You spend more time with your coworkers than you do your family. When you consider that sobering fact, the idea of working with someone you genuinely don’t like can be depressing. Regardless of who’s responsibility it is to make the relationship better, it is always a good idea to take the lead in these situations. How can you build a better relationship with someone in the office? Here are some tips to help keep the peace and your peace of mind.

Communicate Positively

There is nothing worse than dealing with a negative coworker who sole purpose in life seems to be complaining about anything and everything. How can you deal with it beyond just ignoring them? Try sharing a little positivity. When they bring up a negative topic, try to ask something like, “That sounds horrible? But something good had to come out of the situation? Tell me about that.”

Find Common Interests

You may not think you have much in common, but that might be because you haven’t dug deep enough. Whenever you’re at a loss for conversation, ask them to tell you about something they like, do, or are interested in. You may, along the way, notice some similarities to things that you like to do or learn about. Then you can start to make connections.

Be Helpful

While many people avoid being helpful so they don’t get caught in a trap of being taken advantage of, there are a few ways you can improve a relationship by helping someone out. When you show that you have value to someone, you encourage them to recognize you as a peer and equal. And, be grateful when someone helps you, gratitude is contagious.

Avoid Cliques

It is human nature to separate ourselves into groups of like-minded people, even if that like-mindedness turns out to be harmful or negative in nature. The cliques we remember from middle school, often made up of mean girls, are alive and well in today’s workplace. A coworker who is disliked by others can find themselves an outcast or bullied by their peers. Don’t participate in this kind of behavior.

Don’t be Late

Finally, even if your coworker is always late for work, meetings, or deadlines, don’t give into their bad behavior by taking on their habits. Show them that you respect their time, and in turn, respect them as a person. Being late sends a clear message that your time is more important than theirs, and sometimes you have to model behavior to encourage it from others.

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