Sometimes you end up working with someone whose personality makes you wonder if they ever have a good time. You never see them smile, you never hear them say anything that borders on nice, or they rarely look you in the eye. When you talk to them on the phone, it seems as though they can’t wait to get you off the phone because you may be interrupting something they feel is more important than your bothering them in any fashion.

I’ve given some thought to this type of person, because I’ve encountered them from time to time. I don’t believe there’s anyone who’s always in a bad mood. They may seem that way at work, but I bet they go home, watch some kind of comedy from time to time, talk to family members, and, every once in awhile, find a reason to laugh at something. Or maybe they find enjoyment doing something else, such as tending to their plants, or playing with a pet, or something. I just don’t believe anyone could be dour 24/7.

If I’m correct, then we can try to come up with some reasons why a person might be like this at work. When we can at least try to see what someone else might be about, it gives us the opportunity to try to figure out what we can do about it if they report to us, or at least how we might try to interact with this person.

One reason a person might be like this could be fear. People have fear for many reasons, and show it in many different ways. This person might be masking insecurity in their knowledge of their job. They might be scared of interacting with people they’re not personally intimate with; work relationships aren’t comfortable for everyone. They might be scared because it’s their nature.

Another reason could be personal problems. They may have issues regarding relationships, illnesses, family members, money, or many other things, and because they have to deal with their emotions on their own time, they just don’t feel like manifesting any while they’re away from home.

Another reason could be pressure, real or perceived. Some people feel as though they have too much work, which means they always feel rushed and pressured. It’s hard to show happiness when you feel like the work is everywhere. Some people may feel like they’re supposed to know all the answers at all time. Some folks may feel that, because of a position they have, that they’re supposed to act a certain way at all times. I have known many managers who have been afraid to let their hair down, so to speak, at work because they want to project a certain authoritative image.

Still another reason may be that this person is always waiting for something bad to happen, because of constant pessimism. When you’re on your own time, you’re able to let go every once in awhile, but you worry at work because if something bad happens, you could lose your job and then have to try to find money in another place.

How you deal with some of these issues depends on who the person is and what your business relationship is with them. For instance, if you’re the manager and this person reports to you, there’s always the opportunity to bring the person in and ask them if there are things you can help them with. If you feel that this person is possibly exhibiting stress, maybe you can find a way to reduce their workload.

As a manager, you have to be willing to invest some time in figuring out what may be troubling this person. After all, you probably interviewed them and hired them; if you felt something was amiss at that time, you probably wouldn’t have invited them into your company. You could always try including them on a committee of some kind. Heck, it might only take saying hello every morning, or showing them some other kind of daily attention to help ease them into a more cordial manner.

If you’re a co-worker of some type, it might be harder to accomplish, but it can be achieved. One thing you can do is talk to them as though they’re giving you back what you’re giving them. That is, you be nice and cordial to them, even if they don’t react in the same way. Over time, you could work them into at least treating you nicer than they treat everyone else. Or you could try treating them exactly how you feel they’re treating you; some people don’t notice how they’re projecting themselves, and sometimes seeing it for themselves will make them come around.

Or you could try this; ask them what their problem is. Maybe you don’t ask them that directly (though you could), but you could always ask them if something is wrong. One of two things will happen. Either they’ll say nothing is wrong, in which case you’re now open to say “Well, it seems as though there’s something wrong” (or something like that), or they’ll appreciate that you asked and tell you what’s wrong. Either way, at least you’ll have found a way to help break down the wall.

The main thing you always want to make sure of is that someone else’s bad mood doesn’t change your mood. Studies have shown that it’s easier to allow yourself to be angry than happy. It seems odd to think that it takes a lot of work to be happy, but that’s the way it is. Many of us allow the actions of others to alter ours; if you don’t believe me, notice your reaction the next time someone cuts you off while you’re driving.

Strive to stay positive, and if you have to bring someone else along kicking and screaming, so be it. Of course, you could just try ignoring them, but what fun would that be?
 

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