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How to Find Common Ground with Co-Workers You Don’t Like

We’ve all been there. You love your job, the people are great—well, except for one person. Even in the best job, there can be one co-worker who you just don’t like. Finding common ground can be tough, but it may make life more tolerable. Here are a few tips to help you move closer to that elusive common ground.

Talk to Your Co-worker

Do you annoy anyone? Get on anyone’s nerves? Maybe you do, and you don’t even know. It’s possible that this is the case with your co-worker, too. Politely, but firmly, say that you don’t appreciate the off-color jokes, don’t want to do their extra work, or tell them whatever else is on your mind. You may not get a positive response at first, but you may. Wouldn’t it be great if a simple conversation could resolve the problem?

Be yourself during the conversation; that will help you feel more comfortable. Don’t try to change yourself for the conversation because you’ll come across as less than authentic. One tip: use sentences beginning with I. For example, say, “I feel uncomfortable when you do this” rather than, “You make me feel uncomfortable when you do that.” If you start the sentences with I, the person is less likely to feel attacked or accused.

Find the Good

Can you find anything good about this person? That may help quite a bit. Ask your co-worker about their interests—favorite music, films, books, hobbies. Showing a genuine interest in them will make them feel comfortable around you. You may learn something surprising; maybe you share an interest in an obscure band, or maybe you attended the same concert years ago.

Why is that important? It can be the beginning of common ground. Build a relationship that is focused on a particular thing you like about the person and stop allowing yourself to simply focus on how much they annoy you. From that one thing, you may even find that you have other things in common, as well.

Be Kind

Despite all your best efforts, you may find that you cannot make things better with this person. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is sometimes. However, you need to be professional and treat the difficult person with respect and civility. That’s important because you are a professional, and you want your reputation to reflect that.

That includes one important thing: when you have a difficult co-worker, one of the easiest habits to fall into is gossip. What starts as a vent session with a like-minded co-worker becomes a daily gossip fest against the negative co-worker. Even though it’s easy to do this, it’s important to avoid it; gossip never reflects well on people who engage in it.

We’re Here to Help

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Dealing with co-workers you don’t like is never easy, and we hope these tips are helpful to you. We can be helpful when it’s time for your next assignment, too. When that time comes, give us a call at 310.436.3650.