How Do I Deal With A Grumpy Co-Worker?



Dear Dr. Donna,

I would like to know how to best approach co-workers who are just plain grumpy?

Perturbed in Payson

Dear Perturbed,

Many times when someone seems irritable, we may try to avoid them or get anxious ourselves, and try to walk on tiptoes around them. Unexpressed fear is often perceived by others as aggression. The best thing to do is not make any assumptions and not take their mood personally. They may actually be worried or anxious about something but not expressing that to you and they may just need some empathy.

I have two suggestions. The first is to make a guess out loud at what the person may be feeling and needing. Even if you are off the mark, this sincere attempt to guess may help them express something else that they may need to vent about. If this approach does not make any inroads, I would take the second option: Silent empathy. In this case, just guess what they may be feeling and needing silently to yourself. Many times an understanding ear or eye (if silent empathy is used) will be felt by the "grumpy" person as understanding and you may find that they soften in response to your compassionate energy.

Dear Dr. Donna,

Why is it I get embarrassed when someone pays me a compliment?

Caught in a bind in Cave Creek

Dear Caught,

My guess is you may have been taught as a child to not brag or boast, and being the recipient of a compliment puts you in the limelight, so to speak. My suggestion is to simply accept the compliment with a brief but gracious "thank you." I have heard it said that it is equally important to receive as it is to give. If there were no receivers, there could be no givers.

-- Send your comments or questions to: Ask Dr. Donna, P.O. Box 2204, Payson, AZ, 85547 or e-mail

Commenting has been disabled for this item.