• Anna Conrad

3 Strategies for Working with Someone You Don't Like



My blood pressure was dangerously high when I was pregnant with my first child. It took a couple of weeks to identify the cause: it elevated every time I had a meeting with one particular person.


As my experience shows, not everyone will be your friend. Just like your non-work life, some relationships at work are easier than others. Here are three strategies for when you’re stuck working with someone you don’t like:

  1. Accept that you might need to be the adult. Don't give in to harmful behaviors, like defensiveness, ignoring them, excluding them from a meeting, or sending a passive-aggressive email.

  2. Identify behaviors that will serve you both. Perhaps remove yourself (politely) from unproductive conversations, confront them respectfully and privately to discuss the problem before it festers, or set clear boundaries around your time and expectations.

  3. Focus on what they bring to the table — not on the things that upset you about them. Assess what you can offer them that will alter the dynamic between you two. This could be an introduction to others in the organization or help developing a skill.

You may not feel like doing these things, especially if the person rubs you the wrong way, but the investment may be worth it. The most successful people find healthy ways to work with personalities they wouldn’t otherwise choose to have in their life.