How to Deal with Negative Coworkers All Day


Even if you love your job, negative coworkers can make you dread coming in every day. It can be exhausting to deal with a constant onslaught of negativity, bringing down your mood and harming morale throughout the team.

Luckily, there are things you can do to handle negative coworkers. Here are four examples of issues you may face and how to address them.

  1. Gossips

Coworkers that enjoy engaging in gossip or spreading rumors can be frustrating. Often, it makes the culture a bit toxic, particularly if they spend a lot of time talking behind people’s backs and speaking negatively of their teammates.

When possible, remove yourself from the conversation when people start gossiping. If you can’t walk away, don’t acknowledge any sensational or inaccurate statements. Alternatively, if you have a fact you can present that counters the rumor, consider sharing it if you are comfortable. Additionally, avoid sharing personal information with the gossips if you don’t want it to make the rounds.

  1. Pessimists

When a coworker can only focus on the negative, it can be draining. A pervasive doom-and-gloom attitude brings everyone down, especially if it makes it seem like success is impossible.

How you handle the situation depends on the reason behind the person’s negativity. In some cases, the person isn’t trying to be negative. Instead, they want to consider every potential outcome or view themselves as a devil’s advocate, striving to ensure that all sides are reviewed. However, some people just have pessimistic tendencies that seemed to be engrained in their personalities.

If you want to address the issue, let the coworker know how their attitude is affecting everyone. That may be enough to spur some change. However, if the person is good at their job and isn’t hindering productivity, you might need to learn to simply let it go.

  1. Know-It-Alls

At some point, you’ll likely encounter a coworker who thinks that they know best at all times. It isn’t uncommon for know-it-alls to try and control conversations and various workplace decisions, assuming that their way is always the right way to proceed. Plus, they might prevent others from contributing their ideas or sharing their views, which can be incredibly frustrating.

It’s important to understand that, in most cases, know-it-alls have good intentions. They want the team to excel; they just assume that they are the only ones who know how to make that happen. If you are dealing with a know-it-all, consider letting them know how their behaviors hurt the team. You can also share examples of when the ideas of others led to amazing results, showcasing that other coworkers are also very skilled and capable.

  1. Bullies

When a coworker constantly bullies team members, it’s infuriating. Plus, unless their behavior is incredibly overt, it might not be spotted by management. Micro-aggressions can be very demoralizing, and subtle undermining is harmful, and the impact can affect even those who aren’t specifically targeted.

Bullies often thrive on getting a reaction, so not responding to their actions can keep them from going after you. Standing up to a bully can also be effective, especially if the bully is only trying to intimidate and isn’t likely to act.

However, if the situation could be dangerous, it’s best to involve your manager. Document the bully’s actions and behaviors and share them. That way, if corrective action is necessary, you’ve provided them with a solid starting point.

Ultimately, negative coworkers can be exhausting. If you’re surrounded by negativity and the situation doesn’t improve after you intervene, finding a new job might be the better option. If you’d like to find a new position, the team at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us to find out more about our opportunities and see how our services can benefit you.