• Franz Saint-Fleur

How To Get Along With Coworkers

If you encountered social drama back in high school, you likely hoped that the relationships in your post-grad workplace would be smoother sailing. Unfortunately, most of us find that the drama doesn't ever truly go away. The silver lining here? You can navigate your workplace with an eye for these classic types of people, and I'll give you a simple rundown on how to make the best of it.

Let’s break down the different archetypes you’ll probably encounter in your career life.

  • The Clique Leader

  • The Class Clown

  • The Boss’s Pet

  • The Snitch

  • The Follower

  • The Loner

  • The Bully

  • That One Mothafucka You Just Hate

The Clique Leader

This person is typically a big gossiper. In everyone’s business at all possible times, they love talking about others in the office and need an audience to listen to them. Their clique will add fuel to the fire by providing intel on who’s dating whom, who’s in the doghouse at work (or home), etcetera.

They’ll ask seemingly innocuous questions, like “How was your weekend?” and pick through your responses like a pack of hyenas fighting over a carcass. For example, if you tell them you attended a friend’s wedding, they might begin to gossip about how you’re still single and how sad it is that you went to a wedding by yourself. Or maybe that you’re in a bad relationship and unlike your newly wedded friend, you won’t get married yourself.

The best way to deal with this person? Stay away from them. Limit giving any information about yourself to this group. Keep it polite, but relatively formal.

The Class Clown

They'll make the room laugh—providing some workplace levity—but sometimes, the humor comes at someone else's expense. We all love to laugh, but when we are the butt of the joke, it tends to lose its fun.

There are three ways to handle this person. The first? Laugh with them. Show them it doesn’t bother you. Realize that the class clown usually does the rounds of the office—if they’re poking fun at you now, it probably won’t be long until they move onto the next hapless victim and you’re off the hook.

The second? Set some boundaries. If this person makes fun of a truly sensitive topic, afterward, pull them aside and have a polite—but firm—conversation with them about it. This chat should be short and to the point; stand your ground. Set your boundaries about what's important to you. We'll discuss setting limits later in the article. If they continue to push your buttons, there’s a third option, which I’ll detail in our section about the office bully.

The Snitch and/or Boss’s Pet

They might be separate people, or they might be one and the same. They can be infuriating, untrustworthy, and bad for overall office morale. They'll always tell the boss when a coworker is late. They like to take credit where they can for other people's work. They'll take every opportunity to tell you how to do your job. You might want to punch them in the face—but of course, they'd snitch.

So, how to deal with them?

Realize that this person believes they are the manager—or an extension of the manager. Like a company boss, they will make their rounds, going around and checking on the workplace. Memorize his or her route. Once you know their routine, you can plan to work by the book—by their book. Do everything right. If you're already working by the book, you should have no worries, but you can go the extra step of keeping your conversations work-related. It won't hurt to go a bit overboard with your level of professionalism. Speak and act extremely PC (politically correct.) While they might recognize that you're putting on an act, they certain won't have anything to complain to the boss about. What would they say? "Boss, John/Jane is working and speaking very appropriately." That's not a bad thing.

The Loner

The loner is easy to handle—just be nice. They probably crave positive recognition, so give this person compliments. Be friendly with this person. Offer to help them out when you can. Ask about their interests and hobbies, and truly listen.

This person is probably a loner because they’re shy, and hoping someone might talk to them. It’s no skin off your back here to be nice to them—plus it’s always the right choice to be a good person. And, on the off chance they happen to be a loner because, in fact, they’re a nutcase, if they snap they’ll come after everyone but you—because you were nice. ;)

The Follower

Handle them much like you would the loner. They're used to begging for scraps of attention from the clique leader and will respond positively to your friendliness.

The Bully

The bully requires their own article. Read on…

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