Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pick the people we work with? Or avoid those overbearing colleagues and the perpetual grumblers who make it difficult to keep our emotions in check and focus on actual work? Alas! The reality is we will never find a workplace that is entirely amicable. How do we then survive the emotionally exhausting experience of being around a colleague we don’t like?

here are five strategies you can apply to collaborate with people you don’t like.

manage your emotions and reactions

Try to identify the specific traits about a person that rubs you the wrong way. Is it how they behave, their style of interaction or their attitude that annoys you? The key to managing ourselves gracefully while around people we dislike is to be able to read our own reactions and diagnose the triggers that spark negative backlash.

introspect yourself

A lot of times our opinion about others is a replication of our own worldview. The more negative our interpretation of life, the higher the intensity of our fault finding, and vice versa. A little introspection into our own attitude will go a long way in helping us change our views. Trying to see people from a fresh perspective begins with one’s own self. Before being critical of others, it’s always a good idea to comprehend how we look to others.

don’t pretend

In order to save a situation, you may be tempted to hide your true feelings and pretend to like someone. However, human beings have the inherent ability to catch vibes – positive or negative. So any attempt to hide how you feel will only make you look superficial. The best strategy is to subtly make your sentiments clear to people with whom you don’t share much in common. Help them understand that their interaction with you will strictly be around getting the job done and nothing beyond it.

document every interaction 

If you know for certain that someone you dislike is trying to overstep you at work, the best strategy is to shift gears. Avoid making any verbal work-related statements or commitments. Document everything. Put all your conversations in emails.  Keeping evidence is your best defense against any force trying to impact you negatively.

consider talking it out

Attempting to provide feedback about how certain behaviors of your colleague impact you and the work you do, can help change negative behaviors. If done with caution, it can even make them aware of the blind spots they didn’t know about. This is a delicate step and needs to be handled with enough objectivity by focusing on areas of improvement rather than pin pointing everything about the person that you might find annoying. 

The bottom line: getting through difficult interactions with colleagues begins with one’s own willingness to resolve a situation. We see what our mind shows us. The key is to train the mind to view the brighter side of everything. This way, life will be easier not just for you but also for people who interact with you.