The office social environment can be pretty tense at times. Whether it’s because they “forgot” to include you in that last round of coffee or forwarded the address of your personal blog to your boss (specifically the entry where you likened them to a fascist dictator and/or admitted to snogging their spouse at the last Christmas party), chances are there’s at least somebody in your workplace that you hold some kind of grudge against. But what’s the best way to defuse such situations? Below are a few of my highly professional suggestions.*
5. The Grown Up Approach (AKA Apologising)
The most boring but, sadly, usually the most effective. Try and start a conversation with the person in question (and if this starts off as an email exchange be sure to follow it up in person for face to face sincerity). Suggest where you think went wrong with your harmonious working relationship before discussing what you think you can do to repair it.
4. The Passive Aggressive Approach
You can’t quite bring yourself to fully take the moral high ground? Then good news! Being passive aggressive means that you can superficially appear to be making a flimsy effort to fix things while still spitting out almost as much bile as you would have done had you still been fighting. Just be careful not to get too enthusiastic; you don’t want to cross the line into a full on aggressive approach. For instance, “accidentally” putting a snake under your co-worker’s desk would probably be going over the line.
3. A Duel
If there’s simply no hope of reconciliation then there’s always the gentlemanly option: a good old-fashioned duel. This is best instigated with a hearty slap in the face, preferably with a glove although you may not have one to hand (I apologise for this heinous and yet honestly unintentional pun). For expedient resolution, it’s an excellent idea to have the duel somewhere in the office and utilise the numerous improvised weapons than can be found therein (paperclips can be deadly). However, it’s probably best to establish at least some ground rules (and agree to use non-fatal techniques).
2. Get an Office Linebacker
The video explains this far better than I ever could. With someone like Terry Tate keeping the peace in your office there’d never be any disputes in the first place (although I wish we had an equivalent for London meeting rooms.)
1. Nerf Gun Battle
As shown by the video, this method of resolution is excellent for large scale and/or cross departmental disputes. The use of Nerf guns means that people are unlikely to get hurt no matter how much they get shot, and really tests your survival skills (more so than working in an office does normally anyway).
*Ella can’t be held responsible for you losing your job as a result of attempting to utilise any of the following suggestions.