Monday, April 1, 2019

3 Ways to Deal with Snarky Co-Workers

We've all had those jobs where every day is fun, even if we don't really like the job or the work. The reason: The people are nice. Really nice. Like if you have a flat tire at work they stop what they're doing and fix your flat and make sure you get home kind of nice.

Then there are the jobs where the co-workers are snarky, rude and wouldn't hold the door for you if your life depended on it, never mind that you're trying to balance a laptop, coffee, a file folder and your coat. If you happen to drop any of it? They'll still let the door slam in your face.

These are exaggerations (or maybe not) but you get the drift. It can be really, really hard to go to a place that is populated by people you don't like because they're just lousy human beings.

The question becomes: How do you survive such a work environment?

1. Don't get sucked in. Just like social media can suck you into negative commentary and ugly rhetoric, so can your colleagues. Many of them may actually be nice people, but they've just gotten in the the bad habit of being snarky. When you show you're not going to be lured down that road, then they may change their tune and become more positive and nice people when they are around you.

2. Distract. Anyone who has toddlers knows that the surest way to avoid an ugly meltdown is to distract the child. "Look! Did you see that unicorn go by?" you say, immediately distracting a child bent on a temper tantrum to look for the unicorn. While you can't do that with a complaining or nasty colleague, you can look for ways to distract: "Did you see they're putting in a new restaurant across the street? Have you heard anything about it?" Or, you can try, "Wait, you have to see this carpool karaoke from last night's show -- it's going to blow you away!" Always have a little something ready to go for when a colleague starts down a negative path -- it can be fairly easy to distract some people.

3. Be blunt. If you just can't get someone to leave you alone -- and they just want to make you listen to all their snark -- then you may have to be crystal clear about your boundaries. "You know, I have a lot to get done, and this conversation isn't going to help me do that. So, I'm just going to get back to work."

What are some ways you've found effective to deal with unpleasant colleagues?

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