No matter what industry you choose, you’re going to have to deal with at least one difficult coworker. We have all had experiences with people at work that range from inconsiderate to downright rude. Depending on the situation, several factors could impact your work efficiency and mindset. 

You may feel frustrated because a coworker forgot to bring you pivotal analytic data for the next marketing meeting — for the third time. Maybe one of the people you work with always seems miserable, and any kind gesture is returned with a glare and mumbling that you can’t quite understand. 

We are going to take a look at several tips you should keep in mind the next time you’re forced to deal with a difficult coworker.

Always Show Respect

The golden rule for personal connects carries over to the professional world, always show respect. You might find it challenging to look someone in the face after a heated argument or confrontation, but your aggression will only make the situation. 

Keep in mind that there is a fine line between being respectful and “too friendly.” Sometimes, when people are too friendly, they appear as if they are passive-aggressive, even if that isn’t their intent. This situation can also cause unwanted attention. 

As a general rule, avoid taking bait from difficult coworkers and keep a baseline level of respect for everyone you encounter. Sometimes you’ll feel challenged, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel much better about your behavior. 

Avoid Gossip 

Have you ever wrapped up a strange encounter with a coworker and decided that you needed to talk to someone sane about the events that occurred? If so, you’re not alone. However, it’s not a good idea to gossip or bring unwanted attention to yourself, or the coworker in question, if you’re dealing with a volatile coworker. 

If you must explain the situation to someone, keep it within personal relationships with close friends outside of work or your family. Avoiding gossip is one of the best ways to heal the damages brought on by rude and destructive behavior. 

Build Rapport

Building rapport is vital for companies, and it’s equally valuable within the ecosystem of a company. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking around the water cooler, using your business email account, or talking on a chat program for workers like Slack; you should strive to build personal bonds with your coworkers. 

In many cases, building rapport can turn an otherwise stone-cold employee into a friend. You could try breaking the ice by asking about their hobbies, work experience, family, and more. Always work towards building healthy, positive relationships with your coworkers to ease the impact of difficult coworkers. 

Look for Mutually Beneficial Solutions 

Sometimes the solution to your difficult coworker is as simple as making a compromise. Let’s say you’re having a difficult time with a peer over how to build a website for your company; you both have vastly different ideas. 

Instead of telling the other person that they are wrong, try to find a way to merge both ideas, so you both play a crucial role in the design process. A small compromise can go a long way towards building good bonds with your fellow coworkers. 

Escalate if Necessary

No one wants to report the people they work with to the management staff. However, there are specific cases where this process is necessary. As a general rule, if you feel threatened or intimidated by the coworker, report the incident immediately. 

If you’ve exhausted all of your options and this one person is still resisting a reasonable work relationship despite your efforts, and their behavior is having a significant impact on your performance, make sure you tell your manager. 

Once the situation reaches a point where it’s a severe problem for you and other coworkers, allowing that negative person around the office is guaranteed to cause more issues. 


Dealing with difficult coworkers is a part of life. Every job you land from now until the end of time will have at least one person with an attitude or who don’t pull their weight. Fostering bonds with these employees can help them step up their efforts and boost your confidence in the process.