Engage the Jerk, Do Not Ignore
While it’s easier to avoid this person, it’s not the most effective strategy. A lot of times jerks don’t always realize they’re being a problem mostly because no one has ever told them about it. “It’s possible that [he or she] may be clueless about the impact of their behavior on others,” has said Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. “If you suspect that’s the case, consider gently pointing this out during a private discussion away from the office.” Take this as an opportunity to save your sanity as well as someone else’s. Make sure to keep the conversation about work style or behavior. It will automatically put them on the defensive.
Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior
Whether it’s water cooler gossip or cubicle convos, entertaining that person’s venting and providing feedback sends a message that you’re ok with their antics. So don’t do it! The best way out? Tell them you’re planning for a meeting or have an off-site appointment. No one will argue with your need to actually get your job done.
Laugh It Off
Believe it or not, not taking this person too seriously can work against you. Rather than let their antics get under your skin, being lighthearted around them will make a difference not only in how you feel but how they act around you. It also helps detract from a potentially dramatic situation. “Laugh it off by reminding yourself that often their behavior is harmless and they don’t really mean anything by it. A friendly, ‘Okay, I want you on my Trivial Pursuit team’ can disarm a potentially tense situation,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and president of Humor at Work.