Any Tips for Dealing With People You Can’t Stand?

A friend writes:

In my job, I have to deal with a few people I really can’t stand. Most of my co-workers are fine, and they are good at their jobs. The people I can’t stand aren’t good at their jobs but they are good at ingratiating themselves with the top bosses. When I say I “can’t stand” them, I should explain that this feeling started out professionally. I got frustrated at how lazy and sloppy and stupid they are in their work. But then my feelings snowballed and now I can’t stand them personally either. But it’s not that big of a company and I have to deal with all of them all the time, especially in meetings. I would love to hit them in the faces with frying pans but I don’t think that is a good idea. Any useful and hopefully peaceful suggestions?

This note caught my attention because we have just begun working on a podcast about spite. I am eager to hear your suggestions.

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  1. Mike says:

    This is sort of like having lousy in-laws in that you just have to deal with it.
    I would find a coworker who shares your disdain and complain/commiserate with them. Keep your complaining confined to just this person and maybe limit it to specific times. If you can’t contain your disdain it will poison your entire work experience and if you bring it home you risk driving your friends and family crazy with your negativity.
    Finally, try to remember the pain of dealing with imbeciles is temporary.

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    • Bryan says:

      I beg to differ; under no circumstances should you ever share your feelings with another coworker. I can assure you, with a very high degree of certainty, whatever you confess to a coworker will be used against you. Period. I do not suggest that you merely “grin and bear it”. Do tell someone; perhaps a close friend who does not, nor ever plans to, work with you. Or in the same industry, for that matter.

      You do need to look on the bright side. No one is worthless; every body does have worth http://www.supportisp.org/How_much_am_I_worth.htm.

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  2. Myles Mayne says:

    The more we find to dislike in people the easier it becomes to dislike them and to justify our dislike of them. Not surprisingly these people will themselves be aware of your feelings towards them. The way the two of you act or respond to each other is likely to make the situation worse and in this you both unconsciously collude in adding fuel to the fires of dislike.

    The solution may be long in coming. It however stands no chance of materialising unless at least one person accepts that this is an unhealthy state of affairs and seeks to understand what is going on. Curiosity serves well to start looking at the situation and then understanding the obvious fact that it is easier to change yourself than it will ever be to change someone else.

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  3. Shar says:

    We must be kind publicly to those who deserve the frying pan because anyone who is an expert to sucking up to the boss is probably also an expert at highlighting the faults of others. Treat their laziness and sloppiness as a vehicle to have your ideas included where they dropped the ball. “We might want to address” and “We may want to add” would be appropriate ways to diplomatically fill in the holes in their work without seeming snarky. I can’t stand laziness myself so I am completely sympathetic. I wish you the best of luck. Vigorous exercise several times a week might be helpful in letting go of your stress, too.

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  4. Jeff Dalton says:

    I can completely empathize with your friends feelings. I believe we all have people in our lives that we have irrational feelings towards. Right now I have this with a person that on the surface would be considered a super great person. But, because this person has a very strict idology that differs from mine I can’t stand to be in the same room as this person.

    So what I have started doing is thinking one good thought about the person everytime I see them. If in a meeting with them I think of one good thought about every 15 minutes. I try to vary the good thought so I really put some effort into coming up with something.

    I do not recommend this for everyone, but so far for me it has helped a lot.

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  5. Marie says:

    Usually our feelings of frustration with other people are ‘shadows’ of our self. The things that bother us about others are the qualities/traits that we also have but try our best to suppress. All of these qualities together make up our ‘shadow.’ For you, you strive to be productive and do your job well…to avoid being lazy or doing sloppy work. But your shadow may be your inner voice that wants to not always put forth your best effort. We usually see these qualities in others more obviously because they are reflections of our shadows.
    If we can recognize this, we can use it to our advantage. Knowing this is a personal response to someone’s behavior that is spurred by our own desires/actions allows us to channel the energy or our emotion differently. Instead of getting annoyed with the coworker, we can discover their strengths and help them bring those out. When someone is doing work they feel they can excel at, they perform better and are more pleasing to be around. This would also demonstrate your leadership skills. Channeling negative perceptions into positive ones will allow you to feel less stressed about the situation or person and help the other person gain opportunities to prove they are not lazy/sloppy. See where you can help this person grow instead of avoiding them because of their poorer qualities. Discover your shadow.

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  6. SM says:

    Develop a sense if humor and laugh at them internally.

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    • nobody.really says:

      But whatever you decide to do, do NOT give in to the temptation to hit them in the face with frying pans. You can scratch the non-stick surface, which will then start to flake off over time.

      Please learn from my experience. Look for more durable household items.

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  7. Rami says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  8. Dan S. says:

    From the Jesuits:

    A New Serenity Prayer
    by Jim Manney

    The basis of all true religion is believing that “There is a God and I’m not him.” That’s the spirit of this updating of the Serenity Prayer by Jim Martin, SJ.

    God, grant me the serenity
    to accept the people I cannot change,
    which is pretty much everyone,
    since I’m clearly not you, God.
    At least not the last time I checked.

    And while you’re at it, God,
    please give me the courage
    to change what I need to change about myself,
    which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
    I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
    It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
    than to worry about changing other people,
    who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
    I can’t change anyway.

    Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
    whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
    than everyone else in the room,
    that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
    or that I alone have all the answers.

    Basically, God,
    grant me the wisdom
    to remember that I’m
    not you.

    Amen

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