Man screaming into a phone

The real reason you’re frustrated at your coworker

Coworker dramaSelf Responsibility

Do you have that one colleague who just rubs you the wrong way? Every time that person speaks – you clench your jaw and your shoulders tense up. Or whenever you have to work with them, you grit your teeth through it because you just can’t stand to be around them.

What if I told you the problem wasn’t your colleague.

Before you stop reading, hear me out and answer this question – Is the way you’re thinking about your colleague right now helping you out, or causing you more frustration?

If it’s frustration – then believing that the problem you have is that colleague is not going to help you at all. Because as soon as it’s that colleague’s fault, you’ve given any chance you have of controlling the situation away. Because no matter how hard you try, you cannot control how your colleague will show up. What they’ll say. What they’ll do or not do. Giving that colleague all the power by believing they are the problem is a sure way to keep yourself suffering – feeling frustrated, angry, and like you may boil over if you have to work with them again.

Regardless of how true it may seem to believe that the problem is your colleague – this is NOT going to solve your problem. It’s only going to make it worse.

Here’s the truth of it.

Your colleague is doing exactly what that colleague is supposed to do.

I am not saying what you would consider right or wrong – I am saying what that colleague is meant to do. How do I know this is true? Well, because it’s what your colleague is doing. And yet, here you are, with your brain trying to fight this reality by thinking this colleague should be acting differently – it’s like you have this rule book for what a colleague is supposed to do – and this colleague isn’t following it, so you’re pissed. But that rule book – it isn’t universal. It’s something your brain came up with. And sure, it may be based on societal norms and expectations, and it may even be based on company policy, but that still doesn’t make it your colleague’s fault that you are frustrated with them.

The reason you are frustrated isn’t your colleague. And your colleague him/herself isn’t the problem. It’s how you’re thinking about them. You are trying to argue with who this person is – instead of just accepting how they are.

Accepting doesn’t mean condoning their behavior.

But it does mean knowing that this is who that person is. The real reason you are frustrated is because you think this person should be different.

If you want relief from this colleague – the last think to do is blame the colleague for how your feeling. Instead, you need to adjust how you’re thinking about it. Instead of blaming this person, ask yourself what you’re thinking about how this person is showing up. Realize it’s those thoughts – which are likely laced with some “shoulds” or “shouldnts” – that are the real pain. Instead of judging this person for not being who you want them to be, accept that they are who they are – and you can’t change that. But you can change it from affecting you so much. You can decide to disagree with this colleague, and not let them control how your day goes.

You can decide to expect that this colleague won’t meet your rule book for how a colleague should behave, and plan accordingly. What this will do is show you where you’re true power and ability to influence lies. It’s not with controlling how that person shows up., It’s with how you show up, even with that colleague being exactly who they are.

Instead of asking, why does this person behave like they do? Ask yourself, Who do I want to be, for me, when I’m around this person? How can I show up to support me, knowing that this person is going to act the way that they always act?

This is where your power lies.

And this is where the freedom comes. Because you no longer have to give your colleague the power to frustrate you – because you are owning how you are thinking about the situation. You are taking the problem into your own hands. And you are influencing your own feelings about the situation – instead of assigning that power over to your colleague.