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How to Love Your Coworkers Even When It’s Hard

Many of us have that one coworker that is really hard to love… sometimes even be in close proximity to. Does someone instantly pop into your mind? Yep, I thought so. I have a few people that come to mind too. Maybe it is the man in the cubical next to you who clicks their pen about a million times a day and who talks on the phone WAY too loud. Or maybe it is the lady down the hall who seems to get every promotion or project you wanted. Sometimes, people are hard to love especially people you work with and see every single day. Out of sight out of mind doesn’t apply because hello you work with these people. Well, I am here to help!

Recently I have been trying to love, sometimes just tolerate, my coworkers better. Yes, this includes ones that are hard to love. So here are some tips I have to love your coworkers… even when it’s hard:

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

You never truly know what someone is going through until you get to know them. I had a coworker in the past who was extremely difficult to work with. She had a poor attitude, constantly complained, and had an extremely negative outlook on just about everything. Honestly, she was hard to be around. After several minutes with her I felt down and discouraged because her attitude was contagious. God put it on my heart to get to know her better so I started praying for an opportunity to do so.

Sure enough, one day she looked extra defeated. I made a point to stop and ask how things were going. She then opened up to me about how anxiety and severe depression had debilitated her for most of her life.  Ah, this made so much sense. Now I knew why she was so negative, she was hurting and struggling. From that moment on, I tried my best to get to know more about her and build a relationship her. Because I wanted to be a light to her, I would make sure to be positive and intentional with my words and actions. This wasn’t always easy.

Her negativity didn’t go away and she was still hard to love but knowing more about her helped me to know how to love her better. I didn’t always accomplish this, I am SO far from perfect, but I know God used our relationship to bring glory to Him, encourage her, and to give me perspective.

Everyone goes through tough stuff. Everyone struggles with something. Take the time to build meaningful relationships with the people in your workplace, especially the people that are hard to love. This can seem daunting but it can open the door to ministering to someone who needs love and maybe just a friend to talk to.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

BE AUTHENTIC

Authenticity is a rarity in today’s society. Our lives are often masked by the strictly good things we choose to post on social media. I believe in order to love your coworkers and the people around you well you have to be authentic. Strong relationships are built on how real you are with one another. When you show someone who you really are, chances are they will trust you. When they trust you, they will let you into their life. Remember those coworkers that are extra hard to love? My guess is they are dealing with something tough or they have dealt with some hard things that life has thrown them.

When you are genuine and create an environment of openness people feel comfortable around you.  So friends, be real with others. Let your love be authentic to those around you. God will use your vulnerability and authenticity to allow you to minister to your coworkers. Yep, even when it is hard.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” -Romans 12:9-10

ACCEPT YOUR CALL TO LOVE

I have worked in vocational ministry and I know what it feels like to make a difference inside the walls of the church. But I want you to know that ministry doesn’t just happen in church. You have the opportunity every day to love on the people that you work with. Every believer of Christ is called into ministry the moment they give their life to Christ.

Although I am no longer in ministry as a paying job, I am just as called to love my coworkers and minister to them! Currently, I work with a woman devoted to Islam. To be honest with y’all she one of the kindest people I have ever met. I also work with an atheist and an agnostic. Actually, I do not work closely with anyone who knows Christ. Yet, every day I get to wake up and show them love through my optimism, joy, and yes even humor. (My husband will get a good laugh out of that one!)

God wakes me up every morning and grants me the opportunity to do ministry wherever I go. Jesus didn’t always teach in the temple. He often taught in the streets to people who didn’t know him or even like him. How will you love and minister to the people in your workplace this week? Comment and let me know!

 

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84 thoughts on “HOW TO LOVE YOUR COWORKERS… EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD

  1. These are great tips. I’ve got several co-workers that immediately come to mind lol. One being someone on the other side of my cubicle wall. When he sips a drink, I HEAR the sipping. I tried to drink that way and make the same sounds, and it hurt my cheeks! LOL. I have a post that I would love to write about co-workers. If only I didn’t think my manager could see it! LOL.

  2. I think authenticty is so important. There is no point in trying to pretend that you are someone that you are not even when you feel pressured to do so. Just be yourself and hopefully co-workers can feel more at ease and loosen up.

  3. Kinda sad that we need reminders to be authentic, but its true. If we just are our authentic selves, it can be more transparent for others and get to know each other better.

  4. As a nanny, I work with no coworkers but am thinking of going into retail. I’ll definitely have to keep these tips in mind if I make the switch!

    xo, Lydia | wheretheprettythingsare.co

    1. I was a nanny for a few years and really loved it! I found that having no adult conversation all day was a little tough! 🙂

  5. So thankful I am my own boss and work from home. I get to avoid issues in the workplace but I can be somewhat isolating. Love these tips. Relationships are key!

  6. In the past I have worked with a few people who we didn’t quite see eye to eye. It is important to maintain a good work relationship even if you aren’t best friends.

    1. And you won’t be best friends with all your coworkers but haveing good relationships with them makes work life so much easier! 🙂

  7. I once worked with a guy I just didn’t like. We had to work together every day and I couldn’t stand being with him! I went on maternity leave for 6 months and when I went back to work I made a resolution to make more effort with him and try to get on better. We ended up being good friends and a great team! Sometimes the problems lie within ourselves and not the person we have the issue with 🙂

    1. It is definitely hard sometimes to not sound scripted. I have felt that way before after leaving a conversation. Just pray that God would use your words, no matter how robotic! 😉

  8. Aw man, I can recall those days very well. It was so hard working with someone closely on a day to day basis for hours on end that you just don’t care for. Lucky for me I’m my own boss now, and I happen to love my co-workers! (my daughter and my dogs!)

