The office can be a tricky place to navigate, there’s a reason there’s a whole show centred around toxic co-worker behaviour after all. The thing is, just because Bob the new guy chews his gum so loudly you really want to smoosh his face it doesn’t mean you should. But it does mean that you can address the issue in the right way.

Because at Pedestrian TV we are all perfect and would never annoy each other ever (probably) and therefore have never had to utilise our diplomatic skills, we reached out to person with actual knowledge, Tina Monk, Professional Coach over at Sydney Career Coaching to help you be more profesh and adult well.

The Noisemaker

You know the one who just seems to be loud no matter what they do? Like, this person could just sit down at their desk and still manage to inexplicably make so much noise you’d think a football team just came into the office and there goes your productivity. How should you deal with this noise offender?

In today’s open plan offices, there’s no getting away from it. The best solution is to talk to them about it; this is where your assertiveness skills come in.

All the good writing on assertiveness suggest that we use ‘I’ statements, which go something like this: When I hear loud noises, such as raised voices on the phone, I find it difficult to concentrate on my work and I’m wondering if you could lower your voice so that we have a quieter workplace. What do you think, can we work this out?

The Negative Nancy

Maybe it’s about work, maybe it’s about life in general, but it’s definitely always a serious downer and for some reason they think you’re just dying to hear all about it.

The “Negative Nancy” can bring down the morale of the whole team if you’re not careful. Surround yourself with upbeat people and repeat positive thoughts throughout the day to counteract the negative things you hear. And don’t hesitate to be direct. Tell a “Negative Nancy” that you choose to handle tough situations with a positive attitude. If they know you won’t be a sponge for their negativity, they may direct it elsewhere.

The Stickybeak

Even if it’s got nothing to do with the business, these people will know about it, and what’s more they’ll gossip to other people about it. They will straight up ask you incredibly nosey questions about your personal life, and you just know they won’t keep it to themselves, so how do you diplomatically tell them to mind their own business?

When asked questions such as ‘how old are you?’, ‘do you have a girlfriend?’ and you don’t want to answer;  asking why they want to know can help. That way you can decide if it’s a good enough reason for you to tell them. And if you don’t want to, just politely tell them that answering that question would make you feel uncomfortable. Tell them you don’t really like answering personal questions at work. You’re not making it personal, it’s not about them, it’s just a rule you have.

The Ghoster

You need an answer and they will just not give you a response. Every. Damn. Time. Even though you’re busy, thus prompting you to email in the first place, it may be time to get off your keister.

When you’re getting no response, it’s time to pay a visit to the ghoster — in person (not by email). Calmly explain your need for the information and the importance of the time frame. But keep an open mind and remain friendly. There may be many reasons why he/she isn’t responding: They could be overworked or they may not see your request as a priority assignment. If there’s still no resolution, go up the ladder to the person’s supervisor.

The Know-It-All

You never asked for their opinion, they’re not even working on the project, but they’re sure as hell going to let you know exactly how you’re doing it all wrong anyway. You know you’re right, but you still might want to take a deep breath before you tell them off.

Sometimes the ‘know it all’ really does know a thing or two and may be excited to share something they’ve just learnt so give them a bit of leeway. If the person is a superior, you may just have to suck it up. Getting into a slanging match or being sarcastic isn’t going to help you. The best way to deal with this person is to ignore them and get on with your work and realise that often this show of knowledge covers up a feeling of inferiority when they really don’t know it all. So, have a bit of compassion.

when everyone has an opinion

The BFF

There is nothing better then making a solid workmate. There is nothing more awkward then someone trying to be your new best friend when you actually just don’t really click and they are trying to push after-hours pub hangs on you. Time to set the boundaries kids.

These people are often very needy and it is hard to deal with someone like this as they don’t have healthy boundaries. You need to be the one who sets the boundaries and lets them know what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour in the workplace. Decide where your limits are and let them know this. If you are OK to go out for lunch, say once a month, tell them that and if you don’t want to have any outside work contact at all, tell them that it is your policy to keep work and social life separate.

The Credit Stealer

You and this person are both fully aware that you did all the work on this project, or at least had the best suggestions, but that won’t stop them from straight-up taking credit for your efforts when it goes well. There is no greater time to want to scream about the injustice, but beware of looking petty.

This is common in the workplace and a good way to deal with it is to ask the credit stealer some pertinent questions. You can say, for example, “I noticed that in the presentation you said “I” rather than “we” and I was just wondering why that was when we both worked on the project.”

You are letting the person know that you noticed what they were doing and giving them a chance to explain. You can also be more direct and use your assertive ‘I’ statements here again.