The One Way to Strengthen (or Repair) Things with A Co-Worker

Just ask for their advice.

Allow us to explain. We've all had a quarrel with a co-worker at some point. Maybe not a total falling out, but definitely some tense words here and there. And everyone wants to know how to fix it.

Picture this: you’ve just had a very intense meeting with your boss. You messed up. And you’re frustrated, perhaps because you know you made a mistake. Stiff words are exchanged, and you awkwardly avoid each other for the rest of the day.

But there's nothing worse than feeling weird around your boss or co-worker. You're stuck in the same room together all day. it's not unlikely you'll be working on the same projects.

It’s not productive, and it’s definitely not comfortable. Repairing your relationship will only benefit both of you. So what do you do?

You ask for their advice.

It sounds simple, but it's so effective. Ask your boss, or co-worker, or whoever you’re feuding with, about a problem—it might be professional, or if it's appropriate, even about something outside work—you might be having.

Think about how nice it sounds when someone says, “I need your advice”. More than nice. They’re telling you they respect you. They value your opinion. They're thinking about basing some of their decisions on your perspective and experience.

Asking for someone’s advice is a huge compliment. And it's very different to asking for a favor. Asking for advice by using a phrase like, "I need some help thinking this through", shows you're willing to to tackle the problem yourself—but that you think their input is valuable.

Generally, it means you're not asking for time or commitment; you're just showing your colleague you appreciate their judgment.

It doesn’t have to be anything serious. Maybe you can't decide on a PowerPoint template. Maybe you're wondering why anyone still uses PowerPoint. Maybe you just want to complain about your partner. But whatever the topic is, it's a great way to connect to someone, and instantly build on and and repair that relationship.