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7 Things You Haven’t Tried To Deal With That One Co-Worker You Dislike

7 Things You Haven’t Tried To Deal With That One Co-Worker You Dislike

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    Work is stressful. All day you deal with deadlines, demands, and distractions. Work is easier and happier when you have pleasant people around you who are there to help you and work with you. That doesn’t always happen though. Often there is that one person who is on a mission to make your life miserable.

    If you have a co-worker like this, you know how they can suck every ounce of happiness out of your life. It’s a ripple effect that seeps into other aspects of your life: whomever you go home to, your friends, your family, even the lady standing behind you in the grocery store checkout lane. It’s pure emotional torture.

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    It seems like I’ve had a difficult co-worker at every job I’ve had. I was beginning to wonder if there was some mystical message that the Universe was trying to teach me. I thought I was easy-going, upbeat, fun-loving, and full of personality. So why didn’t these irritating antagonists appreciate me? Why were these people haunting me?

    The last one was the worst. I was going through a divorce and had just become a single parent. I had recently changed career paths venturing into foreign territory. I was really scared. My new co-worker (who was also my manager) seemed so nice when she interviewed me for the job. She must have liked me because I did get the job. But then, it happened. Like a snake shedding its skin, each day as we sat there, desks almost touching each other, she became scarier as layers of her “niceness” faded, and her fangs began to show.

    Every day was another attack at my incompetence. For months, this continued until I changed my thinking. One day I realized this was all about me. This miserable co-worker was testing my character strength. I had to step back from the situation and take an inventory. I asked myself, “How much can I handle? Is this about them or me? Am I looking in the mirror? Do I see something I don’t like about myself in them? Am I jealous of something they have, like a higher position, a better relationship with the boss, or freedom to do whatever they want? That’s when I learned that this impossible, nasty, bully was there to teach me about myself.

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    Here is what I discovered.

    1. Compassion

    Everyone is carrying their own silent sack of troubles with them every day. Everybody worries, and everybody has problems. When you keep this in proper perspective, you realize your co-worker’s nasty comments have nothing to do with you at all.

    2.  Kindness

    Yes, it’s totally phony at first, but after a while, it feels great. Shower them with kindness. It’s amazing how you can turn grumpy people around when you do. You become the conqueror of the situation. You can mold people by the way you interact with them. Every morning, I went to the coffee shop in our building. The woman who ran the shop was grumpy, unpleasant, and never smiled. Her nastiness was contagious. When I returned to my office, I realized I was in a bad mood. I made a decision to stop letting her negativity ruin my morning. From then on, I went to the coffee shop with a wide smile on my face and greeted her with an overly dramatic, “Good morning! How are you today?” The change didn’t occur immediately, but slowly, day after day, her frown softened and she smiled. All she needed was a little kindness. Most people probably responded to her negativity in kind, but if you don’t get hooked into it, you will feel better and so will the other person.

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    3. Wisdom

    Find your inner strength. You might have to search deep inside yourself, but you’re stronger than you realize. Instead of giving in to your impulsive reactions without thinking, try not reacting. Often we make situations worse than they are. Give your reaction time to settle. Time changes your perspective, if you let it.  Be smarter. Rise above the conflict. Slow down.

    4. Reflection

    Often the traits that irritate us the most in others are the traits we don’t like in ourselves. Are you brave enough to ask yourself, “Am I looking in the mirror?” At first, you won’t recognize yourself, but if you can step back and look at what happened, you might recognize yourself. It’s difficult to admit, but it’s true.

    5. Dignity

    Never let another person’s bad behavior bring out your (even) worse behavior. Once the negativity of others triggers us, we can become as monstrous as they are. Maintain your dignity when others lose theirs.

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    6. Communicate

    If you can find your courage and your strength – go for coffee and talk it out. Simply express your desire to improve your relationship. Ask for advice. Be humble, not egotistic. I once had a co-worker who gave me a dirty look whenever I walked by her desk. It didn’t take long before I was hooked and started giving her the same looks she gave me. For months, we’d walk by each other and roll our eyes. Until, one day, I asked another girl I worked with if she knew why I was getting dirty looks. Her answer surprised me: “She thinks that you don’t like her.” I had no reason to dislike her. I had no negative feelings for her (until those looks started). I went over to her, told her that I’d like to move forward and be friendly again. It worked.

    7. Know when to walk away.

    Abuse is never acceptable. Just like any bad relationship, you have to know when it’s time to walk away with dignity. You might have to quit. If the situation is absolutely unbearable or abusive, it will probably affect your emotional and physical health. Find another job, start that consulting business you’ve been dreaming about, or follow your bliss. This unlikable co-worker might be a blessing in disguise. They might be the messenger forcing you to make the change you’ve been dreaming about. Go for it. Seize the day!

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

    However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

    Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

    Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

    Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

    In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

    What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

    To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

    The Biology

    Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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    Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

    The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

    A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

    Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

    So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

    Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

    Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

    Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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    Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

    The Psychology

    Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

    Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

    Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

    Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

    What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

    Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

    Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

    1. Identify Your Habits

    As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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    2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

    Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

    It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

    3. Apply Logic

    You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

    Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

    4. Choose an Alternative

    As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

    Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

    5. Remove Triggers

    Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

    Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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    6. Visualize Change

    Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

    For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

    7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

    Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

    Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

    Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

    More About Changing Habits

    Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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