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How to Deal With Office Frenemies


It’s harder to avoid frenemies at work than it is in your personal life. The combination of forced proximity and the natural interdependence of colleagues trying to get stuff done makes them almost impossible to avoid.


(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Jessica Sager at The Grindstone offers several good tips for identifying an office frenemy. The bottom line?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

“A workplace frenemy doesn’t care about your needs,” Sager writes. Whether he’s planning the office party or she’s failing to help you with a project, the office frenemy always thinks about himself or herself — not about you or the company.

Dealing with the office frenemy, in that case, is a matter of trying not to put yourself in his power:

1. Use good project management techniques.

When you’re working on a group project, it’s always a good idea to move individual deadlines up by a day or two. This avoids the possibility of everyone winding up looking unprofessional because the office frenemy is good at shirking of her share of the work.

2. Keep your manager in the loop.

Ever work with someone who seems to spend the bulk of his working hours talking about his accomplishments, and maybe even taking credit for some of yours?

“Keep your manager and other colleagues in email chains, so your work is documented and the [frenemy] can’t take all the credit,” advises Robert DiGiacomo of “If people around you are blowing their own horns, you have to join the orchestra.”

3. Don’t gossip.

It’s tempting to vent your frustrations with your colleagues, but workplace scuttlebutt often comes back to haunt the vent-er. Don’t make yourself the center of office gossip by spreading stories. It reflects poorly on you, and worse, focuses your attention on the negative, which can make you less productive — and less happy — at work.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever had to deal with an office frenemy? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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