Having to deal with annoying co-workers is generally one of the absolute worst things about having a job. Even when you thoroughly enjoy your job, being at work is, well, work. If you work with customers or clients, they will usually get under your skin at least once a day. Unlike troublesome customers or clients, you usually conduct your business with them and then you can hang up the phone or close your inbox and move on with your day. With annoying co-workers, however, you're stuck with them until your shift is over and you can head home. The trouble is there is more than one kind of difficult co-worker. Some co-workers overshare and expect you to care about their sister's best friend's third cousin's newborn baby. Other co-workers steal your thunder and take credit for your successes. Regardless of which degree of aggravation your co-worker falls under, read on to find some advice on what to do about it.
The first step is to be direct. This may be a little difficult if you're more of an introvert, you're shy, or you are afraid of offending your co-worker or hurting their feelings. Nevertheless, being direct can save you and your co-worker from allowing resentment to foster between you, damaging your working relationship and the morale in the entire office. Some people don't know when they're being obnoxious - they may just be overzealous. You can still be polite while being direct. For example, if your co-worker repeatedly interrupts you or others, you can try gently reminding them who you are addressing, such as, "Thank you, Jane, but I'd really like to get Pam's input on this."
Do not spread gossip. If you think it's bad that Brittney comes to you with all the office scandal while you're trying to finish your reports, imagine how bad it will be if you perpetuate the cycle of gossip to others. Even if you're gossiping about the gossiper, you're still not in the clear. Smack-talking a co-worker for any reason will completely ruin your reputation and all of your credibility. If you can't get your co-worker to stop gossiping to you, talk to your supervisor about distracting conversations in the workplace.
Some annoying co-workers aren't even talking to you when they annoy you. Perhaps their desk radio is too loud and you just can't handle their retro disco music another minute, or they won't get off the phone with their new girlfriend and the puppy love is making you sick. If your office allows it, plug in some headphones. If music is distracting for you, you can find apps and websites that allow you to listen to neutral white noise (ocean waves, electric buzzing) that can help you drown everything else out and allow you to maintain your productivity. Remember: if all else fails, you can always make suggestions with your supervisor without even mentioning any names or specifics. For example, you can recommend to your HR department that maybe it's time for a refresher orientation about workplace-appropriate conversation or a meeting about maintaining productivity levels.