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How To Deal With Difficult Co-Workers

It’s a fact; there will be difficult people at work. But the question is how can we deal with difficult people at work?

I’m referring to that co-worker who delights in being nasty and believes they have superior levels of both power and intelligence. But is, in fact, so insecure about themselves they cover it up by treating everyone like dirt under their shoes. Every office has difficult people.

Eventually, we have to deal with difficult people at work whose words or actions we can’t stand for our own sanity. Most times the problem isn’t yours but a projection of their own negativity being manifested in their working environment.

Responding to verbal attacks or just general bad vibes validates them and gives them exactly what they want. If someone is sniping at you, never engage in crossfire or demean yourself by yelling back. If you do that, you’re just lowering yourself to their standards.

There are ways you can deal with difficult people whilst still holding your head high and being professional.


Instead of adopting a defensive stance when someone is horrible to you. Not fake friendly, real friendly. If you’re always professional to someone in the face of immaturity, it can be hard for the other party to continue their attacks.


Take steps to turn the situation around. Make sure you approach any incident with more intellect and sophistication than a thirteen-year-old scrapping in the playground. They won’t expect you to keep calm while confronting them, keep your tone steady; avoid raising your voice – that’s what they expect you to do.


Instead of getting angry back, show some empathy. everyone’s story in life is different, you never know what they are dealing with outside of work.

If the problem persists and it’s really affecting you, start to keep a journal of each incident and report it to your Human resources manager. They will be able to support you and help you deal with those difficult people at work.

When an individual continually behaves in a way that is problematic or destructive, then the roots often lie deeper than whatever is happening at work. Standing up for yourself is hard and downright terrifying. It will be hard, yet empowering and you will be stronger for standing up for what you believe in.



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