In this weeks Ask Lucy segment the question comes from Miranda.
“I consider myself a fairly outgoing person. I enjoy people and working in customer service. Spreading kindness is what I do. Unfortunately, I have an employee in the workplace that is more of a naysayer and loves to spread gossip and negativity. How do you handle someone who tends to suck the life out of your day?
I love this kind of question because it’s a common problem in the workplace. It’s a topic that always comes up no matter where you work at. There is always that one person that tries to steal the joy out of the air.
They are similar to a real life thief. The good news is that they may think they have control over you, but in reality they do not.
Of course it can be hard to handle the initial shock of their behavior. Especially when you end up being on the receiving end. Once in a while you may find out a persons true colors when they gossip to others about other employees.
It’s always a good idea to check your back. On occasion you will find the occasional knife stuck in your there.
These negative souls are unhappy about something in their life. Their attacks on people are a direct result of their insecurities and unhappiness.
So how do you handle someone like that?
Are you more likely to still treat them with kindness? There really is no right or wrong here. It’s pretty much based on personal preference.
I prefer to continue to be myself and keep things professional. I even continue to give the occasional compliment as well. It doesn’t make sense for me to change the way I treat people.
If I did then I would be lowering my standards. Maybe that person has more issues than meets the eye. People that are undergoing setbacks or struggles may act out in a mean way towards others.
You could continue working with this person and simply ignore their negative outbursts. The negative hold that they have over you only works if you allow it.
How can it be that simple?
It’s true with anything that gives you grief. I’m not saying that it should never upset you because you are only human. However, things can get better.
Ever hear the saying “kill them with kindness?”
Guess what? It works! I have had interactions with people who can seem like they won’t budge. Eventually though they do.
It may be right there and then or in the future. Sometimes you may think to yourself that it is pointless to continue being kind. I have witnessed people at their worst and they still come out of the dark side.
It can be part of what they have grown accustomed to. The reasons are endless and you may never know what triggers that co-worker to behave in a rude way.
What do you do to fix the problem?
You continue being you. Be nice and professional. You don’t have to become the best of friends if you choose not to.
The other person will have a choice. They can continue trying to make others feel miserable or they can turn a new leaf.
Stop giving it a second thought and attention. People that are unhappy feed off of that. You turn up their power over you when you react.
Turn the tables on them. They will honestly wonder why in the world you are not phased by their behavior. In the meantime you will continue to smile and feel pretty darn good about yourself.
Years ago I worked with a gentleman that wasn’t very friendly at all. Even though this was his demeanor I still said hello to him in passing. At one point I thought I was wasting my time since he wasn’t being cordial in return.
In my case I decided to stop saying hello to him. I would still smile, but chose to become silent. After about a week this person changed.
It took me by surprise when I started to be greeted with a hello. It was that simple. I would like to think that maybe it was a tough time for that guy.
Maybe he realized that I was a good person after all. It was never more than a hello, no small talk in between, but an acknowledgement of two professionals in the workplace.
That was enough for me. You see some stories do have a happy ending. In my opinion I would opt for the kindness route.
When you spread kindness you get to look at yourself in the mirror at night and say “well done.” It’s because you did the right thing that felt good for you. You didn’t give in to the drama and all of the extra nonsense.
Isn’t keeping the peace in the workplace for a happier you worth it?
Have you been pondering over a question that you aren’t sure about? Need advice on it? All submissions will be posted with your first name only unless otherwise indicated in your email. Submissions may be edited for clarity. If you would like to have your question featured on an upcoming “Ask Lucy” segment please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org