Working in a company that has a toxic employee is practically a rite of passage. Even in the happiest organizations, unhappy people can wreak havoc. It takes only one bad apple to ruin a bushel.

The first strategy we develop is to escape from the person, avoiding sharing the same physical space. This tactic seems to be linked to our survival instinct because it is natural for humans to avoid what causes discomfort – we react automatically when we feel cold or hot, fear, disgust.

This technique works well, but the problem is that in professional environments it is not always possible to avoid contact, especially when there are exchange, cooperation or subordination relationships with annoying people. As this is a primitive strategy, can we develop something more efficient to deal with this situation?

1. Know what bothers you

The first thing to do is a thorough analysis of what bothers you most about that person. As Freud said, “What bothers you about others has a lot to say about you.” You will most likely find symmetry points, which may contribute to your self-knowledge, peer knowledge and consequent relationship enhancement.

2. Do not share defects

Having done the analysis, please: do not share the defects found in that person with him or her or with other colleagues. Keep to yourself all imperfections and share only what contains potential for improvement. The technique of positive reinforcement is much more efficient than criticism – believe me!

3. Do not provide too much information about yourself

A more elaborate version of “running away from the person” is what I call not daring. The main difference between them is that not daring means not providing information that can increase contact with the person, such as commonalities, conversation subjects, personal information. The idea is to keep transactions only with regard to professional relationships. And speaking of professional relationships, being professional in your relationships means being polite, respectful, cooperative and facilitative.

4. Preserve Your (Good) Mood

Finally, don’t let yourself be shaken by the situation. There is only one person who can change your mood: you! It is ultimately up to you to decide how you will deal internally with the events of your daily life. As the Dalai Lama said, “Don’t let the behavior of others take your peace away.”

Important: Remember, no one is boring because they want to. The boring usually doesn’t know that he’s boring and so is worthy of compassion. It could be me, it could be you or your brother…