Here’s Why And How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker

Written By Assma Riaz

Workplaces have different kinds of people having different natures. Every one of us comes across a difficult coworker. And here we think about how to deal with a difficult coworker.

The question is why it’s so important to learn to deal with a difficult coworker.

In comparison, we can get away from such people and focus on our work.

13 Steps On How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker

But it’s essential to learn to deal with such a coworker. Because we have to develop conflict resolution skills to keep the workplace peaceful.

Also, learning to work around such people strengthens your focus on work.

Here are some tips on how to deal with a difficult coworker.

1. Identify The Problem Between You And Your Coworker

It would help if you found out the reason underlying the chaos. The problem can be at both ends, or it can be solely your coworker’s responsibility.

Toxic coworker make it difficult to survive at workplace.

If you have such coworkers around, then identify who they are? What makes them behave this way?

See Through The Problem In Between You And Your Coworker
Identify The Problem Between You And Your Coworker

Maybe their past traumas have turned them to be such a person. Exploring the reason behind it will help you to solve the matter more strategically.

You have to find out some ways to stop this problem from spreading.

2. To Deal With A Difficult Coworker Learn To Say What You Think

Your comfort level at work must be decreasing because of your difficult coworker.

That’s the time where you should confront the situation. But try to keep your tone subtle.

It will be more understanding of them if you use “I” language instead of “You.” Because “You” language can sometimes be offending. They might not take responsibility for their actions.

For instance, “I find it difficult to work with you” instead of “You’re irritating” is more suitable.

3. Understand Your Coworker’s Perspective

Most of the times, learning other’s perspective make things more straightforward.

So is the case with your difficult coworker. You can quickly get along with them if you try to understand their perspective.

Once you get to know your coworker better, you’ll be able to realize their side of the story.

To Deal With A Difficult Coworker Understand Their View
Understand Your Coworkers Perspective

You might know that it was their background that shaped their behavior.

Though everyone deserves respected treatment. But looking at the picture from their view can help you understand them better.

4. How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker – Try Making Positive Relationships

Don’t focus all your attention on this difficult coworker. Instead, you should focus on those coworkers with whom you love to work.

Developing a positive relationship with other coworkers can be relieving.

Talking casually to such coworkers who uplift the mood is what you need to do.

You will feel the change in your mood and be happier at work. You can also ask one of your favorite coworkers to do something fun to relieve stress.

It will help you to divert your attention from that problematic coworker. Also, you’ll get your mind fresh to think better on this matter.

5. To Deal With A Difficult Coworker, Discuss With Your Manager

Is your coworker creating too much difficulty around the workplace? His behavior must be leaving a strong negative impact.

So it’s the right time to take this matter into your manager’s account. Or you can also discuss it with HR to have instant results.

Documenting his destructive behaviors will help you to prove yourself right with evidence.

How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker
To Deal With A Difficult Coworker, Discuss With Your Manager

Now it’s the responsibility of management to solve this matter right away. So you can feel respected at work.

You might get sent to another team where you feel more comfortable to work.

Also, the decency of the workplace shouldn’t get disturbed.

6. How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker – Accept Their Personality

Sometimes the problem can be at your end. The person isn’t doing anything wrong, but still, you get annoyed by their personality.

It’s quite normal and happens with everyone in life. We find some people we enjoy, and then there are people we want to avoid.

What you need to do is learn to accept their personality and get along with this person.

It can be helpful for you if you look at their right side and give them a chance.

7. Be Neutral At Work For Dealing With Difficult Coworker

Difficult coworkers become the talk of the town, and everyone is gossiping about them.

But you should stay neutral at work even if other coworkers are talking about this person.

Being Neutral Will Help You To Better Deal With It
Be Neutral At Work For Dealing With Difficult Coworker

Keeping your opinions to yourself will save you from any trouble. Also, being neutral will help you to spread positive vibes at work.

