Problem with co-worker- what would you do?

sipsyJune 16, 2009

When someone at your workplace snubs you do you confront them and ask them what is wrong or do you ignore their behavior and just go on like nothing is wrong?

I have had a problem with this co-worker for several months now. I posted here about it and after reading your responses I tried to treat him like "normal", BUT I never confronted him and asked what the problem was. "Normal" meaning I spoke to him when we passed each other in the morning he mumbled back to me, but I kept it up then off and on times would come where I'd just say it's not worth it and not speak at all. Luckily, our job duties do not overlap much, but we do run into each other throughout the workday. Our workplace is small with only 5 other co workers. I have tried to be the bigger person and offered to help him with an occasional overload in his work. When I offered this- he brushed me off and wouldn't accept my help. He also avoids me every chance he gets. For the past few weeks I have tried my best to speak on every occasion our paths crossed and thought things would eventually get better but......

Now it appears that I have done something else that he is holding agnst me. As of this AM he is not speaking (mumbling) at all and is making smarty comments in front of co-workers when we are all gathered together that demean me.

I guess you could say it is a personality conflict granted we both have strong personalities.

It appears that he wants me to come to him and ask him what is wrong but I just can't bring myself to do it. It just goes agnst my grain. He is acting like a child and I refuse to reward him. I feel like if you have a problem with me come tell me and let's work it out-- if not get over it.

This has gone on too long and I am tired of it. While I hate having conflict I also hate giving in to a childish adult. Is there a way I can do this without saying to him "what have I done to you?"

Thanks for any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since you have already done one of the two (ignored his attitude), you really need to confront him.
What I would do is invite him out for a drink after work, ask him why he is having such a hard time with you. Sounds like he is a younger person from your post. A drink and sitting with you one on one may really help.
Hopefully this will break the ice. Tell him you really want to work as friends.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At our office we can get the HR person to mediate. I would ask your HR person to sit down with him and you and in a non-confrontational way, let him know how you feel. People don't respond well if you ask them what their problem is, only if you just say how you feel when he does ___________. Like, "when I cross paths with you and I speak to you it makes me feel bad when you don't respond to me." Your HR person should know how to set up a non-threatening atmosphere for you two to work through it. Also, by including your HR person, you are letting them know in a round about way, that this guy is not a team player and is making the workplace difficult.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a girl in the produce section of Walmart who hates me (?) never talked ill of her or anything...actually we don't run in the same circle and so I don't see her often but she has made comments....what i have found FUN to do....I soooooooooooooo can linger in the produce dept....espically this time of year...she will find something else to do when I am by I just go where she is! If she can ingore me I can make myself be seen...I have done nothing to her said anything so she either needs to confront me or start treating me nice!! Stacy

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please do not see him outside of work! That could cause bigger problems, with no witnesses as to who said/did what.
Get HR involved, or a supervisor.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If he is now demeaning you in front of your coworkers you do need to say something about it but I wouldn't take it out of the office into a social setting. If you have an HR person to intervene or a supervisor that you can discuss this with that's where I'd go. That way there is a third party to witness the interaction. I like Bigbaby's suggestion too.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it were me, I would walk into his office and ask if I could sit down and talk to him (puts you at his level if he's sitting). I would then say "I am completely baffled Bob, have I done something to offend you or irritate you? Because if I did, I am terribly sorry, it was not intentional." And see where it goes from there.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not ask him out for a drink. You need an unbiased mediator.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I may have given bad advice about taking him out of the office, but my thinking was, only 5 people in the office, I would be surprised if an HR person existed.
Most likely what Jodi has posted her would be a better idea.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think if someone was trying to demean me in front of the other workers, I would call him on it. Right there in front of everyone while he was making his comments, i would say: "Bob, you seem to have a problem with me, is there a reason?". Then be silent, he will have to respond. Everyone will see you were the bigger person and tried to be adult about it. I bet he'll get over it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been in your shoes. I did try sitting down with the person on more that one occasion and she denied that anything was wrong and said that she was just having a few problems. It didn't get better. It got so bad that all the co-workers noticed it. My boss suggested that we both sit down together with her. This went nowhere fast. She turned on the tears big time and I know the boss was feeling bad for her. Then one day, the co-worker had problems with yet another person and pretty soon another, you get my drift. Before long she would not talk to anyone at work and tried to blame everyone else. It wasn't long before the boss realized that she had some real problems.

In my case, the co-worker transferred to another office in a different town. Unfortunately, I know that she is wanting to come back because her drive is a killer.

I'm sorry I have no real advise. I know it can be very difficult to work with someone like this. I really don't understand why some people are like this. I'm not sure why some people like to make working a nightmare for others.

I would suggest that if you have an approachable boss, bring them on board. They need to know what is going on and could be very helpful to you.

