Have you ever been incredibly pressed for a deadline, only to have a co-worker say something that pushes all your buttons and stresses you out even further? We've all been on the receiving end of stressful situations and unhelpful comments, but what can we do to make sure we're not the ones creating stress in our colleagues?
You can begin by never, ever saying these 5 things to a stressed-out co-worker who's already feeling in over his or her head.
1. "Calm down!"
In only the rarest of cases does hearing the words "calm down" actually help someone calm down. Generally, when someone is coping poorly with stress, telling him or her to calm down will simply aggravate the situation. They will be even less likely to gather their frazzled nerves. Often, the mere words stress them out more.
2. "You're getting too worked up."
Similar to telling someone to calm down, telling someone that they're getting "too worked up" or "too emotional" about something will only lead to their increased frustration. By discounting the emotions or stress of your co-worker, you're invalidating his or her feelings. We never know the stories of others, so we definitely shouldn't act like we understand them better than our own.
3. "You should just get it done faster!"
Although this should be common sense, many people don't understand that telling someone to meet a pressing deadline even more quickly will only exasperate the person trying to do the work. When a stressed co-worker comes to you for advice, definitely refrain from saying to hurry the job up.
4. "Oh, I totally understand. Remember that time I...?"
There's nothing worse than having someone attempt to tell you his or her own life story and struggles--and how they relate to the challenges you're going through--when you're swamped with work. Try to remain empathetic to that and don't bombard your stressed coworkers with anecdotes about yourself, no matter how relevant you personally think they are.
5. "Don't get so stressed!"
This, like many of the above, is one of those well-intentioned phrases that simply result in the opposite of the effect desired: Your stressed co-worker definitely does not want you to tell him or her not to stress. It will just stress them out more.