Suppose you want to talk about this person as to its bothering. Then it would help if you talked to some friend or family member who has no relation to your workplace.

If you manage to save your energy for positive things at work, then you can be successful.

8. Restricting Your Interactions Would Be Helpful

You can better deal with this situation if you limit your interactions with this person.

With time, you’ll find better ways to deal with a difficult coworker.

You can also handle such people in small doses. It means you shouldn’t cut the interaction at once. Instead, try limiting interactivity in small parts.

During the meetings, you should stay by the side of people you like.

9. To Deal With A Difficult Coworker, Be The Bigger Person

It would be difficult for you to rise above a problematic situation. But it becomes necessary to do sometimes.

No matter how much the situation worsens, you have to keep your emotions in check.

Even if your coworker acts unprofessionally, you must keep your actions controlled.

If you act such a way and continue to deal with everyone with kindness, you’ll show your maturity.

Show Them That You Are Mature Enough
To Deal With A Difficult Coworker, Be The Bigger Person

Please tackle this matter in private rather than dragging other coworkers into it.

Because doing the latter will create a mess at the workplace, disturbing everyone.

10. Learn The Points That Provoke You

While handling this situation, you should be aware of your trigger points. See what behaviors of your coworkers bothers you the most.

If you know what is most challenging, then you can deal better with it.

When your coworker starts showing those actions, you know it’s time to getaway.

This is the most powerful tactic in keeping yourself together at work. You can better focus on your work.

If you direct your focus towards what matters, then you can have better results.

11. How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker – Focus On The Positives

It would be appealing to focus on this problem creating coworker. But it would help if you directed your attention to what you need to do.

You know what you love about this job and why you started. So shift your focus to the things you love.

How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker
How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker – Focus On The Positives

It would help if you also looked at your coworkers who are better to work with. Also, it would help if you didn’t ignore the perks your job is offering you.

If you are grateful for positive things in life, it would be easy to deal with the tricky part.

12. Look At Your Actions

It would help if you did not forget how you act around your difficult coworker. Because your actions play an essential part in this situation.

You might get to know that you both have developed a feedback loop of behavior.

Be the one who breaks the ice and try to treat your coworker with more kindness.

It can turn the tables and change the whole scenario. Your difficult coworker might return the kindness.

And you both can quickly move forward and get along with each other.

13. Convey Some Empathy For Dealing With A Difficult Coworker

Each one of us has to deal with some private things in our life. Your coworker might have ongoing something which makes him act the way he does.

Be A Little Bit Compassionate To Deal With Such A Coworker
Convey Some Empathy For Dealing With A Difficult Coworker

You must show some empathy and compassion to this person. Because if you were in their shoe, you would have acted the same way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Ignore A Toxic Coworker?

The best way to deal with a toxic coworker is by having an honest conversation with him. His behavior is having a particular impact on you. Make him realize the way he is behaving.

How Do You Deal With A Mean Coworker?

You should rise above this issue and stop taking it personally. Remember that you are not alone in this. Detaching your emotions from the matter would be helpful. And know that this situation is temporary.

What Are The Signs Of A Toxic Workplace?

The most obvious sign of a toxic workplace is that it makes employees sick and exhausted. The level of stress is so high that no one can work comfortably there. People taking off is also a sign the workplace is toxic.

What Is Disrespectful Behavior In The Workplace?

Any behavior that doesn't come under the category of professional conduct. For instance, being rude or talking in an offensive tone. Such behavior causes stress for others at work. Also, it shows disregard for other people.


Whatever field you are working in, there are always toxic coworkers to make the job difficult. It’s a whole strategy to deal with such people at work.

You have to be very cautious while handling this situation. As sometimes, it can cause harm to you.

If none of the suggestions is working for you, don’t worry. There is always an option to find a new job.

Consider moving yourself to a better place for having mental peace.

You can share your learnings in the comment section below.

Last Updated on 2 years by Assma Riaz

Assma Riaz

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