I don’t get along well with a colleague from work: What do I do?← Back to blog
For many of us, since we were young it has been instilled in us that things do not always, or even often, go as we would like them to go. We learn to accept frustration and failure, we learn to take a deep breath and keep going forward. This is how many of us were raised, preparing ourselves to face a complicated world and learning to deal with disappointment.
When things do not turn out well, it can be easy to deal with in many cases, especially when it concerns temporary situations. But in real life, and in the working world, these frustrations become amplified, our daily routines make our relationships extremely important, and these frustrations can really affect our both our personal and working lives. Who hasn't had a bothersome boss? Or a colleague that is too playful and does not give us even a moment of peace. When our day to day lives includes frustrations, coping with these frustrations becomes much more complicated. And it is definitely crucial to face them , because they can become a threat to our mental and social hygienes.
We work and live with people throughout our entire lives, and occasionally, we don't get along well with those people. What can we do? Once we mature and understand that that direct confrontation and conflict does not do anything good for anybody, we get used to doing what they tell us that we should do: Deal with it. It is relatively easy to do with that brother in law that we see only 3 or 4 times a year, or with the mother in law that we see only one Sunday every two months. But, what about at work? Where we have to deal with this person every day?
And while it is tricky, furthermore working with someone that bothers you or you don't get along well with also has its risks.
To begin with, it is hard to hide the fact that you don't like someone. We show it, either explicitly or unconsciously. We show it, either explicitly or unconsciously. Either with our words or with our body language. And so in turn, the other person probably detects it. And if not, the people that surround the both of you will detect it. And when someone feels that you don't like them, they will probably start to dislike you as well. Making the problem even bigger.
And why is it important whether you get along well with someone or not? Because studies show that getting along well with others benefits us. For example, this study from the University of British Columbia states that if you spend money on other people, it will bring you happiness. Why? Because if other people like you (and it will make them happy if you spend your money on them), it will make your life easier. For example, another study that I have found, although I haven't been able to find the source, states that the more friends that you have when you are a teenager, the higher your income will be when you are an adult. Because, it is worth recalling that what we now call networking, the contacts that we have made throughout lives, is still the main way that we are able to find work these days.
But, before I go off on a tangent, let's get back to the topic. Once you have found out why it is important to get along well with others, What do I do to improve my poor relationship with Paco ,the selfish and grumpy guy from Accounting?
The answer is lies within ourselves.
As the saying goes it is easy to see the speck of sawdust in the eyes of others but not the plank in your own. The people that we do not get along well with have defects, of course, and they are those that we, for some reason or another, see easily. But us ourselves also have defects. In many cases, the reason why we don't get along well with some people with defects, and why we get along well with some other people with different defects, is because we tend to be most sensitive to the defects that we have, reflected in others, and above all, we detect these unconsciously.
This certainly is one of the main reasons. If we are occasionally selfish, we will tend to notice selfish behavior of others. And in the workplace, where people see each other every day, situations such as these are easily apparent.
Once we understand this, we can understand that we don't like what others reflect about ourselves. And for this reason, we should learn to accept our own defects, or maybe try even harder to correct them, in a way that will allow us to get along easier with those people that also embody those defects. Because, once we are able to accept and live with with our defects, or if we overcome them, it will not bother us, or at least it will be less bothersome when we see those defects in other people.
Of course, this is easier said than done. But we also did not say that this article would offer easy solutions. ;)