When you’re at your wit’s end with a challenging colleague and it feels like you’ve tried everything, well-meaning friends and coworkers may tell you to “just ignore it” or to “suck it up” and move on with your life. But suppressing our emotions rarely helps.





the first 10 paragraps of the article: https://hbr.org/2022/09/4-tactics-that-backfire-when-dealing-with-a-difficult-colleague and decide if the sentences below are

True or False?

1. Some people fantasize about telling their colleagues what they mean in an indirect way so as not to upset them.

2. Some people come up with a strategy involving hitting someone.

3. Some tactics we opt for have the opposite result from the one you intended.

4. If we accept our coworkers’ advice ”to suck it up”, we’re not angry about a challenging colleague.

5. When you refuse to talk about things that make you angry or worried, you might vent your frustration on your family members.

6. Unless you suppress your negative feelings, the blood pressure of innocent bystanders might rise.

7. When considering how you want to deal with a prejudiced colleague , you might want to stick to some universal values.

Key: 1F; 2T; 3T; 4F; 5T; 6F; 7T



  • to mince words – to be careful about what you say in order to be polite or not offend someone
  • at your wit’s end – so worried, confused, or annoyed that you do not know what to do next
  • to suck sth up  – to accept something unpleasant or difficult
  • to stew (informal) – to be angry or worried
  • incessantly – continually
  • to bottle up feelings – to deliberately not allow yourself to show a strong feeling or emotion
  • cardiovascular – relating to the heart and blood vessels
  • contagionundesirable contact
  • to harborto conceal hide
  • to stoop – if you say that a person stoops to doing something, you are criticizing them because they do something wrong or immoral that they would not normally do
  • to lash out at sb – to speak to sb or about sb very angrily or critically
  • to pit sb against sb – to make someone compete or fight against someone
  • obnoxious – extremely unpleasant

Practice Makes Perfect

Read the article: “New Guys” and match the words in bold (a-h) to their definitions 1 – 8 below.

It’s tough being the new guy at work. There are protocols to master, computer programs to navigate, desk locations to commit to memory. Then there are the social a) perils, best encapsulated by an old Onion headline: “Intern Strikes Up Friendship With Least-Respected Employee.” When Tolu Komolafe and Jesmine Omonori, both twenty-five, started working for Everplans, a tech startup in the Flatiron district, earlier this year, they faced the additional complication of living five thousand miles away, in Lagos, Nigeria. Everplans is a digital platform for end-of-life planning. Komolafe and Omonori had been hired as programmers through Andela, an organization that pays talented Nigerians to learn computer programming, then puts them to work, remotely, for international companies. Unlike most offshore firms, Andela encourages its people to b) forge close relationships with their new colleagues. (…) After months of working remotely, Komolafe and Omonori had just been flown in for an orientation. Neither had left Nigeria before. Komolafe is c) petite and d) peppy. She had her hair in long braids, and she wore a pink polo shirt and little diamond hoop earrings. Omonori is more reserved. (…) At around 10:30 a.m., Komolafe and Omonori e) aced their first f) hurdle: the daily “standup” meeting, which the tech team conduct on their feet, to keep it speedy. (Komolafe demonstrated a g) flair for office-speak by announcing that she was done—“but not done done”—with an assignment.) At eleven, it was time for the “new guy” orientation, an office tradition. Adam Seifer, the other co-C.E.O., explained, “When you start at the company, you’re the new guy.” In the orientation ceremony, the previous new guy meets the new new guy and h) teaches him or her the ropes. (…)

1.  to make an effort to develop a successful relationship with a person, organization, etc.

2. to do very well (in an exam)

3. to show someone how to do a job or activity

4. dangers or problems

5.  lively and full of energy

6. a natural ability to do sth well

7. small and thin in an attractive way

8. a problem, difficulty, or part of a process that may prevent you from achieving something


Key: a4; b1; c7; d5; e2; f8; g6; h3



Use the words from the exercise above to complete the sentences below:


1. You have a …………… for constructing robots.

2. She’s ……………. and so delicate. It was love at first sight for me.

3. Money is certainly the great ………….. for the plan.

4. Kate spent an afternoon teaching the new girl the …………… .

5. She was up all night studying, but it was worth it – she ……….ed her chemistry final.


Key: 1. flair; 2. petite; 3. hurdle; 4. ropes; 5. aced


Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


Should you date your coworker? Should workplace couples keep their relationships secret? And why are coworkers so often attracted to each other?



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