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Managing Conflict at Work

7 Tips for Navigating Difficult Relationships at Work 

By Dustin DiPerna M.A. 

At some point in our professional lives, we have all encountered difficult work relationships. Maybe it’s a coworker who always has something negative to say, a boss who tends to micromanage, or a customer who is impossible to please. Regardless of the nature of these relationships, it can be challenging to know how to navigate them effectively.

Here are some tips on how to interact with coworkers when there is a difficult work relationship:

  1. Stay calm and composed: It can be tempting to react emotionally when you’re frustrated with a difficult relationship, but it’s important to remain calm and composed. Take a deep breath, and try to approach the situation with a clear head. If you find yourself getting upset, take a break and come back to the situation when you are feeling more composed.
  2. Listen actively: It’s important to actively listen to what the other person is saying in a difficult relationship. Even if you disagree with their perspective, try to understand their point of view. Ask clarifying questions to make sure you fully understand their concerns.
  3. Validate their feelings: There may be feelings of frustration or anger when dealing with difficult relationships. It’s important to validate the other person’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with their opinions or behavior. Acknowledge their emotions, and let them know that you understand why they might be feeling that way.



About the Author – Dustin DiPerna M.A.

CredibleMind Co-Editor-in-Chief, Author, Meditation Teacher

Dustin DiPerna is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. As Co-Editor-in-Chief, he has a hand in recruiting for and editing all of CredibleMind’s mental health and wellbeing content. He is a Harvard-trained scholar of world religions and teaches in the Tibetan meditation lineages of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. His books include Streams of Wisdom, Evolution’s Ally, and Earth is Eden. Currently, Dustin teaches at the Esalen Institute (CA) and regularly leads sessions on meditation, mental health, and flourishing internationally.

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