5 Types of Annoying Coworkers (and How to Cope with Them)

Difficult coworkers come in all shapes and sizes. Offenses can range from mildly annoying (like repeatedly stinking up the office by heating fishy leftovers in the microwave) to downright deplorable (such as taking credit for a teammate’s work).

Regardless of how irritating you find certain colleagues, your ability to collaborate cordially with a wide variety of personality types is critical to your career. Read on to meet some of the workplace’s most common annoying coworkers, along with tips on how to deal with them.

5 types of annoying coworkers, dealing with coworkers

annoying coworkers, coworkers who gossipThe Gossip Hound

To this rabid rumormonger, the water cooler isn’t just a place to hydrate, it’s a second home. Frequently found speaking in hushed tones, the Gossip Hound is constantly digging for information and speculating about everything and everyone.

How to cope

Keep your guard up, your ears open and your lips tight. While the notorious busybody may offer accurate or relevant organizational information on occasion, don’t allow yourself to get pulled into the person’s mean-spirited mudslinging sessions. If a seemingly innocent chat goes from productive to personal, quickly bow out of the conversation. (“Oh, look at the time, I have to finish up that file by noon.”)

annoying coworkers, coworkers who take creditThe Credit Thief

There’s definitely an I in team if you ask this self-serving spotlight stealer. The Credit Thief consistently tries to claim full credit for group successes but takes none of the responsibility when things go awry. Plus, he’s never heard a bright idea he wouldn’t try to pass off as his own to the boss.

How to cope

Help protect yourself from this person by keeping a written record of your contributions and accomplishments. Consider presenting your best ideas publicly, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions about who did what when necessary.

annoying coworkers, naysayers, coworkers who shoot you downThe Naysayer

This Negative Nelly delights in trying to shoot down good ideas. Even during supposed “blue sky” creative brainstorming sessions where all suggestions are to be contemplated with an open mind, this constant critic immediately rejects any proposal that challenges the status quo. Like her cousin, The Complainer, The Naysayer can find something wrong with just about anything.

How to cope

When dealing with the Naysayer, be aware of the agenda being pushed and be willing to stand up for your ideas. Innovative solutions often face resistance early on; be a strong but tactful advocate for your pitches.

annoying coworkers, kiss ups and brown nosersThe Kiss-Up

The haughty and hypercompetitive Kiss-Up shamelessly tries to stroke the ego of anyone in a position of power but shows little respect to designers at his level or below. Only an advocate for himself, he fiercely vies for the highest-profile projects and tries to pawn off routine assignments on others.

How to cope

It’s generally best to leave a Kiss-Up alone and let him compete with himself. But if you constantly have to clean up messes that are “beneath” him, it’s worth having a conversation with your manager. Be wary when this person displays a sudden shift in attitude toward you. You’re likely being buttered up for a favor, which won’t be returned.

annoying coworkers, coworkers who come into work sickThe Sniffler

The Sniffler comes to work and spreads germs when she should be home resting. She coughs and sneezes her way through the day, oblivious to the risk she poses to coworkers. The Sniffler believes she’s displaying dedication, when in reality her frustrated colleagues are grumbling about her lack of consideration and common sense.

How to cope

Keep your distance—and keep a stockpile of hand sanitizer. Also, do everyone else a favor by staying home when you’re under the weather. If you absolutely must work, ask your boss if you can telecommute.

Finally, examine your own behaviors from time to time. You may have habits that drive your teammates just as batty as theirs drive you. Being aware of how your actions affect others—and correcting them if necessary—will only improve the quality of your intereractions with colleagues.

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