Workplace Relationships: Accept, Change, or End

Workplace Relationships: Accept, Change, or End (A.C.E.)

Sometimes, working with other people becomes difficult.   Carrying the problems in my head is stressful.  Understanding that I do have options helps me stop worrying and start working on solutions.

In dealing with relationship problems, in fact, in dealing with most problems, I can ask myself three questions.

Should I accept the situation, change the situation, or end the situation?


Accepting something does not mean that I like it.  It simply means that I am not going to focus my attention on an ongoing situation or behavior.

When should I accept the situation?  For example, if a co-worker is a few minutes late for work every day, the person’s behavior may annoy me.  The behavior may inconvenience for me.

I could try to correct the person.  However, correcting people can causes stress between those people and me.

If I go to a supervisor and complain, I create in the supervisor’s mind a mental connection between the bad behavior and me.  Even with the best intentions of improving a work situation, I become involved in a negative situation involving a co-worker.  I create stress for the supervisor, who now has to deal with a problem.

Additionally, I become known a person who gets involved in other people’s business.   Therefore, I should often accept the situation and focus on my work.


Can I change the person’s behavior?  Changing my own behavior is not always easy.  I have to break old habits to start new habits.  Quitting fast-food restaurants, giving up junk food, failing to exercise, and staying up too late are hard habits to break.  Some positive habits are hard to form.  Arriving at appointments on time, remembering to say thank you, and letting people have room to merge in traffic are sometimes difficult things to do.  It is good for me to remember how difficult it is for me to end bad habits and form good ones.

When people do things that annoy me, I first take a look to see whether I can change my own behavior and make the situation better.  If necessary, I can speak with people about their behavior.  I remember to focus on the behavior and not the person.


Should I end a relationship?  People change.  Their interests change.  People learn new things about each other.  I may need to end an unhealthy or a meaningless relationship.

Some work relationships are not required for getting a job done.  Ending unhealthy meaningless relationships is often the best thing for both people.

I try not to burn bridges.  I try not to make ending the work relationship a moment of closure.  Sometimes I find that it is better for me to just drift away from a work relationship.

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