Know-it-alls to gossip mongers: How to handle 7 co-workers from hell

  • Abhinav Verma, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2015 18:03 IST

Positive interactions with your co-workers are founded on considerations as basic as respecting their personal space and understanding ranks. But we all know co-workers who simply don't get that.

1The know-it-alls: These people are undoubtedly the most knowledgeable beings in your workplace, even if they have acquired the haloed status by being around longer than anyone. They stop at nothing to tell you exactly how right they are/were/will be on any topic. They also love the hogging the limelight while they are sharing their gyan.

How to handle them: Always get your facts right, don’t give them any opportunity to ridicule you. And if you know you are right, and everyone else does too, just nod and smile when they try to put you down. Give them the ego satisfaction they crave, just like giving candy to a hungry kid.

2 The Sloth: Also known as the space invaders, their skill lies in slowly invading your personal space and sneaking into your routine. You’re a sincere, diligent worker and then like thunder on a sunny day, they burst into your space, make themselves at home and start chatting you up. And the next thing you know is that the whole day is over.

How to handle them: Remember, offense is the best defence. Whenever you see them approaching you, place your bag, your lunch, your jacket on your desk. Park everything on your desk so there is no space for them to conquer, because once they do, then like a sloth they never leave.

3 The Frank Underwood of the office: Meet the slimy, conniving office bullies. They are shameless abusers of power. The office bullies have some kind of authority and they use it like a toy. They turn their real lives into a TV show and get their quick fix from belittling their fellow co-workers.

How to Handle them: They got that look as if they are going to devour you like a chicken, But don’t be afraid , deep inside they have fragile egos, so just stand up to them. Use your wit to hit back smartly at their comments without making personal remarks.

4 The gossip mongers: Information is the name of their game. They know everything about everything. In fact, they even know you better than you do yourselves. Their mission is to share and spread gossip. You may have not asked for it but you still will get to know. They are like a sly fox that takes the form of whatever situation they are in.

How to handle them: Run, run, run. Stay away from the gossip mongers. If you are stuck with them in a social setting and they are trying to forcibly feed you their latest catch, pretend you have to take an important call and simply get out of the place.

5 The blabbermouth: The world is a stage for them. When they open their mouths, the world stands still and listens to them up. Things you don’t want to know, things which are better kept locked up is what you’ll hear from them. The world is like a reality show for them. They don’t care if it’s super embarrassing.

How to handle them: While tackling them, just call a spade a spade. Take them aside and be brutally honest in telling them that they are a public embarrassment to themselves and everyone. You might come across as the villain, but you gotta do this for your the team.

6 The Lady Gaga of the office: They walk into the office in slow motion, pretending as if all eyes are on them. Their vanity knows no bounds — every conversation is about them, every selfie has to happen with them pouting like glamourized ducks. They believe they are the centre of universe, and they won’t let you disagree.

How to handle them: Don’t give into their antics. Never ever go along with them if they insist on that bathroom selfie with you. If they crack a joke, try not to laugh at it, because you would be encouraging them. Don’t give them the high they crave.

7 The closet hulk: They come across as cultured as Mr Darcy. But once they get angry, they won’t shout at you. Instead, you will get a long e-mail rant. When behind the laptop, they are extremely powerful and mean. Their bigotry is exasperating. Their motto is whine and crib, help never!!

How to tackle them: They are wimps masquerading as the hulk. Approach them directly. Ask them why are they targeting you, what is the goal of their rudeness towards you? Once you do this, see them quickly morph into a coward.

(Inputs by psychologist Pulkit Sharma and psychologist Jai Madan)

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