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How to Deal with Uncomfortable Situations at Work?


Ascending the corporate ladder is never an easy job. If you are hoping to have a jolly good time, smooth sailing up the corporate ladder, then there might be a few stinky or uncomfortable situations where the choice between fight or flight may stand as a hurdle in your progress.

Your progress does not simply depend on your skills and abilities. It actually depends on several other factors. Your ability to work may be the prerequisite but that alone won’t help you survive or succeed in your profession.

deal uncomfortable situations work

In most professions, you come across all kinds of people at the workplace. Some are amiable and easy to handle while others might be difficult or annoying.

While in personal lives, we can afford to say what we feel about people, but it is really not possible in our professional lives. So people who lack diplomacy or do not know how to tackle uncomfortable situations often stay behind in the professional race.

Some simple tips or guidelines may help you tackle difficult situations tactfully. Here are some life hacks and tips to deal with uncomfortable situations at work:

11 Tips to Handle Most Uncomfortable Situations at Work:

The following mentioned are few tips on dealing or handling difficult situations at work.

1. Be Careful in Your Choice of Words:

A work environment is a sensitive area. People do not like being put on the edge by trigger words. So choose what you say, subjugate the words with the most formal and office-appropriate jargon. This way even the most awkward conversations can turn into a meaningful fact exchanging sessions.

Very often, people have the habit of responding to even small taunts. You need to practice neglecting or ignoring unnecessary words completely. This will not just prevent a fight but also help you to avoid waste of valuable time. Rather than wasting time on such people, spend that time to improve your skills so that you progress in your career.

2. Keep your cues handy:

Many people make amends to a ruined conversation simply by use of a ‘sorry’. A curt ‘Thank You’, ‘Welcome’ and ‘Excuse Me’ has the power to put a stitch in time and save nine. If you encountered something that was truly difficult to ignore and busted out, make amends before it is too late.

It goes a long way with your office mates if you are known for your courteous behavior. It also fosters people’s faith in discussing topics with you that might be otherwise deemed off-limits. Mutual trust is often the simplest key to lasting professional relations.

3. Don’t correct people:

It is good to be on your toes with data accuracy but if you keep interrupting your superiors or colleagues while they are trying to convey the bigger picture to a room full of people, sooner than later you will be despised by many of your colleagues and coworkers.

It can be an uncomfortable situation when you hear your seniors or peers make a mistake in their conversation. Yet, you must know how to deal with such weird situations wisely. The best approach would be to make a note of such mistakes or errors.

Take your time and discuss it one on one. You may pick a suitable occasion when you are discussing other things. Do not point these out as mistakes. Instead, try to present these errors in a casual manner. While you make your point, your professional relation will remain unhampered.

4. Be polite:

There could be many different types of uncomfortable situations that take place at the workplace. For instance, you may have a colleague who has a body odor problem that is truly annoying. Conveying this to your colleague is not going to be easy. In such embarrassing situations, how you present it matters most.

Being polite opens more doors than we like to admit. Not only does it raise your collar as the go-to person for anyone in the office looking to confide a sensitive topic, but you can also go ahead and put forth your suggestions on off-limit topics that might otherwise make the scenario so awkward.

So try to be polite while presenting sensitive matters. It also helps to strengthen professional relationships making them last longer.

5. Being far-sighted help:

Weighing the pros and cons out is never a waste of time. There might be times when you think you are being too analytical. Many of us are never emotionally trained to handle certain uncomfortable or tough situations at the workplace. In such cases, your foresight and intuition can help you avoid awkward situations.

You must always weigh the situation properly. Try to evaluate whether to throw in your 2 cents on a matter to save you from an uncomfortable work situation that you are not equipped for. Often, such evaluation helps you prevent the undesirable.

6. Overstepping boundaries:

It is rightly said ‘Do not tickle a sleeping dragon’. You might think it earns you brownie points if you tattle on a slacker colleague or a colleague who nicks office supplies. This will do more harm than good. So you must be careful with your words and use it only if it is the utmost necessary. If a tussle can be avoided, it must be. Do not cross your limits unless it is inevitable.

Words on the vine never hide their originator so sooner than later it’s going to be public who opened their mouth; so best you don’t. Being sincere to your firm or organization is one thing and making an issue out of every small thing is another. Even firms do not like dealing with difficult people who make a big issue out of trivial matters that can be neglected.

7. No Public Display of Affection Please:

Office romances are a unique relationship to have. Not only is there a zing to it but the thrill of not letting others find out what everyone secretly loves. Yet, you need to be careful in such cases.

