is rude and mean to you on a regular basis makes for a difficult working relationship. It's especially hard to work with someone who constantly criticizes everything you do and attempts to make you look bad to your boss and other coworkers. The easiest solution would be to stay completely away from such a coworker, but this is usually impossible. So what should you do?
First, put yourself in your coworker's place. Is there something going on in their personal life that could be affecting their attitude toward you? We all know we're supposed to leave our personal lives at home, but sometimes we have a hard time doing so. Ask about the spouse, the kids, the home. Your coworker may just need to unload, and may actually appreciate someone taking an interest in their life outside of work.
More likely, your coworker feels threatened by you in some way. Are layoffs looming? Maybe they're afraid of being displaced. Are you doing the job in a different way than your coworker would? They might take it personally as a criticism to their abilities. Has someone else that works with you relayed your dissatisfaction with the working relationship? No matter how many "no gossip" rules there are in a workplace, people gossip. We're all human, we all make mistakes: we all try to defend our turf, and our workplace is our turf.
If your coworker is trying to blame you for what's wrong at work, making you look bad to your boss, you have the right to defend yourself. Ask the boss for a meeting, but carefully draft what you're going to say. Supervisors don't like personal conflict. They just want the job to get done correctly. On one hand, they don't like constant complaints, but on the other hand, the squeaky wheel does get the grease. Tell your boss your goals for your job, ask if he agrees with your methods, and invite his suggestions for improvement.
Difficult as it is to communicate with someone unpleasant every day, try to be friendly and helpful to everyone. Walk away when a coworker begins to engage in childish behavior that is detrimental to your job performance. Choose one person you can let off steam with that can be trusted to keep your venting confidential. Try to maintain your sense of humor to keep your stress level down. After all, with everything you've done and will do in your life, the opinions of one coworker won't matter in the long run--unless you let it.
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