It’s not always easy to get along with the people you work with. Unlike with friends (and even family, to an extent), you can be thrown into a group with a lot of different personality types and be forced to spend time and collaborate with them.
The real secret to staying happy at work isn’t free snacks or more “jean days”. It’s your work friends. According to a meta-analysis by Gallup, one determinant of positive employee attitudes — in addition to having learning opportunities and adequate office supplies — is answering yes to the question “I have a best friend at work.”
Inevitably, at some point you will encounter someone you just can’t seem to get along with at work. Instead of letting this make you miserable, turn it into a positive learning experience.
Mindfulness and compassion are two key elements in acceptance. Being able to observe and understand without judgment is difficult, but it will allow you to peel away those layers of discomfort you find yourself “wearing” each time you encounter a person you don’t want to spend time around.
- Try to get to know each person on the team. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it may just give you some insight into why certain people rub you the wrong way. There could just be a minor misunderstanding that has been creating the friction. Good ways to break the ice including asking them where they’re from originally, finding common ground such as kids or a mutually enjoyed sport, or other fairly neutral topics that can let you bond.
- Show compassion. That old adage, “Kill them with kindness” can actually go a long way toward helping you break through to team members.
- Don’t gossip, no matter how much someone annoys you. Unless they are doing something that breaks the rules of your company or just common decency, it’s best to not air your dislike. Gossip can turn into a very ugly monster very quickly. If you must discuss it, take it through proper channels, such as a supervisor.
- Remind yourself not to take personality flaws to heart. It’s likely not a personal attack — they may just have trouble relating to you or others around them.
- Be Grateful.