It seems like there’s always one person in the office who is just really annoying. Maybe they annoy everyone. Maybe they just annoy you, but the sound of their voice is like nails on a chalkboard. 


Still, you have to work there. You have to be able to function, get things done, and collect a paycheck.


How can you deal with an annoying coworker without losing your job, your mind, or ending up in jail?


Make friends with them


Sometimes, annoying people are only annoying until you get to know them. Sometimes, they’re looking for attention, like a cat that won’t stop meowing until you pick it up and pet it. It sounds a little simplistic, but humans aren’t nearly as complex as we’d like to think we are. 


Try being nice to the person who annoys you. This might be the simplest path if it seems like they’re just trying to get your attention. They’ll relax their annoying traits as soon as you know them.


Tell them they’re annoying


If that doesn’t work, tell them they’re annoying you. Don’t mince words. You don’t have to be cruel, but be to the point. Explain what annoys you. Explain what they can do to make it right.


If you’ve ever read The One-Minute Manager, you know to give a reprimand by starting with a positive, delivering the tough news, and ending with a positive. That might be the best way to deliver this conversation with someone who annoys you. 


Drown them out


Sometimes, the annoying coworker isn’t talking to you. They’re just talking. Constantly and loudly and constantly. Try to use white noise to drown them out. 


In the era of headphones and ear buds, you don’t need to listen to much of anything for too long anymore. All you have to do is cover the sound that’s driving you crazy with something more pleasant.


If you can, close your office door. Keep the noise out and keep your sanity.


Don’t gossip


One of the worst things you can do is complain to others about the person. Not only does that make you look petty and cheap, but when it gets back to them, they’re much less likely to listen to you when you talk. 


Just keep your own counsel and talk to them or no one.


Smile and move on


Sadly, many annoying people know they’re annoying. They’re doing it to stake out territory. Driving you crazy satisfies them. The more annoyed you get, the happier they are. Even if they back off for a while, they can’t help themselves. They’ll start annoying you again soon.


Step away. Let them do their thing. Move on to something else. 


Nothing the boss can do


Because there are no rules about being annoying, and being annoying is in the eye of the beholder, there’s nothing your boss or HR can do. Complaining to them only makes you look like you can’t handle others. 


In most cases, remember that how you feel is more about you than the other person.