Deal with Annoying Colleague in 1 Day

Let’s admit it – we’ve all been there. If you work with people, and you almost can not not work with people, chances are there has been someone getting you frustrated.

The feeling is horrible – it is not enough that you are in between your managers and your clients, but now this too! For better or worse, nowhere in the Labour law or your contract does it say that whoever annoys people will be fired or punished. So naturally, you are a little confused about your options: should you go in direct confrontation; talk to your boss or somehow find a way to vote this person out of the company. Luckily, there is a way to deal with annoying colleagues and if you follow the instructions, it will only take you a day to shift your mindset.

Based on my personal experience, as well as many conversations with friends and clients, I can confidently separate all annoying colleagues in the world into two distinct groups:


Group 1: Work-related annoying

These are the people who annoy you by directly affecting your work process. They are avoiding work whenever they can; constantly complain; always note what is their job and what is not (and it is usually not). They are ready to suck up to the managers at all times and will steal any good idea they can in a blink of an eye.


Group 2: Habit-related annoying

They crack their fingers; tap on the desk; listen to loud music on their headphones; have a squeaky or loud voice and it seems like they are doing it all just to annoy you.

It is difficult to say which group is worse – for Group 1, there are a bit more formal options; but Group 2 at least doesn’t affect your career development.


How to deal with those groups

In order to deal with this little hell on earth, you need to develop and then put into action a very powerful mind tool – focus. To increase your focus means to improve your ability to direct your attention and dismiss interruptions. Great ways to enhance your focus are:

  • Yoga. By flexing your body in all unusual ways and focusing on nothing but your breath and your pose, you develop the quality of staying in the present and excluding external irritants. You also learn to be kind and patient with yourself, which is easily projected onto others.
  • Meditation. There is more to meditation than just breathing in and out. A great metaphor is used in meditation when you fail to stay calm and have many thoughts running through your head: you are a mountain and your thoughts are clouds. You can let them be – come and go – and still be peaceful and focused on what you want to be focused on.

Now, after you have enhanced your focus capabilities, the first thing to use them for is how you see your colleague. Right now your conscious is fixated on your colleague being stupid, lazy, improvident, slow and all other adjectives you use to describe why she is annoying you. Instead, try to see your colleague in another way – the person, who is raised to believe they have no good ideas of their own and the only way to grow is to steal yours. The person, who is forced to work a job they hate, because they need the money. The person with so low emotional intelligence, that they will probably never be happy. The person, avoided by everyone, who feels like a loser. Regardless of which annoying group your colleague is in, they are also that person. And they only deserve one emotion from you – pity. You should pity them, for they don’t know how to be as successful, friendly, happy as you are. And there is a good chance they will never learn. You should pity them, because you will move on with your life, with your career, but they will always be that – an annoying colleague to someone.


How shifting your feelings towards them to pity will change things

When you qualified a person, or anything else for that matter, as annoying, your mind automatically focuses on eliminating that factor. So if your loud colleague is on the phone again, you need to get up your desk and go somewhere else, because if you don’t, all you would do is sit there listening to her. By focusing on eliminating the annoying factor, you choose to focus on the annoying factor and now it’s all you can think about. It is like that with everything – if you focus on “I shouldn’t eat”, you want to eat. If you focus on “I shouldn’t smoke”, you want to smoke. If you focus on “I have to avoid my annoying colleague”, you only think about your annoying colleague. It is physiology – your mind seeks her loud voice out in order to eliminate it, so you can not not hear it. Ever. Same thing with her complaining – you can not not hear it.

By shifting your feelings to pity, your mind will put your annoying colleague and her habits in the “It doesn’t directly affect you” folder. So when you pity someone, you may go out of your way to help, or you may not. In any case, your mind won’t seek this out, because it is not as important as something annoying. So you will slowly stop noticing everything your colleague does.

This is as far as internal work goes. After you have done this, it will be easier for you to apply the following actions.

Actions to take

Group 1 “Work-related annoying”: Validate her.

Obviously this person feels like they can not do their job as well as you. Giving her a compliment or trying to help her with her work may not change who she is, but it will change how she works, and especially how she works with you. It may sounds hypocritical, but it helps you, her and the business.

Group 2 “Habit-related annoying” : Grab the bull by the horns… or make the bull a kitten 

I don’t mean that in an aggressive way. But if you think about it, aggression is actually born when you’ve tried to keep it quiet for so long. So don’t. If there is something consistently annoying that can be changed – like she can take personal calls outside the office, or speak more quite – tell her. In a nice way, use ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and tell her.

However, you can not ask someone to stop cracking their fingers and sometimes finger-crackers create a horrible noise. Yuk! Here is where you make the bull a kitten. In one of Tony Robbin’s earlier seminars, held in a building near train station, an unusual problem occurred. People were extremely annoyed and distracted every time a train passed by, because for a few seconds, they couldn’t hear anything. Tony had to shut up and the whole room had to wait for the train to pass. Seeing how this affects people, Tony suggested that every time they hear a train (which happened about every hour), everybody in the room get up and start clapping. By the time the talk was over, people couldn’t wait for a train to pass. It created such a positive emotion, and now, that it was associated with a positive emotion, they looked forward to it. So every time your colleague cracks her fingers, smile. Or play a favorite song. Or play a level of Candy Crush. I guarantee it will take less of your time and efficiency than if you roll your eyes and keep it inside.


So there you have it. Wake up, do 15 min of yoga and 5 min of meditation. On your way to work, consider how much you pity that poor person, for being so miserable and with such low self-esteem. At work, pay her a compliment and offer to help. Ask her to speak a bit more quiet and create a positive association. By the end of the day, your annoying colleague will be forgotten. Which will give you more time and energy to read other useful articles here or on my personal blog .

Maya Sayvanova

I help women find happy relationships while having amazing careers. For more information go to