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5 ways to deal with ignorant or annoying people at work

by Kristofor Lawson on October 26, 2008

I logged into my email from home the other day to see a message from a colleague. The message basically came to the assumption that I had not been doing my job as was asked of me. The assumption was totally incorrect and based on incomplete information coming from someone who should not be making these type of calls.

While normally I try to keep a cool composure about such emails, this time I have reached boiling point. I have reached a level of anger which I don’t often reach. While I would normally think of how I could resolve the situation with out much conflict, for some reason this time I want to retaliate. I want to argue my case, I want to get the load off my chest, while at the same time inflicting the most negative emotions which I can summon up.

Strangely enough this has me concerned about a few things.

Job Security

If I can’t be trusted in my job by other staff members, sooner or later this will cause issues for my job. I am one of those people that doesn’t work well having people standing over my shoulder. I am a very quick and efficient worker. I do the job in a short time, and do it at a professional quality. Having someone stand over my shoulder makes me feel inadequate and like I’m standing in front of a firing squad. It is not beneficial to my work. It is extremely distracting. But probably the biggest issue is that it makes me feel like quiting. 

Working Friendships

Once you have one person off your side, it can easily cause issues to the other friendships with your co-workers. I love where I work. I love the people, and I love the job we do. It concerns me greatly that some people are so shallow as to not ask adequate questions before jumping to conclusions. I hate the feeling of having everyone off your side because of colleague telling everyone you don’t do your job. 

5 ways to deal with ignorant people at work

While my concerns may be valid, it still leaves me asking one serious question of myself. Am I really dealing with the situation in the best possible way? It can’t be good for me to be bottling up this hidden resentment. So what do you do? How do you deal with people that just trigger a nerve?

I’ve done a bit of searching and here are 5 ways which you can deal with the ignorant people in your life in ways that let you go about your day in peace. 

1. Ignore Them

This may or may not be the best solution. However one way to deal with those annoying people is to just not give their comments any time. 

When you receive an email from someone who does not know what their talking about, just push it to the back of your mind. Don’t let it get to you. Go and do something else to distract you from the situation. But whatever you do DON’T RESPOND.

If you respond to an email sent to you, it is likely that you will write something which reflects badly on yourself. If you confront them you will likely get into an argument. It is much better for you to go away and calm down, and then not dignify the email with any form of response. 

2. Talk to a Friend

One of the most effective ways to not let annoying or ignorant people get to you is to talk to a close friend. Tell them everything that’s going on. Yes I do mean everything! All the emotions your going though. All the stress your under. What you feel like doing in response. Sometimes the advice of a close friend is more valuable than you could ever imagine. 

As humans we very much make decisions based on what other people do or say. If you have a friend who will level with you. Who will tell you the situation how it is, then you will be fine. Even the act of getting the pressure off your chest is hugely beneficial. 

3. Be Kind

Ok, I know you read that and you started to cringe at the thought. However ignorant people are not bad people, they are just not well informed. They don’t know any better. So be kind to them. They can’t help their situation. It’s not their fault they have trouble keeping informed. Give them a hand, and bring them up to speed on the situation. 

Not only will being kind make you feel better in the long run, but it is likely that you will place your self in a good spot with the person. If you are kind to them it will be amazing how this might change their attitude towards you. Even if it doesn’t stop them being ignorant or annoying, it much just take the edge off the situation.

4. Do an amazing job. 

Sure if one person keeps making uninformed judgements or decision it can be a little off-putting. But you can use that emotion to do a better job. If you become better at your current job everyone else in your workplace will appreciate your work and will automatically not take the comments of the person on board. 

If you do your job well enough you may even be promoted into a position where you no longer have to worry about what that person says. Don’t let their comments ever hold you back from doing the best job you can!

5. Tell them your problem

Ok so this might be a little nerve wracking. But if everything else fails you should calmly and politely them your problem. Tell them that they don’t understand the situation and that they need to stop speaking before finding out information. 

