By Kaitlyn Fowler

Elm Staff Writer

 

I’m stuck working with someone I can’t stand. What can I do to make this easier?

 

At some point in everyone’s life you must work with someone you just don’t like. Sometimes it’s just a short activity, sometimes it’s a long term job. Either way, we’ve all had that moment that sort of sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize that this person is about to make your life a lot more frustrating.

When I was in high school, I was constantly paired with another girl on projects. We took all the same classes and had all the same interests, but we could not stand each other. We’d been friends once and that only made working on projects together worse. Every time we got paired together we would start fighting and the project would suffer for it. It took us years to figure out how to work together successfully.

When we finally figured it out the answer seemed so obvious. It was simple and hopefully it will be for you, too. You don’t actually have to be friends with someone to work well together. Is it easier? A million times yes, but still, that doesn’t make it impossible when you don’t like each other. Rather, focus on your individual strengths. You are very different people as evidenced by your frustration with each other. Harness those differences. Suggest they take the things with which that they are more comfortable and then you can work on the things you are better with. You can dislike each other and still be cordial. True, you may want to just flip the table and walk away, but that will get nothing accomplished.

One way or another you have ended up working together because you have some shared interest in what it is you are doing. Focus on that interest and your project not each other. The other person is not your focus. Your focus should be doing the absolute best you can. If the end result is amazing no one is going to care all that much about the squabbles that got you there.

If that doesn’t help you then keep this in mind: the sooner you work together and finish the project the sooner it’s over. Then you won’t have to see them again. At least, not until the next project that is.

The Elm

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