Question: “I can’t stand my new co-worker, even though she seemed nice at first. After only a few months, this woman is already trying to take over. She constantly sucks up to our boss, so now he listens to her instead of me. Whenever I talk about my personal life, she becomes very critical and starts telling me what to do. If I say I'm feeling bad, she will suddenly start acting sick. I enjoyed my job before she came, but now I hate it here. What should I do? —Disgusted
Answer: There are many annoying people in the world, so you might as well learn how to deal with them. The secret is to focus on things you can control. You can’t change your colleague’s irritating personality, but you can control your attitude, your conversation, and your relationship with your manager.
By allowing yourself to get so upset, you’re giving this woman a great deal of power over your feelings. Instead of reacting emotionally, simply view her as another work problem that must be managed.
One simple strategy is to limit your conversations to job-related topics. If you don’t like her judgmental comments, stop sharing information about your personal life. If she suddenly seems to catch every disease you mention, don’t tell her how you’re feeling.
Instead of fretting about her growing influence with your boss, focus on improving your own relationship with him. Do outstanding work, share helpful information, and be consistently pleasant and cooperative. But don’t complain about your coworker, because that will just make you look like a whiner.
Want to know if you're bothering your colleagues? Take our Quick Quiz: Do You Annoy Your Co-Workers?