Good luck and keep us posted. If I come up with any other ideas, I'll post here.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, if you've been here before with this same guy/problem, I guess the advice wasn't taken. If you REALLY want to know, ask him. Who cares whos acting like a child. Maybe you both are.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would suggest that you speak with him privately (not outside of the office, but not in front of people, either) and tell him firmly (not rudely but not passively) that you don't know what the problem is between you two, that he can share that with you if he wishes, but what you absolutely will not tolerate is his rudeness toward you or disrespect of you with others. Put him on notice that it is not acceptable. Make it short, and finish by tellig him that, if it continues, it will be addressed by "xxxxx" - whomever is the person in charge. Again, not rude, not threatening, not nasty, just calmly and firmly. Then I'd say something like "if you want to discuss it with me, please let me know", then walk away.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would ignore him~~~I do not care if people talk to me or about me at work I just do my job. The others know he is an ass so I would leave it alone.


I have been know as a beyotch at work so maybe my advice is not to be take:)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 10:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I totally agree with Linda117.

If he makes another snide remark in front of your coworkers, call him on it, just as Linda said. Put the ball back in his court.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm a very easy going person and never had problems with co-workers. I have a bad temper however when provoked and it sounds like you need to get mad and let the chips fall where they may. It sounds like he's a passive aaggrsessive bully and I'd call him on it in front of whoever happens to be there. He likes you kissing his ass and will continue his behavior until you call him on it. When I had trouble with a coworker I sat down the night before and wrote a letter about what I'd like to say and then slept on it. When the opportunity presented itself he didn't know what hit him. However it happened when we were alone so I didn't embarress him in front of anybody. Get mad and unload on him. Good Luck it always worked for me.
Go in mad and just wait for him to set you off.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 3:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd confront him since he has made it public in front of the other employees. Next I'd just say,"Idon't know what your problem is. I know of nothing I have done to cause you to be so hateful to me." Tell me what the problem is and let's get it behind us.
If he just keeps being smart with no response, I'd tell him," my mistake, I thought you had a problem with me. It's quite apparent you just enjoy acting like an a$$." Then I'd walk away.
This may be a controlling thing for him OR he's interested in you but at some time you snubbed him and his ego is all bent out of shape.
I would have just ignored him but not now with him putting you down with fellow employees.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 4:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Marcia Thornley

Go to your boss. Tell them about how you feel and that it is affecting productivity in the office. Then if nothing else happens, ignore the person. You have done your part. Your boss can handle it from there. I have seen this twice in our office. We are also small, just six people. Two times people have left after making their rounds through the staff and one by one picking on them. Some people are not happy unless they have someone to hate. They try to gain control by making fun of and intimidating others.
Just ignore it and work with your boss or HR person.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The next time there's a group setting and he says something demeaning about you, just calmly ask him why he feels it's necessary to make a comment like that. He'll probably stammer and deny he intended to be rude. However, since others will have heard the dialog between the two of you, he'll likely be on his best behavior from that point on.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since he has started to undermine/demean you in front of your co-workers I also would confront him right then and there. I wouldn't sound mad or angry. Just ask him what gives him the right to say such things to me. If he feels there is a problem working with you, then maybe we should take it up with HR. But the comments are going to stop right now.
Do you think he is trying to make you look unprofessional some how so that he can get your job or something to that effect? NancyLouise

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a somewhat similar situation in a small office. I finally found out what the problem was. The co-worker felt threatened by me taking on additional work that overlapped hers, some of it "hers". She felt I was trying to "takeover" her job, I wasn't. I was just being helpful. There are also people that don't like to be sociable at work and discourage a friendly relationship. Who knows, we are not mind readers. Maybe he is worried about his job and if you do any of "his" work it would reflect badly on him. Maybe just one of those people that has to find someone to pick on. I would stop all offers of helping him, stop speaking to him unless it's about a work issue. When you get a chance quietly, in the office, ask him why he makes demeaning comments.(is he really doing this or you think he is) Tell him to stop, simply and quietly, business like,no feelings. He may be enjoying irritating you so don't show any emotion. Maybe you can ask another coworker what his problem is and what he is saying about you.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, it seems you have far more of a need of a relationship with him than he needs with you. Could that be part of the problem? No offense, but some have to be "popular" with everyone and possibly this is what's troubling him. You tried to be a bigger person by offering help, but perhaps the attitude of "bigger person" is coming across in a way you didn't intend. Maybe you're coming across as he's not doing his job, not doing it to your standards or something? You say you're a strong personality and perhaps you're not coming across as kind as you intend. Are you coming across like you're trying to boss him around? Very possible. Again, no offense, but can you live with a situation where you're not loved by all your coworkers? I'm sure you're intentions are good, but sometimes the delivery is bad. I'll admit, when I read that you tried to be the bigger person and do things, it really came across as arrogant to me. I suspect this is part of the issue.

Going to the boss because someone won't talk to you is pretty petty to me. I haven't really seen anything causing trouble in the workplace. Perhaps his remarks are because you're trying too hard? Maybe he's bothered by that.

Why not try giving the guy some breathing room? A friendship might develop or might not. But at least if you back off a bit, maybe it will solve the problem.

Since you don't know what's going on in his life, you don't know his intentions, but you're definitely coming across here in a noncompassionate way to me. Perhaps he's having tough times? Family issues? Financial problems? To have someone at work putting pressure on doesn't help. Give him a break.

