This is Why You Should Tell Your Annoying Coworker They're Annoying | Fairygodboss
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Be Honest
This is Why You Should Tell Your Annoying Coworker They're Annoying
Una Dabiero image
Una Dabiero,
Editorial Associate at Fairygodboss

You spend hours with your colleagues at work — usually more time than you spend at home. And when you’re in such close quarters with people, you’re just bound to find a few of them annoying sooner or later. But when someone’s behavior is really bothering you (or even the people around you), is it really worth it to bring it up?

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review by Carolyn Webb, it’s advantageous to tell that annoying coworker that they’re annoying for two reasons. We’ve broken them down here so you don’t need to feel bad addressing that individual — in a respectful way, of course.

1. Letting your frustrations simmer reduces brain activity.

Research says that when we’re stressed about something, say our coworker’s constant distractions or irritating mistakes, we experience a “fight-flight-or-freeze” response. It’s our brain’s way of defending us against a potentially dangerous situation. During this response, our brain activity is actually impaired — and spending too much time in this state can cause lasting damage. 

According to Webb, trying to suppress irritation actually causes our brain to be even more defensive. So, pretending you’re fine won’t just reset your brain — it actually hurts it. 

2. Negative moods are literally contagious. 

Recently, psychologists have found that negative moods can be transmitted between people — even if they aren’t talking to each other. Your coworkers are subconsciously experiencing your bad vibes, and your team’s productivity and happiness are probably worse off for it. And the person you’re directing your frustration towards — even if you don’t mean to — will feel your negative emotions, too.

Now you know that you need to chat with your coworker. Webb also breaks down how to address your coworkers. The key takeaways? Be respectful and collaborative, use lots of “I” statements and brainstorm how to fix the problem — don’t just complain and walk away. 

Want a more specific action plan for confronting your coworker? Post your question in the FGB Community to get insights from women who have been there. Happy truth-telling! 

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