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Tips for Dealing with Coworker Rudeness

written by: Krima Olive Molina•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 10/6/2010

Ready to gnash your teeth and throw your hands up over the rude behavior of an office mate? You've tried everything to deal with it but to no avail. Don't fret--here are some unexpectedly simple ways to deal with coworker rudeness.

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    Coworker rudeness can make your work situation difficult, or even downright unbearable. Take control of the problem with the following solutions.

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    1. Smile...

    ...because it's what irritates rude people the most. Let's face it--some of those people who have "RUDE" stamped on their foreheads are just attention grabbers who want to test you to your limits. Nothing irks these people more than having their cruel intentions be repaid by a warm, wide smile. Your being unaffected is a big failure of their goal to heat up some steam. In the end, their negativity will come around right back at them.

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    2. Be EXTRA kind.

    Tired of feeling angry with a coworker who always cuts the line in the photocopy room? Plot out a grand plan with your other office mates to ALWAYS make that particular coworker use the machine first. This may seem totally against your own instincts and judgment, but do this everyday and you'll see amazing results. Chances are, that coworker will start to notice your kind acts, realize that everyone else has been ultra-nice to him, and eventually, he'll feel ashamed of himself. He may even think that people are up to something, making him feel nervous and anxious over his rude habit. This technique never fails.

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    3. Gently confront the person.

    Dealing with an angry coworker by retaliating with equally monumental anger is never the way to go about it. Whenever you start to feel your blood boil and you believe that you are about to launch into a long harangue, stop yourself at all costs. Doing these will just make your rude coworker defensive, worsening the situation toward being unresolvable. Should you feel the need to confront the person, make sure that you yourself are not mad. Modulate your voice, look him in the eye, and gently (but firmly) tell him that what he's been doing is just too much. However, if you think that he is beyond diplomatic measures, you can try this next tip.

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    4. Completely ignore the rude behavior.

    Aside from smiling at a war-stanced coworker, another technique that works is to simply ignore him. This technique hits two birds with one stone--first, consistent and unfailing ignoring of the rude coworker's behavior will eventually get to him. It will dawn on him that his issues mean absolutely nothing to the people around him. He'll eventually retreat once this truth knocks him back to reality. Second, not letting the rude behavior affect you is a very proactive technique that benefits you. When you consciously choose to completely not allow anything to irritate you no matter how impossible the person is becoming, you save your body from stress hormones and a bad office day. Drop any plans of getting back at him; instead, ignore him for your sake.

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    5. Be above the situation.

    If, after careful assessment, you realize that the situation (and the person) is hopeless, rise above the coworker's issues and stop expecting that the rude behavior will change. Having a mindset that the rudeness won't ever go away changes your paradigm, so you start looking at his irritating habits as normal. Once you get into this kind of thinking, you won't feel frustrated simply because you have no expectations anymore. Be nonchalant and completely unaffected by every act of rudeness of this coworker.

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    Dealing with coworker rudeness depends entirely on how willing you are to change your paradigms and mindset. To push the playing-nice tip further on the edge, consider that your coworker may be going through a very difficult phase in his life that you know nothing about. It's all about dealing with your emotions and your judgment more than desperately trying to retaliate.






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