Office Etiquette: 4 Ways to Handle a Mean Co-Worker

Office Etiquette: 4 Ways to Handle a Mean Co-Worker

I wish I could say that I have never worked with a mean co-worker but I would be lying!  Today’s post about handling mean co-workers is written by Melanie Slaugh. Melanie writes extensively for internet providers and also topics related to internet service providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @ gmail.com.

Just when you thought that high school mean girl drama was behind you, you are faced with a not so nice coworker. This coworker finds every way to make you want to scream or just cry. So what do you do when you are faced with the cast of ‘Mean Girls’? Here are 4 ways to handle ‘that girl’:

  1. Be kind: I know, I know. You have tried that and it’s not getting you anywhere. But don’t give up, just keep smiling with each low blow remark she throws your way. If she suspects she is getting to you, this is just fuel to her mean fire. Smile and be kind and insert all those mom-isms here like ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ and who knows, the mean girl could just be going through a really rough time at home. Ride it out.
  2. Keep your mouth shut: Whatever you do, do not run and tell the whole office that you are being bullied. Talk about coming back to get you. Remember that game ‘Telephone’? Yup, still rings true even at our age. Your simple statement of ‘Ugh, I think she hates me’ will snake its way through the office rumor mill and come back with, ‘Omg, I hate her so much and she smells like cheese.’
  3. Reach out: Tread lightly. This is a tricky beast, you go too far- that could make her meaner, go too little- then you are the mean one. I know, I know. Silly. But it’s true. This doesn’t mean you have to suck up and give her your lunch money. This means you do small things to show her that you aren’t affected by her shenanigans. Small gestures like ‘Hey, want a Diet Coke? The vending machine gave me two’ or ‘Cute headband’ and then leave it.
  4. Become a non-threat: When women act caddy in the workplace it tends to be because of two reasons, they feel threatened by you or they are jealous of you. The best thing to do is to try to connect with her and show her ‘Hey, I am human and not so bad’, without her catching on. Example: Mean girl is listening and toe tapping to a song at her desk; you walk by and causally say ‘Ha, that was my first concert ever. Good song’ and keep strolling along. This intrigues the mean girl and for a brief moment she thinks ‘wow this girl I am mean to likes the same music I do…hmmm’.

Give it time and let the mean girl get to know you from a distance. Chances are she is just intimated by you and her only way to feel better is to, well, just be a big meany head. Don’t let it get to you, you have plenty of people at your office and at home that adore you and respect your successes at work. Take the higher road and be the bigger person, this too shall pass. Until then Netflix ‘Mean Girls’ and laugh.

How do you handle a mean co-worker?

Photo Credit: Jerry Bunkers

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About Anna Runyan

Anna Runyan has been helping women get their careers unstuck since 2008. She is known for “The Love Your Career Formula” which helps women find new careers they LOVE in 90 days or less and “The Corporate Rescue Plan” which helps women ditch their day jobs and start profitable, freedom-based online businesses in 90 days. Make sure you sign up for her Free ‘CHEAT SHEET’– 7 proven steps to get out of a job you hate and into a career you love.

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