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How to work with people you don’t like.

5 tips to flip your perspective and improve the relationship

The first and most important step in working effectively with everyone is a mindset shift – a shift to apatheia.

Apatheia, not to be confused with apathy, is a state of being where you care appropriately about what is going on around you but are not disproportionately impacted or affected by these external events. Here’s how to use it to your advantage at work.

Perhaps the first and most important thing is to recognize that your dislike of another person boils down to the feelings you have towards them. This is a result of what you know about them as well as your experiences with them at work. Looking at it in this cold, factual way is an important step in moving toward that aforementioned sweet spot. After all, they are just a bundle of characteristics and behaviors, just like you.

Their different views on significant subjects like politics or religion can, and often do, impact how you view them. That’s just human nature, and it’s a tough thing to eliminate. However, you can manage your reactions to it.

Here are 5 tips for working in peace:

Consider these tactics for working with colleagues you don’t like:

  1. Respect that their worldview was built from experience – It is no less valid than yours. Don’t make fun of or disrespect their worldview, and they will be less likely to disrespect yours. But if they do, see Tip 5.
  2. Mind your ego – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if only they would respect you more, things would be different.  Be the better person and go first. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
  3. Filter out non-work discussion – Recognize that at work, your views (or theirs) are likely not a necessary part of the daily discourse. Focus on the work.
  4. See every interaction as a new event – Try to see things through an objective lens and focus on what is relevant to the situation.
  5. Ignore more – If someone says something that you find offensive or distasteful, do your best to simply ignore it. Remember apatheia: What goes on out there does not need to affect what goes on in here.