  9. My last position before deciding to stay home with my son towards the end just felt like it lagged everyday. Being around others that are not positive can bring down your day very much.

    1. When you don’t love your job or the people you work with it makes you not want to go to work! I have been at jobs like that and it is miserable!

  10. Yes, working with co-workers can be difficult. It’s always easier to relate to them (whether you agree or not) if you take the time to get to know each other. Thanks for the reminders!

  11. These are all great tips and really important to help dealing with difficult coworkers. I’ve had my fair deals of difficult people to work with and I agree with you being authentic is so important. In my last corporate job, I had to deal with not one, not two but several difficult people who wished to see me destroyed because I was promoted.

    1. Maureen, what a tough spot to be in! I think coworker conflict is sometimes inevitable but being intentional and authentic goes a long way! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I have found if I am having trouble getting along with someone I try to get to know them a little better and find out where they are coming from. And I am a gift giver so I usually try to include a gift somewhere

  13. While I don’t have to deal with co-workers, a lot of this applies to people around us outside of the work environment. It’s not easy to allow Christ’s love to flow through us, but it is something that we’re called to do. I’ve found that some people are just toxic and need to be avoided, but it’s always wonderful when we’re able to touch someone’s life in a positive way.

  14. It is so hard to love people when they make us not want to be around them. I have previously had difficult co workers and I know I’ll have them again. I always try and pray for patience and compassion in order to get through a shift with them.

  15. Our call is indeed to love or share love, but it’s a reality that some people are difficult to deal with. I have worked with a coworker who was the most friendly one, then one day this colleague turns into the most unfriendly one that didn’t even want to say one word to me. But, hey, love always wins, even in the office environment.

  16. Love this post. It bothers me when people go out of their way to be negative about things like this when all it takes is a little openness to connect with those around you. Plus, it makes work a lot better when you stop actively disliking people!

    1. Negativity can be so contagious! Work is so much better when you are remain a positive light and are intentional with those you work with! 🙂

  17. This is such a good read – I work from home now so all I have to worry about is my cats to be fair but when I worked in an office it was difficult. It took me a good while to get on with the people there, especially all the cliques that office people make, gah! x

  18. I have been with my company for more than a decade but I realized I have very few personal relationships with my co-workers. I do not know why that is, it’s just the way it is. I am okay with that though. At the office we have great rapport, and that’s already a blessing for me.

    1. Being in a positive work environment is so important and I am so happy you have found that! I feel like that is hard to come by these days!

  19. Really good tips, I had difficult co-workers in a previous position and it can be really demoralizing if you don’t get on and make you hate work. I much prefer working on my own now and choosing the people I work with.

    1. I have had a job before where I dreaded waking up and going there but am blessed to have gotten out of that situation! I can’t wait to be my own boss! 🙂

  20. Now that I am a work at home mom, I don’t have coworkers But this was a big deal for me when I worked in offices years ago. Even now, it’s great advice as I am on the PTO and work with other organizations where people do act as a pseudo-coworker

    1. God has made us each unique with different gifts and talents! Somehow we have to learn to put them all together and make it work! 🙂

  21. You don’t necessarily have to be best friends with your co-workers, you just simply have to be kinder. Everyone thinks that making friends in the office is not a great idea, but having a good relationship with the people around me is something that I value, regardless of where I am. I think these are tips!

    1. We will never be best friends with everyone. But simply showing kindness goes a long way! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Amanda!

    1. I have been in those situations too Courteney! It is so difficult! All you can do is show them kindness and love. How they choose to respond is totally up to them and out of our control!

    1. I feel like tolerance is hard to come by these days. Love can be shown in a lot of ways, especially when we are tolerant and accepting! Thanks Kecia! 🙂

    1. Rachel, when work is a negative environment it affects all other areas of our lives! Keep being a light and saying positive and it will be worth it! 🙂

  22. I have been working at home since the age of 17, so I never had to personally deal with co-workers. I do agree that it’s important to love your co-workers even if they don’t accept you.

  23. As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your wonderful post. I totally agree that you always have to be authentic. That is a very nice list of tips!

  24. I love this so much! My husband dealt with a terrible coworker last year. He was constantly trying to find ways to hurt other people and the responses of his coworkers varied. Some were nice and some were worse than him.

    1. Working with others can be SO difficult. I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s experience! How did he respond or get out of that situation?

  25. This post is great! I’ve definitely had coworkers who were hard to love in the past. I’ve usually found the people act a certain way for a reason and getting to know them better can make you more patient and understand why they do what they do.

    1. Thanks Chelsea! There is always a reason, you are totally right. Being intentional and trying to find out the root of that reason can really be helpful in the long run! 🙂

  26. These are some really good tips! it’s been awhile since i’ve worked but i can so relate to this. mine wasn’t just a coworker, she was my boss. it was hard and it seemed like she always had something bad happening to contribute to her horrid mood. i eventually quit because i couldn’t take it anymore.

    1. I am guilty of that in the past! I try hard everyday, does it always happen? Nope. But all we can do is try! 🙂

  27. Getting along with coworkers that may not be on the same eye to eye as you can be tough. These are great tips of how to do that.

  28. I have worked outside the house a few times and there always seemed to be that one person I just couldn’t get along with. These are perfect tips for those that are going through something similar.

    1. I think in just about every circle there is someone we aren’t going to see eye to eye with! Be a light and be intentional and God will use the situation for good! 🙂

  29. Surprisingly I actually get along with the majority of my coworkers. So much to the point that I consider them family. Wondering how log that will last. LOL

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