The other option is whether there's someone who knows you both that you could ask if they have any idea. But the problem is whether they would tell you or not. Perhaps he's confided and they'd feel a duty to not spread it out.

I think it'd be nearly childish to run to the bosses over what has been said so far. Would certainly make you look like Mommy/Daddy, Jimmy isn't being NICE to me! And would only cause more tension in the workplace for everyone. Sometimes less said is better. Especially when there's the tension there clearly is.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not everyone wants to be friends with their co-workers. For some, job is job and friends are for outside of work. Co-workers do not have to be friends to be productive; however they should be civil and respectful of each other to maintain a pleasant work environment.

I agree with cynic, it seems very petty to run to your boss with this issue, unless it is impacting your productivity. If he gets behind in his work, it isn't your issue, and running to your boss would be akin to being a tattle-tale, unless it is a case of his backlog impacting your job. If this is the case, by all means bring it to boss's attention.

The other thing you might consider is that he has mistaken your friendliness for romantic interest and is trying very hard to avoid you for that reason. Most men are not very good at discriminating female friendliness from female romantic interest. I am not saying you have done something to encourage this, but men often misinterpret this stuff and his brush offs may be nothing more than his way of telling you he doesn't want to date you. I know it's silly, but it does happen.

I think the best thing you can do is to only interact with him as needed to complete your work and leave it at that.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you answered your own question in your post. You said (paraphase: if you have a problem with me, come talk to me about it -- otherwise, get over it). Why not say just that to him when he makes a disrespectfull remark to/about you in front of others. Makes your point calmly and puts the ball in his court. Call him on it!

Obviously, his actions are affecting your work, because you are here writing about it. You have to confront him, or it may become and "them and us" situation in a small environment. I don't agree with the people here who seem to want to blame you.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"This" Linda agrees with Linda117.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 4:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Marcy
The guy is being passive aggressive, and sometimes there is nothing you can do to stop the behavior.
It's a control issue, apparently he's a control freak,
feel sorry for him.
Take back control
Does he have any hobbies or interests to speak of?
I would find out what his interests are and engage him in a conversation, if you feel you must speak with him.
If that doesn't work try and ignore him, or joke back with him like his obnoxious behavior doesn't bother you.
He is pushing your buttons and knows it's working, don't let it.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When someone says something that is hurtful or demeaning, a good response is, "Does what you said/did to me just now make you feel good, because it didn't make me feel good." If nothing else, it will make them stop and think. Or squirm.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your job duties don't overlap, I say "who cares." I go to work to do a good job, be productive, get along with everyone. But...if there is someone who isn't interested in "getting along," they're on my short list of people I interact with. They can do their thing, I do mine. I'm friendly with my co-workers, some more than others, but I already have friends. The people I see at work are just that - people I see at work. I don't hang out with them after work hours.

Besides, the guy may have a huge load of personal stuff going on - divorce, illness, family issues, etc. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes to judge the guy.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am so happy to report that he apparently just got over "it" because yesterday he actually had a few words to say about the weather with me (LOL) after I said "Good AM" to him. Then, this AM he spoke to me before I had a chance to do so. Also, later in the day he had a work related conversation with me. I know that everyone will never "like" me, but it was just getting old because this had gone on for so long plus our office is so small. I am so grateful that I have a wonderful place like the KT to vent my frustration.
Thank you so much for all of your responses.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 6:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe he has some kind of bad vibe from the KT about his behavior!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tell him you have a bunch of Kt friends and they will jump on his puny bones and whip his scrawny arse!! (just kidding!!!!!) I have Never been good at situations like this so I am reading for helpful suggestions like you are!!! Glad that things are looking up for you.. I hope the best for you and just know that we all are pulling for you!! Best of luck on this one. (;-) I will keep you in my thoughts...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 8:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Moving to Ogden, Utah. Not Mormon. What can I expect...
Happy swap from Jacqueline
My swap from Jacqueline....such a happy package, with...
Guest room is finished.
About 3 weeks ago I asked for mattress recomendations...
Rose Pekelnicky
Best Bra you ever had.
I have tried every bra brand there is, and cannot find...
Drapes, 84 or 98?
Do you prefer your drapes hung near the ceiling (98)...
Sponsored Products
Mahogany Bronze Whitehaus WHFH-H4540 Kitchen Hot Water Dispenser
$249.00 | Blue Bath
Antique Brass Whitehaus WHFH-H4540 Traditional Kitchen Hot Water Dispenser
$249.00 | Blue Bath
Compamia ISP830-WH Verona Resin Wickerlook Dining Chair - White - Set of 2 - ISP
$199.99 | Hayneedle
Zephyr 36W in. Roma Wall Mounted Range Hood - ZRO-M90CS
$799.00 | Hayneedle
Casdon Kids Play Dyson DC22 Vacuum Cleaner - 624
$36.53 | Hayneedle
Treads Pillow Cover in White
$29.99 | Dot & Bo
Brushed Nickel Whitehaus WHFH-H4540 Traditional Kitchen Hot Water Dispenser
$249.00 | Blue Bath
Exaco Thermoquick 110 Gallon Wibo Recycled Plastic Compost Bin - WB110
$82.40 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™