Negative Coworker


Doing a job well is hard enough, and it can get downright impossible when you have to work with a negative coworker all day.

There are psychological, socioeconomic, biochemical and other reasons for why people become so negative, but most people who have to deal with a bad attitude are just concerned with trying to get through the day while avoiding any unnecessary stress.

Generally speaking, the best way to cope with negativity is to not feed into it. You might feel the need to confront the person and somehow “fix” their negativity, but doing can often drag you into the person’s whirlpool of dysfunction.

Here are some more specific strategies to help you cope with various types of negativity.

The Gossip

Far from just a way to pass the time at work, gossip is often focused on trashing someone or some group of people. Even people who try to avoid the rumor mill can find themselves targeted by it.

In a one-on-one situation, the best way to handle gossip it to avoid being interested in it. The gossiper is trying to get some kind of reaction out of you and if they do not, they will go somewhere else to ply their rumors.

Gossip can also get out of control and create a toxic situation. Because managers want to avoid this situation and its negative impact on productivity, you should feel comfortable in bringing concerns about gossip to a supervisor. Ideally, this person should then let people know that gossiping will not be tolerated.

The Martyr

We’ve all worked with that person who constantly talks about having the hardest workload or who never gets recognized by management for all that they’ve done for the company. After a while, the constant pleas for sympathy and attention can be grating and draining.

Once again, it’s best not to give a response. A simple, “I’m busy” or “I can’t talk to you now,” lets the person know you don’t want to hear it. You can also direct the person to a manager who can address their workload, interpersonal problems, lack of recognition or other issue that they keep raising.

The Debbie/Donnie Downer

Some people get a perverse satisfaction from pessimism. Whether it’s a positive development for one person or the whole team, these folks revel in pointing out the negatives.

Not feeding into this person’s negativity works, but often the person doesn’t even realize that they being so depressing all the time. An effective way to deal with a pessimist is to ask them if they’re in a bad mood. Maybe they haven’t been getting a lot of sleep or perhaps they’re just frustrated with a situation at home. Being a sympathetic ear can bring the two of you closer, make them feel better and reduce the amount of negativity in your workplace.

At Career Concepts, we understand that sometimes you just need to get out of a negative situation. If you are looking for another job opportunity, we encourage you to submit a resume through our website.

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