Do not go overboard showering love over your partner, because while some might smile at your parting with a peck on your partner’s cheek, some might pull on that thread to create an issue out of it. Professional jealousy is a common thing and people often tend to misuse the office romances of friends to ruin their career.

You must also remember that office is not the right place to display intimacy in relationships. It may cause an uncomfortable situation for the onlooker and may even cause a communication barrier in some office relationships.

8. Hygiene Matters:

Some of your colleagues may be dressed in less savory perfumes or clothes that are an eyesore. But there is a way to let people off the hook about these things. You need to know the right way to reveal these facts to your office colleagues without spoiling the professional relationship.

Also you may try by saying he should try a new deo or different hair oil. You telling your friend to try out a new perfume may make him happy and still convey the message. But if you announce your friend’s body odour in front of the whole work bay, it may hurt him badly and may even cause a rift between you two.

9. Sensitize:

The dressing style of people can often lead to uncomfortable situations at work. Some women are so used to wearing low neck outfits that they unknowingly expose more than they should and this can create discomfort. If you have a colleague in this category, go forward and tell her why her style of dressing can annoy people around or even create a bad impression.

Some folks take the dress code for office too seriously. If you have a colleague who falls in this category and appears to belong to the offices of the 1980s, go ahead and tell him in a casual manner that he must try new options in dressing.

Jokingly bring up the topic with the person concerned, while chit-chatting around the water cooler, you might actually get your point across if you have any constructive advice to share.

10. Don’t Be Judgemental:

One main problem many people face in their professional lives is that they judge people based on their predetermined beliefs. Often, these beliefs have no serious basis.

For instance, there are myths that people from certain areas are miserly or people belonging to certain sects are extremely unhygienic. You must have been brought up listening to such myths but do not make the mistake of judging people based on these.

In professional circles, you need to keep an open mind. Do not get carried away easily by your own thoughts or the gossips spread by others. Believe only what you see with your own eyes or hear with your own ears.

11. Never Blabber About Your Boss:

One of the greatest challenges you may face at your workplace will be ignoring your bosses’ mistakes. Be choosy about which topic you want to bring up and which ones you might want to shelve.

No two circles share the same knack towards discussing your boss’s halitosis. So prattle about it in the wrong circle, and you might soon be clearing your desk!

Difficult Office Situations and How to Deal With Them:

Great work environment is one of the most important factors for generating better productivity from the employees. Good work culture in the organization for employees helps them being comfortable and work better.

Though employers are focusing on providing very comfortable work conditions for their employees but there comes a few instances where the office situations become very difficult to deal with. In such situation you should calm your mind and understand the situation properly. This would help you develop the best solution for handling the problem.

Here are a few tough work situations and ways to deal with them.

  1. Tough work and need some space

How to handle: Complaint constructively

2. Not happy with the senior and want to complain to the higher authorities

How to handle: Meet your immediate supervisor and detail him with the matter. Even if unsolved then you can move to authorities in charge

3. You being right but you co-worker arguing about it

How to handle: Take it easily and apologize just to avoid any workplace tension

4. An important event in personal life

How to handle: Discuss less of your personal things

5. Working with people who have a problem with each other

How to handle: Behave professionally and plan it out

6. Given extra workload by your boss

How to handle: It is OK to say NO sometimes

7. Getting involved in a romantic relationship at work

How to handle: Don’t let it affect your work in a negative way

8. Passed out a secret of others to one of your friends

How to handle: Not an ethical way to behave

9. Taking a break and surfing the net

How to handle: Surfing net during breaks is fine but make sure that your personal surfing is lesser

10. Want to enjoy the company Christmas party

How to handle: Control yourself especially while drinking

11. Food being stolen from the refrigerator

How to handle: Stick your name tag to your box, or purchase a small personal fridge

12. Getting you involved in office gossips

How to handle: Staying away is the best choice

13. Any type of inappropriate physical advance.

How to handle: Never encourage any such and inform the authorities

14.Getting in heated conversation related to religion or politics

How to handle: Keeping a distance with such topics would be wise

15. Your co-workers working against you

How to handle: Competition at work is common so the right way to deal is to be your best at work

16. Your co worker’s annoying habit

How to handle: Talk to them directly but in a polite manner


Just like you tend to get used to the way your parents are, you need to give a blind eye to small discrepancies in a boss’ attitude, manner or even the management’s decisions. It will prevent you from facing your boss directly someday to answer his questions.

If you have to speak about things you spoke about him behind his back, it is sure going to make you uncomfortable.