Last Updated on April 8, 2016
It has been said that people who go to the office every day spend far more time with their colleagues than with their families. If this is true, then conflict is bound to happen. Families don’t get along at all times, and neither do co-workers. But while slamming the door or doing the silent treatment works at home, these tactics are unprofessional and obnoxious, even if you’re dealing with a co-worker whose attitude leaves a lot to be desired.
One prevalent office problem is dealing with haters or trolls. These are people that no matter what you do or how well you do your work, they can still find something to complain about. “Haters gonna hate.” Often, these haters are the people who are jealous of you. They’re jealous of your success, how you carry yourself, even the things you own. But they deny their jealousy and strike back by spreading negative things about you. And even if you’re the most professional person in your company or you have thick skin, sometimes, haters hit you where it hurts the most like dragging your family to their bitter world.
If you’re dealing with office haters, here are six tips on how to effectively deal with the office’s version of the “mean girls.”
Ignore the haters.
This is easier said than done, but it truly is a tried and tested way to handle haters. Don’t waste your time giving these bitter people what they crave for, which is to see you crumbling down from their negativity. If you obsess about each comment or gossip, you may feel that there’s truth in all the detrimental things they say. Don’t twist yourself up just because someone in the office hates your guts. As long as you do your job well, you don’t walk over people, steal ideas or take credit that isn’t yours, then you’re fine. Don’t let the haters’ negativity ruin your day.
Take their “feedback” with a grain of salt.
There will be moments when you may have difficulty differentiating constructive criticism from a snarky attack disguised as a critique. Sometimes there can be a shade of truth in their feedback. If this is the situation, make a note of what haters have to say but don’t take their “feedback” to heart. If you believe you’ll be able to improve your work because of their critique, then good for you. Just try not to carry the emotional baggage attached to their comment.
Don’t wreak vengeance.
This isn’t high school. Retaliation will just compound the problem. What haters love to do is to provoke you to retaliate or at least talk back. They’re hankering for a reaction, otherwise they wouldn’t feel that they’ve done what they do best – hate. If you strike back, you’re giving the trolls what they desire. It can be tempting, but don’t waste your witty comebacks to shut them up. Since people around you know what’s going on, in reality, it’s their reputations that are being ruined, not yours. Besides, haters normally manage to humiliate themselves with no help from others. Reacting with unpleasant remarks will just bring you down to their level.
Don’t be intimidated.
Even if you’re dealing with a hater that’s unfortunately your boss, don’t let your superior intimidate you. Don’t be bullied to the point that you feel you need to apologize or justify your actions all the time. Even if the hater confronts you with a loud voice, big gestures and crude words, asking for you to explain yourself, don’t succumb to the pressure. Instead, calmly tell the hater that if s/he wants an explanation from you, s/he better approach you the right way. Superior or not, never let another person disrespect you.
You can’t please everybody so stop trying.
Haters will hate you whatever you do. Even if you’re the kindest person in the office, they still have something to say about you. Never appease trolls by trying to fit in to their bitter world. It won’t matter. You can’t please everybody and that’s okay. The quicker you accept that fact, the easier it is for you to calmly breathe at work. You don’t need everybody’s approval anyway.
Seek legal help.
If the hating comes to a point that it turns physical or violent threats are involved, then the passive-aggressive strategy wouldn’t fly anymore. In this case, asking help from the company’s Human Resource department is the right thing to do. As much as you can, don’t retaliate. Instead, make a note about the situation – what triggers it, where it happens, are there any other people involved, and so on. This way, when the situation gets out of hand, you’ll have records of the attack.
Some say haters are the way they are because, deep inside, they’re insecure or broken. Regardless if there is any truth to that or not, show compassion. Be the better person. But know when to draw the line also. So how do you put haters in their proper place? By making sure that though they exist in your life, they don’t live there.