Listen, there are some people that you just won’t like. Point blank. It doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, love your neighbor and volunteer at your local soup kitchen every Thanksgiving. If we don’t vibe, we don’t vibe. This is not to say that we have to hate on each other, but vibing can be optional, right? But what happens when we actually don’t vibe at all in these corporate streets where political correctedness is should be the norm, Colgate smile on display and all? How do you manage not liking your co-worker, especially when you have to work with them?
Statistics tells us that we most likely will not like 10% of the people we meet. Which when you happen to be West African, amounts to a whole lot of people at the summer block party. Yet if you think about it, if you had to like and vibe with everyone, when would you have time to do your weekly curl mask and shave? I’m all for positive energy, but there ought to be some universal balance in play.
Despite what all the Colgate smiles in conference rooms and other corporate streets may convey to you, there are a lot of people out there who do not like their co-workers. Sometimes, for legitimate reasons. Other times, because heating up your fish and palm oil stew in the department’s microwave will not make you friends anywhere. The point is, it happens more often than not, political correctedness or not. While many of us survive this serious corporate affliction on the down low, some of us keep praying for patience and after-hours spiked margaritas.
If you happen to wonder what to do to actually refrain from giving your co-worker a piece of your overheated mind (or fish and palm oil stew), or lose your paycheck over vibin’ differences, here are a few suggestions:
See the positive
This may sound counter-intuitive, but there are many instances in which disagreements or dislikes between co-workers stem from a misunderstanding or prior negative assumptions. Instead, grab some calming rooibos tea and contemplate the possibility that there are positive things about them. This may require some extreme concentration; however, you may be able to discern some positive traits, including the fact that they bring local candy from their vacation, that may help you deal going forward.
Keep it professional but limit your interactions with them
We all have triggers. Some of them are dressed as co-workers who cut off our vibin’ energy every single time. Once you realize that they may trigger you to behave in a way that is uncharacteristic of who you are, you may want to start pulling away. Not as in running to the other end of the meeting room when they’re present, because: obvious. However, you may consider keeping your interactions purely professional for the sake of your sanity and excessive side eyes.
Take a good hard look at yourself!
Reality check: the feelings you have towards certain people didn’t just appear out of thin cubicle air. Very often, what triggers us has to do with our past or something we may have to work on in ourselves.
If this co-worker reminds you of your nagging ex who used to repeat the same thing over and over again, there’s a good chance you need to do some serious soul-searching So grab that sea salt caramel ice cream pint and make a list of the people you need to forgive in your life. You’ll be surprised how much better (and in need of exercise) you’ll feel afterwards.
Resist the urge to be petty
Yes, it can be very tempting to go vent about that co-worker we don’t like and even add some hot gossip to the sauce. But remember:
- two wrongs don’t make a wright
- God don’t like ugly
- and you still need karma on your side for when you go ask for that raise next year
Refrain from getting your Certification in Pettiness and Gossip, as hard as it may be. Not only will it ruin your reputation, but it will also eat away at your self-esteem like a hard weave at your frayed edges.
If necessary, confront them honestly without being unprofessional
Sometimes, situations at work get out of hand, especially those involving co-workers that are not part of our “Like” stratosphere. If things get hairy with a particular co-worker you don’t like, or they happen to cross your personal and professional boundaries, you may have a talk with them.
However, you want to keep it as professional as possible, and focus on facts instead of feelings. Leave your anger back at your cubicle desk, and address the situation in as rational a way as possible. Politely ask them to stop any inappropriate behavior and to maintain professionalism at all times. And no, you cannot be all that “real”, you’re not Beyonce, this is work and rent is due next week!
How do you deal with co-workers you don’t like?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sis.
Author: Solange Lopes
Solange is the founder of The Corporate Sister, as well as an author, entrepreneur and CPA. She’s passionate about helping women do work they love, build fulfilling careers and living life on their own terms.