We’ve all been there. That awkward moment in the break room where you have nothing to say to them and they have nothing to say to you and the only thing deeper than the uncomfortable silence is your dislike for your co-worker sitting across from you. It’s understandable. Not everyone at your company, office, or place of employment is going to vibe with you, but having conflicting feelings towards co-workers doesn’t have to be an issue.
- Remind yourself of their humanity. It’s really easy to hone in on your dislike for someone when you forget that they are human too. They’ve had their struggles and trials, just as you have had. They enjoy food, music, and hobbies just like you do. They are people too and on a different level, the conflict could be affecting them as well.
- Find some common ground. Ask a few co-workers what your adversary’s interests are and they enjoy. See if you have a few interests in common, like bands or favorite places to eat. It’ll be easy to start a conversation and break the uncomfortable silence by talking about something that they enjoy.
- Try to compliment the other person on something. It’s easy to find something about someone’s appearance that we appreciate and the compliment would be a small boost of confidence for them. Bonus points if you can compliment them on something relating to your work or their contribution to the office. They’ll realize you’re not that bad of a person if you go out of your way to make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Plus, it’ll feel nice to not be the villain in their story.
- Be helpful. It’s going to cost some extra energy, but going a little out of your way to show that you’re not above doing what they do and that you’re willing to assist them with their workload will show them how determined you are to reach the common goal.
- Show that you care about their well-being in the company as you do about your own. This includes reducing any water-cooler gossip, staying out of the drama in the office, and trying to keep the heat to a minimum. A hostile work environment makes it difficult for everyone at work, especially the people involved.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to resolve any issues. There is always going to be that one overly-cocky guy or that one mean girl at work, so it’s best to learn to adapt rather than fight the currant. (This is especially true if they’re the stubborn type!) If you’re like me, your work affects you in a personal way because doing well in all aspects of life (including work) defines your standing within it. This is why it is important to choose your battles wisely at work and try to avoid conflict for the sake of your well-being. Even if nothings work and even if all else fails, you can say that you at least tried to make an effort to make amends and keep the peace. In my 5+ years in retail, I’ve learned that I’m not going to get along with everyone – and that’s okay! You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend at work. You just have to be on well-enough terms to make sure you’re getting things done while keeping up the positive vibes.
Got any tips to resolve conflict at work? Leave your feedback (along with war stories from the water-cooler!) in a comment below!