It’s hard, isn’t it? Working with others, I mean. If you’re anything like me (a socially awkward extrovert), then you get what I mean. There probably isn’t a single person who hasn’t had a conflict with their co-workers at some point in their lives. And during those episodes, it’s quite difficult and borderline unimaginable to ground yourself and not take things personally. It feels like the end of the world sometimes, doesn’t it? Your relationship with coworkers might not be the topmost priority for you, but it definitely must be healthy and cordial. Work relationships can be tricky, and you are bound to find that one person that you just cannot bear to speak to, let alone work with. So, here are 3 therapist-approved strategies that’ll make working with people easier…

1. Set Boundaries

I have found myself in a pickle a few times due to my habit of saying yes to almost everything asked of me at work. I just can’t say no because I’m scared to look unprofessional or unwilling to co-operate. Just the other day, right as I was packing up to leave work, a coworker asked me if I could attend a meeting (that was scheduled for a few days later). Now, I knew it was with my super boss, and I was not prepared (I mean, I was on track for the original meeting, but not this sudden change of plans). Yet, I said yes. Of course, my super boss was a bit disappointed in me for not being prepared. I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I just say no? Why didn’t I explain why?”. But, dear readers, before someone asks you to do something, genuinely think about it for a few minutes. Are you willing or even able to take up this task? Never hesitate to put yourself first sometimes. Having said that, whilst working with people always make sure to think of what’s best for everyone as well.

2. Put Yourself In Their Shoes

That guy from sales is breathing down your neck by calling you up on Sundays and after work hours, but you genuinely have no idea how to tell him to, well, stop. Before you get all passive-aggressive and send screenshots on your work besties’ group, pause and breathe. Put yourself in your coworker’s shoes and try to figure out what’s bugging them. They could have a deadline on their head, hence the nagging. Or their boss could be giving them instructions to do so. Obviously, they themselves don’t want to be doing work on a Sunday, right? It is just work stress, deadlines, etc that could be making them extra worried. So, the next time you feel agitated by a coworkers behaviour, definitely try to look at their side of things and be empathetic.

3. Communicate–Wait no–Overcommunicate Always

The number one thing I was told when I started my job was to overcommunicate with everyone. Misunderstandings are a part of life, especially when you’re working with people you’re not yet comfortable or friendly with. So, in order to prevent miscommunications, make sure to say what you’re thinking and say it very clearly. If you’re unhappy with the way your coworker is behaving with you in front of others, make sure to take him/her aside and explain what’s bothering you. A simple formula to construct such feedback is the following:

the change you’d like to see + why the current situation is not working for you + why your option is beneficial for both parties

So, you could say something like this:

I would like for us to have a more respectful relationship and stay away from bringing the other person down in front of others. It doesn’t feel like a healthy method of communicating and coworking. I believe our relationship could benefit from communication and mutual understanding so that we both can create a positive working atmosphere.

Instantly, you’ll see that your coworker will be more open to the idea and will want to collaborate.

Do you have any tips for working with people? Let me know in the comments!

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