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mostlyclueless's avatar

How to deal with difficult coworkers?

Asked by mostlyclueless (701points) July 8th, 2011

I have one coworker who I cannot stand to be around anymore. I stayed home from work today because I’m so frustrated with her.

We were initially very close friends, until she stole an idea of mine, and I had to have our boss intervene to give me credit for it. Since then, we have both put a fair amount of work into repairing the friendship, but things have never been the same.

I don’t respect her as a colleague. She makes plenty of foolish mistakes regularly yet constantly complains about other people’s incompetence. She has emotional breakdowns about once every two months that involve getting furious and sobbing hysterically. She is constantly negative, and turns everything that happens into a crisis. But of course, nothing is ever her fault (she actually said recently, “I don’t make mistakes.”)

Lately she has done a string of small but insensitive things that have pushed me over the edge. I no longer consider her a friend, but I don’t think she realizes this, and I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to tell her.

The only solution I can think of is to work from home as much as possible, and come in on the weekends to do things that must be done from the office. There is also a room down the hall that I could move to, but it would probably cause a great deal of awkwardness for me to up and move away, when everyone thinks we are all still friends (and I genuinely don’t have a problem with my other coworkers, who I do consider close friends).

Any advice would be appreciated.

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7 Answers

erichw1504's avatar

I would move to the room down the hall, just tell her that you like the location better or something. I would also tell her how you feel. If you really can’t do this, then I would just try to avoid her as much as possible. Another good idea would be to talk to your boss about the situation and see what he/she can do about it.

marinelife's avatar

Talk to your boss about moving to the room down the hall. Then have the boss announce it to everyone as a move designed to make everyone more productive.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You wrote: “I stayed home from work today because I’m so frustrated with her.”
That is a dangerous precedent. You are dealing with a “Blame thrower” and can be burned when you are not around to protect yourself.
She has already proved herself too be a liar and a cheat. If you are not there, she bad things to your reputation. It should be your top priority to do the best job you can, avoid the poison and prove her to be the worthless employee she really is.
Be visible to management. Do your job well. And don’t fix her mistakes.

Porifera's avatar

Move rooms. Nothing is more annoying than to have to see a person you dislike while you’re trying to get some work done.

Talk to your boss. You can’t deal with this on your own. Tell him/her you have tried hard to make ammends but her psychological state is too much for you to handle and that it is actually affecting you not only personally but also interferring in your job. Talking to your boss is your only prove that something is wrong between you and this person and you might need this prove in the future should things get worse.

Never put your job at risk or let anyone get in between you and your job. Staying home because of her shows that you are letting her get under your skin. You need to toughen up because you will find people like that all the time.

gondwanalon's avatar

Negative and childish people happen in this world and sometimes we just have to deal with them. It is not your problem that your coworker breaks down and has fits. That is her problem. It looks like she is playing a game with you in that she uses her weird behavior to drive you away. When you stay away from the workplace then she wins her sick little game.

Don’t let her past or present or possible future behavior get to you. You are in charge of how you feel. When she starts acting weird just blow it off and go about your business. When she sees that she can’t manipulate you, she will realize that she is wasting her energy on you and cool it.

filmfann's avatar

I work on a crew that is probably the most talented bunch I have ever worked with. They are also impossible to get along with. Everyone is fighting with everyone, it seems.
I am terrible at trying to keep a low profile, and usually get into the mix.

Akua's avatar

I looked for this question in fluther search because I ma having a similar problem. I’ve been at my job for several years. I work at an elementary school and the payroll secretary has it in for everyone. At first everyone was very friendly with her and we even all took lunch at the same time. Things were great until one-by-one we all started to realize that she was setting us up. Here are just a few scenerios: Another co-worker would get hurt on the job and the secretary would not file the proper paperwork for the employee to get sick pay or benefits. The first time we all thought it was an innocent mistake and we let it slide, but it happened to every single employee who took an extended sick leave or maternity leave. 2) One day I went to move my car for alternate side and as procedure states I’m to let payroll know and sign out. While gone she went to the principal and said she couldn’t find me in the building and I had important phone messages. When I returned the principal asked me where I was and after seeing I had followed procedure, let it go. I asked Crystal (payroll secretary’s name) where are the messages, she claimed she could only find one and the one she gave me was for another staff member, not me. 3) My principal asked Crystal for a record of my schedule because she saw me leave early one day for a preapproaved medical appointment. Crystal printed out the time cards from 2 years ago when I missed a lot of work taking care of my dying mother (which had already been approved by the last principal. When the new principal showed me the copies with my signature I was shocked because I know I get to work an hour early and leave a half-hour late, always. I just happened to notice that the signature was my maiden name and th dates were 2010 and 2011 and she convienently omitted any time cards from 2012. When she realized Crystal had given her the wrong paperwork she was embarrassed and apologetic and told me I could go. This woman has sent staff on errands for school business and as soon as they are gone claims they are derelict in their duties. She has driven another employee out of the main office, lied on us and try to get employees in trouble with no cause. Through it all, no one says a word. Everyone keeps their mouth shut about her and smiles in her face , pretending like she is still our friend but behind her back everyone gripes about how conniving and deceitful she is. I’m so sick of her I can’t stand to look at her. At one time she even tried to hint that my husband tried to flirt with her outside the school building one day, which I knew was a lie, so I told him what she said and he hit the roof. He was so angry at her trying to start a fght between us that he wanted to confront her but I asked him to leave it alone. Should I mention her behavior to the new principal who is being manipulated into believing lies or should I confront Crystal and let her know that I’m hip to what she is doing? Or should we all continue to ignore her treachery while pretending we still like her? I think most of us are afraid to confront her because we’re afraid she will purposely mess up our paychecks, as she has hinted she can do. I really dislike this woman and I can’t understand why anyone would do this with people who were her friends and co-workers. Any advice would really help.

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