Wendywoman on Hated Co-Workers…

Got an interesting query from a reporter:

I’m writing a piece on “what to do if you hate your co-worker”. I’m looking for tips from career and workplace experts for how to keep the best working relationship with someone it’s hard for you to get along with.

When you hate your co-worker, it often becomes an obsession, to the extent that every time you engage with them, you are not focused on the outcome of that meeting or activity, but instead on how much you dislike them.  It’s important to find one positive thing about the person you can shift your attention to, otherwise, you will see nothing but the negative and not only will you continue to hate them, but you won’t get any work done and end up with bigger problems.  I once had an awful co-worker and the start of repairing that relationship began when I would say every morning, “I am grateful he did not get hit by a truck on the way to work.”  Sometimes you have to start someplace and never wishing bodily harm on a person was something I could focus on and really mean.  From there, I could move up the ladder by picking other positive adjectives to describe him (he’s productive; he’s happy; he’s wise), and pretty soon, the only person who showed up (or at least that is how it seemed to me) was a genuinely nice guy.  Did he change?  Probably not, but instead of obsessing about all his bad qualities, I began to obsess about good ones and that was what I experienced.  Bottom line,  you can talk yourself into or out of any situation, good or bad.    The same level of hysteria applied to hating your co-worker can be applied to a future goal or objective.  It’s just a redeployment of your time and energy, which  is the only thing you can control anyways.