Ways to handle a rude colleague

21 Oct 2022

Workplaces are not spared of patronizing and rude colleagues. They can be a challenge to deal with, and most often than not, people who are not used to being rude themselves find it the hardest to cope with condescension. Collaborating with a rude colleague who talks down on you and patronizes you can drive you up to the wall—it can be confusing, angering and humiliating.

This kind of behavior falls under passive-aggressive remarks and is often blanketed as ‘friendly’ or ‘rational’. Basically, the condescending person isn’t even trying to be rude with you and is without effort making you feel like you’re doing something wrong.

However, as confusing as this can be, these people can be handled and one can manage their energy around condescension. It’s hard, but you shouldn’t let someone put you down and have them get away with it. Keep your cool and don’t give them back the same behavior they’re displaying to you. You’re better than them and always remember that. However, if their agenda is to feel better than you, you must learn to defend yourself in moments like these.

Here are ways you can handle a rude colleague at work.

#1. Try not to take it to heart

The most important to try and practice here is to keep your cool. It’s hard to not take what’s said to you to heart, but the moment you let it affect you, the second the person who’s being rude to you will get what they want. Most often, they intend to hurt your feelings because that’s what they want to do. However, do not give them what they want and keep your calm.

When this illogical behavior is directed at you, it triggers an emotional response. However, do not give them the pleasure of knowing that they have provoked you, be positive and kill them with kindness.

#2. Confront them

Sometimes, it gets way too hard to handle mentally. However, during times like this, the final call would be to confront them and call them out for their behavior. When they make a crude remark or a condescending statement, call them out and say something like, “I think what you said was a bit condescending. Please refrain from using that tone.” However, if they get offended by your statement, there’s very little you can do.

Try not to feel too defensive, because then you will end up reacting emotionally. Walk away from the person after calling them out for their behavior, and breathe. Remember, confronting them does not make you the bad person. You were made uncomfortable by their statement, and it’s completely okay to stand up for yourself.

#3. Restrain yourself

It’s best to not react to a rude colleague. This would involve restricting your own reactions and body language. Try and be as positive as you can, and be kind. Do not display any sort of hostile behavior toward them, and do not openly ignore them. Try and avoid using sarcasm or passive-aggressive behavior yourself.

Try to act as if nothing is going on, and neutralize your actions. Hold your ground, but be a rock. You don’t have to offend to defend.

#4. Speak to them

Sometimes, the rude colleague won’t really know that they’re being rude or condescending. Approach them and address them for their behavior and try and figure out why they’re behaving the way they are. If they are completely unaware of how they might have offended you, then it’s your job to tell them that they have. This will give you a chance to communicate with them, and perhaps end this misunderstanding once and for all.

Build a bridge and draw a conclusion. Develop a level of comfort with your colleague, and get to know them. This way, you might, in fact, make a new friend!

It’s always good to remember that if someone has offended you or is rude to you, it’s your job to figure out why and how to stop it. If your rude colleague is intentionally being rude to you and none of these signs work, it’s time to put a complete end to it and report them for their behavior. If they are unaware of what they’re doing, it’s best to go up to them and have a talk. Remember, it’s never wrong to be holding your ground.

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