How to Crack a Crabby Co-Worker

Bigg Challenge
Melissa e-mailed us about a co-worker that she works with regularly on projects. Her co-worker is never in a good mood. In fact, she’s often downright unfriendly to everybody. Melissa tried taking a personal interest and killing her with kindness, but it didn’t matter. She wonders how to deal with this difficult co-worker.

 

Bigg Advice
Ah, the crabby co-worker with the hard exterior shell that you just can’t crack! It seems like every office has one. We’ll offer some suggestions, Melissa, but just remember you can’t change anybody but yourself.

You’ve tried being nice, but it hasn’t helped. Sometimes the nicer you are to people like this, the meaner they get. They’re like the bully that we all picture from our childhood days.

So don’t be afraid to stand up to the bully. One of two things will happen when you do – they’ll either be more of a bully or they’ll respect you for standing up for yourself.

So confront her directly, but don’t be in-her-face about it. There’s a good chance you’ll catch her off guard, because bullies aren’t used to being called out for being rude.

When she says something curt, just ask, “Have I done something to offend you?” You can expect one of two responses:

  • She may say “Yes”.
    That gives you the opportunity to follow up. Just ask, “I wasn’t aware I had offended you, what did I do?”

    Now at least you can have a conversation. She may get it off her chest and you might become one of the few people she treats well.

  • She may say, “No, why?”
    That will open the door for you to say something like, “By the tone of your voice, I just felt like I must have upset you.”

    In some cases, bullies have behaved this way for so long (and gotten away with it), they don’t even realize that they’re doing it. By bringing it to her attention, she might change her attitude toward you.

No matter what, Melissa, be sincere. Don’t worry about her attitude and don’t take it personally – it’s her problem, not yours.

Lower the bar

On the show, George shared some advice that he learned from one of his mentors. This mentor said he discovered early in his career that he wouldn’t like everybody with whom he worked. However, he worked hard to not dislike any of his co-workers.

So lower the bar! Try to find ways to not dislike her. For example, maybe she’s really good at what she does and you can respect her for that.

Thanks, Melissa for sharing your bigg challenge! 

If you have some tips for Melissa, share them with all of us! Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Anais Nin:

“From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.”

So don’t fret too much about your crabby co-worker. Plenty of people will melt like butter from the warmth of your personality.

Next time, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll talk about mom’s lasting legacy. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by eschu1952)

6 replies
  1. Jen
    Jen says:

    I work with someone who sounds just like Melissa’s co-worker. I’ve tried everything from kindness to even the confrontation thing like you suggested. NOTHING worked. I think she is just a miserable person.

    Reply

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