How to Express Your Feelings in a Professional Way at Work


Workplace emotions are very often ignored in the interests of remaining professional, but keeping your feelings hidden can only make them worse. When repressed, feelings can grow and cause more problems than if they were addressed at the onset, when they tend to be smaller. Most people have conflicts with their coworkers and need to find a way to express their feelings professionally. Managing emotions can be done with some forethought and attention to the inner workings of the mind.

Expressing Your Feelings to a Coworker

  • Identify what feelings are bothering you about a situation. Don't let them escalate until they become out of control.

  • Arrange to meet with your coworker for a discussion. Meet with your coworker in a quiet place where there is no possibility of being interrupted. Make sure there is time set aside to fully express your feelings.

  • Be honest, direct and specific when expressing your feelings. Objectively describe the situation. Express your feelings using "I" statements. Tell the person what you would like them to do. Relate the benefits of the coworker changing his habits to accommodate you and the possible negative consequences to you both if he does not. This should not be aggressive, but expressive.

Managing Specific Feelings

  • Recognize if you are feeling frustrated or irritated. This is usually accompanied by a feeling of entrapment. Evaluate the situation for why you feel trapped. Be specific. Write it down. Try to find something positive in the situation. Try to remember the last time you felt frustrated or irritated. Things likely worked out well that time, and they will likely work out this time, too.

  • Recognize your worry and nervousness. Try to disconnect yourself from the anxiety producing things in the office such as the office gossips. Remove yourself from as much work anxiety as possible. Practice deep breathing exercises. Think of ways to help improve the situation instead of just worrying about it. Change the energy into a positive one. Keep a worry journal to let the anxiety out on paper.

  • Determine if you are feeling anger. Learn to recognize your early signs of anger and act to stop your anger in its early stages. Letting anger build is a sure way to make it worse. If anger is already building, take a time out and practice deep breathing exercises to cool down. Gain some perspective on your anger by imagining how it would look if you gave your anger free rein. You would not want to live with the consequences of that blow up and that may convince you to hold your temper.

  • Assess if you are feeling dislike for a coworker. Even if you do not get along with someone, it is important to still be respectful when working with him. Always be professional, even if he is not. Assertively set limits on unprofessional behavior by explaining how you will not stand for that treatment and calmly leave the situation.

  • Recognize if you are feeling disappointed in your job. Assess your attitude towards your work to see if you can change the way you feel about your job. Examine your career goals to see if you are on track with your goals and, if not, devise ways to achieve your goals. Keep a journal to record why your job is making you feel unhappy. Sometimes getting it out can help you work through it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't talk to others about the feelings you have regarding the coworker. Keep it confidential.

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