Sometimes ignorant people just don’t know they are being rude. If nothing works then you do need to tell them. Who knows they may even appreciate you doing so. However if they are not appreciative don’t take it to heart. You won’t have lost a friend, but you will feel much better for telling them. 

Whatever method you go with, it is important that you find a solution. It is not healthy to build up unwanted anger or resentment. You will be a happier person, and you will feel much more secure in your workplace. 

 

If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. 

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Photo credit, rstrawser

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nader June 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm

nice advice mate and healthy 5 steps thanks for that .
i may add a step i do if i know that the person means what he is doing is by
annoying him back usually in the same way he acted (without being mad or mean)so he feels what i felt .
now he may understand and stop it or get mad and act nerviously or phisically where i think im winning in both results .

please let me know your advice on that

2 jon August 26, 2009 at 11:39 pm

this is all good and well ive been using about the same steps for the last eight years and when the person is your boss it makes for a very difficult time and im beging to think that its best to move on and a peice of advice to anyone who is just starting at a job where this is happening just get out right away because your never going to get some one to proactively learn who doesnt already do it

3 Oscar July 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm

It’s not always the best thing to talk to a friend, according to this research

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401085344.htm

4 Dan December 7, 2010 at 6:15 pm

You know whats funny too,
Is when you have a boss is younger than you and uses his title as if he knows everything god knows, and never admites his mistakes, this makes him should be shipped back you know where.

people who are ignorants is part of their problem, the other half of the problem is those who allows them to continue to move on with their lifes with out correcting it or offer to turn them into normal people.

5 Trey January 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hey, I like your tips, & I must say I think another great way to deal with peaple’s ignorants or negative situations is to SMILE… the best revenge is success, so SMILE, LAUGH, HAVE FUN, MAKE MORE FRIENDS, TRAVEL, & BETER YOURSELF MENTALLY & PHYSICALLY EVER DAY. LEARN SOMTHING NEW~ DO SOMTHING NEW DAILY. so let those ignorant peaple ENVY that SMILE on your face, and they’ll wander want makes you so happy, and you’ll soon see that their only ignorant becouse their lacking something in life: “A lot of attitude becouse of little gratitude”
I hope this helps, peace & luv Trey The million. follow me on twitter @thamillion & facebook @thamillion st.louis mo.

6 Jac May 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I work with a person who is ignorant and we job share. She is unskilled and unaware of it so the slightest hint of constructive criticism delivered with respect ignites resentment which almost immediately leads to getting her revenge on me. Her ignorance is a simple thing in that it’s obvious to recognise. It seems she hasn’t learned how to learn in a way which builds an appetite for knowledge and awareness. Mentally she is extremely restricted, almost childlike. It is very frustrating working with her as there are other negative aspects which have formed as a result of her ignorance such as laziness, not listening, lying and constantly interrupting. She is also slighty illiterate and reads notes using her finger to follow each word. I quote: ‘The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes’. I do pity her slightly but I am also aware she is unaware of the damage she can do. Going back to your ’5′ ways I have off loaded to a good friend and from now on ignore her ignorance and pretend I like her. Thing is we only spend 15 minutes together per day and because we are receptionists I am the only one who has to work with her. Is there an excuse for ignorance?
Thank you for listening

7 Stephanmoss July 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi I found your story . Helpful this past week I delt with a person who is ignorant and this person had a nerve too make a dunce cap and then placed it on my table . And one of my co workers noticed it and gave me some advice and I took his advice I picked up the cap and placed it on his desk .

8 Tony July 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Unfortunately, ignorance seems increasingly prolific perhaps in part to our increasingly complex lifestyles, working environments, cultures and legal systems – which demand greater knowledge and understanding etc. Specialisms of old often now have sub-specialisms such is the complexity and depth of knowledge or experience required.

Of course, there are some who are ignorant, and do not wish to change from this position. You have to then consider why they are biased in this way – what do they have to gain from it for example? Then when you will see the reasoning for their behaviour, and you’re in a better position to address it.

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