1. Think before you speak. Allow yourself a pause to consider how your words could be perceived, and to prevent yourself from making hasty comments.
2. Consider the other person's viewpoint and acknowledge it. For example, say: "Wow. I see how your neighbor's behavior could be annoying to you."
3. Consider cultural differences and try to act in a sensitive way without being asked.
4. Be discreet For example, correct someone in private, or pull someone aside to tell them about the spinach in their teeth.
5. Be gracious even when you're irritated. Keep your cool and speak kindly and sincerely. Assume the best. For example, if someone gives you an ugly sweater, say: "Thanks so much for the present. I'm touched you thought of me."
6. Deflect negative comments.
-- Gently correct gossip. Example: "I'm sorry you heard that about Jane Doe. When I spoke to her, she said that it was just a rumor about her getting fired."
-- Say something non-committal. Example: "I've never met John Doe, so I wouldn't have a clue about his drinking habits".
-- Say something positive. "Mary Sue may be late a lot, but she does really good work." or "Bill Jones has always been civil to me personally."
-- Change the subject. "You know, your comment about the boss reminds me of something. There's an office party coming up, right? Are you bringing anyone?"
-- Say nothing.
-- Ask the person nicely to stop. Say "I'm really not interested in gossiping about our neighbor", or "I'd prefer not talk about that in the office."
7. Think of positive things to say . If your office is chaos, and someone asks you how it is, comment on your nice cubicle mate or an exciting new project.
8. Be neutral if pressed. If asked about the tenor of your chaotic office, say "It's very busy", or "It's higher-paced than I'm used to".