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The Antidote to Toxic Coworkers: Set Healthy Boundaries

In today's fast-paced work environment where companies increasingly rely on employees to work together as a team, your relationship with your fellow coworkers' matters. For many of us, we spend more time with our coworkers than our friends and family. Our work friends can become a second family and trusted confidantes.

While everyone experiences some conflict with their boss or coworker, toxic coworkers can impact your team or department's success as well as your mental health and how you feel about your work environment.

If you have uncooperative workmates or coworkers who complain about everything, there are ways to set boundaries and create a healthy working environment.

What Makes a Coworker Toxic?

While we all have coworkers we may not get along with, toxic coworkers can create a negative work environment that makes you miserable. Backstabbing, blaming, gossiping, complaining, and sabotaging other's efforts — these are all common traits of toxic coworkers, according to Harvard Business Review. They may also drop the ball on their portion of a project or purposely keep information to themselves and for their own advantage.

While these bad behaviors can seem like no big deal, over the long-term, these unhealthy ways of interacting can breed resentment and distrust, you may be less willing to share ideas, opinions, or cooperate when you are worried someone may undermine you. Not to mention spreading rumors and criticizing others creates negative feelings and excess drama, breeding a disrespectful culture.

Plus, these ways of interacting with others can breed and multiply through social networks like the workplace. For example, if coworkers in your office complaining about everything, others may feel like it is acceptable behavior, too. A 2016 study found that negative behaviors like rudeness can spread like a cold. Even moods like loneliness can cluster within social groups, according to research.

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