We’ve all had that one coworker who was always causing problems, not doing their fair share of work, or constantly stirring up drama. It can feel like the key to success at work isn’t necessarily working hard or being dedicated, but dealing with a difficult coworker without losing your cool.

It’s likely that you have, or had, at least one coworker who would constantly send you job postings for positions they think would be a better fit – like a pet wash franchise operator (maybe that was just me). Maybe you also have the ghostly deadline-missing coworker who no one is even sure actually works there. Unfortunately, we all have to deal with trying individuals in our work lives at some point.

Here is some advice for when it comes to preventing difficult coworkers from spoiling your day:

  1. Focus on being in control of yourself.

You cannot force somebody else to have a specific attitude or make them act in a particular way. Consequently, don’t dwell on what is “wrong” with your coworker or how they need to change. Instead, focus on aspects you CAN control your reaction, your language, and most importantly, job performance. The only individual you can manage is yourself.

  1. Stay calm and collected.

Acquiring self-control involves learning how to keep your emotions in check. Don’t wait until you find yourself in the middle of a quarrel to learn anger management skills or de-stress techniques. Now is the time! Become wise by gathering knowledge and making it a habit to regularly practice stress relief methods.

  1. Stay away from gossip.

If you’re working with difficult coworkers, it’s best to keep those matters between the two of you. When people gossip about their coworkers problems, it rarely ever provides a resolution–if anything, it only makes the situation worse.

  1. Consider the situation.

Ask yourself if you truly need to take action before taking any further steps. If a difficult coworker is bothering you, can you simply change your habits to minimize your interactions with them? Can the problem be solved by talking it out openly and honestly? Or is it none of your business? Developing the habit of saving yourself unnecessary hassle will help make all areas of your life easier!

  1. Don’t forget the basics.

If you find that you have to talk to your coworker about these issues, stick to the basics:

  • It’s important to avoid using always or never statements. If you stick to specifically discussing your current complaint, you’ll have a more effective conversation.
  • Instead of using “you” statements that could make your coworker defensive, use “I.”
  • Realize that you might have misunderstood the situation, or that you may not have had all of the facts. Admit that you could be part of the issue.
  1. Make sure to talk with people face-to-face instead of through devices or screens.

Don’t avoid conflict by hiding behind email. Not only does it show cowardice, but words on a screen are often misinterpreted— anyone who has ever sent a text message can attest to that.

  1. Staying positive will help you achieve your goals.

The chances are high that you will have to continue working with the person who is currently driving you insane. To maintain your sanity, try to stay positive and look for your coworker’s good qualities. This way of thinking can not only prevent you from going down a negative path, but it can also help improve or preserve professional relationships.

  1. Know when to ask for help.

If you’ve determined that a situation can’t be ignored, make sure you speak directly to the problematic coworker before going to the boss. Going to a supervisor or superior should only be done as last resort. When you do seek help, do your best to come across as calm and prepared. At work, it’s essential to stay on task, remain impartial, and be ready to take responsibility for your actions. In other words: you have the most power over how happy you are at your job and how successful your career will be. So if there’s a colleague who always brings negativity—be prepared with positivity.

This article was originally published on movelifestyle.com.

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