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And not quit your job

Emerson King | Fulcrum Staff

Illustration by Brennan Bova

“I LOVE MY job. I love my job.” You silently repeat this phrase ad nauseum. The urge to rip out your hair gets stronger with every passing second. Why? Well, because you’re at work, and while you may not hate your job, you certainly don’t love it. More specifically, you don’t love your co-workers. Not all, of course, just a few who seem to get under your skin faster than you can say, “It’s only a part-time job.” Never fear, because the Fulcrum is here serving you up with some handy tips and tricks on how to deal with the world’s most annoying co-workers.

Run away

Fleeing is an excellent way to deal with annoying colleagues. Let’s face it, one of the best (if not long-term) ways to deal with a problem is to run away from it. So, whenever you hear or see this fellow employee approaching, get away as fast as you can. Yes, it might be mentally exhausting to have an escape route planned for every room in the office, but it’ll be well worth it when you don’t have to deal with their annoying presence.

Ignore them

Okay, so you didn’t get away—this time. That’s alright, just remember to breathe. You can get through this. Your next best option is to ignore them, but don’t be rude about it. Find a pair of headphones—you don’t even need an iPod—close your eyes and start feeling the imaginary tunes. Don’t have any headphones? Just find some interesting reading material and pretend to be engrossed in it. Acting busy by doing actual work is another surefire way to not be bothered.

Agree with everything they say

If you’re at this stage, your plan didn’t work and, oh no, the co-worker you simply can’t stand is talking to you! Mentally you’re banging your head against a desk and counting down the seconds until this interaction is over. A quick word of advice: don’t engage in discussion. Just nod, smile, and pretend like you agree with everything they say—even if you don’t. After a while your co-worker will leave to badger someone else, but not before they’re left thinking you’re the worst conversationalist ever. Mission accomplished.

Be blunt

Okay, so they just won’t leave you alone. By now, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy. You’ve got to be blunt. Say you’re busy or have something to do, point blank. They’ll leave and find some other poor soul to annoy—you hope.

Be inappropriate

When all else fails: let’s talk about sex, baby! And don’t just leave it at sex, talk about everything and anything that was barred from your dinner table growing up. I mean it. Nothing makes a person run for the hills like uncomfortable topics. Rip a page out of Dear Di’s book and ask for your coworker’s advice on the subject. Just make sure you don’t burst out laughing, otherwise they’ll be in on the joke. Be serious and they’ll get moving.