Sometimes, you’ll encounter workmates who really irk you. They may be those who always submit work late, never reply to important messages, or even those who eat super loud at their desk. Either way, these habits are annoying and can affect the way you and the rest of the office works.

On even rarer occasions, things can escalate to the point that you really feel like you’ll explode if you don’t let them know what they’re doing wrong. And so comes time for the dreaded confrontation. If you have apprehensions on how to confront your officemate, here’s what you need to do:

Prepare for what you’ll say

How to Confront People in the Office

This is one of those things where you actually have to prepare for what you’re going to say. Sit down and list your main points, reasons, and solutions. Also prepare for what your colleague might say in response to you. The workplace is already confusing and messy without all the conflict, so it’s best to be organized when you confront your colleague. This will cut down time and make things crystal clear between the both of you.

Decide if you want to do it in person

Some things may be better said in person, while others can be done better through chat or call. It’s really up to you and how you feel a certain method will reach your colleague. If you think that the person you’re confronting would appreciate a call or text more, then that would be a good way to go. If you feel that the matter is an “in-person” kind of thing, set a time and date to sit down with your colleague. Make sure to choose an appropriate setting too (coffee shop, office area, etc.).

Find the right time

Having a serious conversation in the middle of a busy workweek might not be the best idea. This is because stress and distraction can make easily make way for irritations and frustration to jump out, squashing any chance at real conflict resolution. On the other hand, bothering someone during their peaceful weekend can also be cause for annoyance. Try to find the right time to talk to your colleague; a good time would be one where you’re both not busy with work or personal matters.

Be straightforward but kind

Don’t beat around the bush — just say it! And say it nicely. In work, it’s best to be clear and concise when you communicate with each other. Yelling, being aggressive, passive-aggressive, or anything but straightforward and kind may put out the wrong message to your colleague and can further deteriorate your relationship with them. Remember that it isn’t personal, it’s just work, and that you’re just reaching out so you can improve efficiency, relations, and/or output at the workplace.

Listen as much as you talk

The last and most important tip for confronting a colleague is to listen. Nobody wants to hear someone else tell them how unbearable or difficult to work with they are — it’s a conversation, not a lecture. It is almost certain that your colleague may also have some gripes with you, so make sure you listen to them and listen to them well. Criticism, when given properly, can only help you grow and work better with others. So talk with each other and work it out!

Art Daniella Sison


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