Work can be stressful. Between deadlines, budgets, bosses, and projects, the last thing anyone needs is a nasty coworker. Follow these strategies to gain control of the situation and find some peace.
1. Get an outside opinion. Talk to a neutral and removed source. Explain the situation, and troubleshoot your interactions with your coworker. Is there anything you said or did (or didn’t say or do) to contribute to the problem? Having someone look at the situation who isn’t connected to your workplace will provide needed insight and clarity. If necessary, own your part of the problem, and decide what can be done about it.
2. Create space and stand up for yourself. Allow some time to pass before confronting your coworker. If possible, schedule a time to chat. If they refuse, you may need to catch them during one of their free moments. Calmly and professionally explain what you have noticed, how you want things to improve, and offer an apology if needed.
3. Wish them well. Throughout the process, and especially if they remain hostile after confrontation, it is crucial for your peace of mind to wish them well. It only brings you down to harbor anger and hostility towards them. One practice you can implement whenever you are hurt by someone is to repeat the phrase “may I be safe, happy, and live with ease and peace” and then extend the same wishes to your offender, “may you be safe, happy, and live with ease and peace.” Close your eyes and repeat the phrase a few times. Then let go. It’s amazing what these words can do for your peace of mind.
4. Be professional and respectful. In all your interactions, choose to stand on higher ground. Remember that you are in the workplace, and treat them with professionalism and respect even if you do not receive it in return. You want those around you including your boss to see your best self, not you giving your power away to someone angry and hurting.
Finally, smile to yourself as you remember this quote by Eric Hoffer: “Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.” As for you, you are the one acting truly strong!