Home » How to Handle a Coworker Who Ignores You? 8 Effective Strategies

How to Handle a Coworker Who Ignores You? 8 Effective Strategies

Having good teammates at your job is a real blessing. Even if you love your job but don’t have supportive coworkers, you will never be truly happy with the work environment, which will affect your productivity.

However, not all coworkers are cooperative, and if you have one or two of them who constantly ignore you, it can be disconcerting. Human beings are wired to fit in. Hence, when you see someone continually ignoring you, you start suffering from self-doubt.

Maintaining a professional and cordial work environment is everyone’s responsibility. Sadly, not everyone thinks that way, and your coworker might not even be aware that ignoring their colleagues makes things difficult for the entire team. Finding the underlying cause can relieve the tension between you. It might establish the foundation of a steadfast professional relationship later.

Handling your coworker who constantly ignores you needs some effective strategies, as ignoring them back is not a solution to the problem. Stay with me as I discuss the strategies in this article.

Reasons Why Your Coworker May Be Ignoring You

Reasons Why Your Coworker May Be Ignoring You

There are several reasons why your coworker may be ignoring you. But since they are not communicating, you just have to take a guess. However, figuring out the reason for such avoidance may help you find a solution to the problem. Here are some of them.

  • Your coworker is jealous of you and does not take well to your performance.
  • Your coworker may discriminate because of your race, ethnicity, or gender orientation.
  • Your coworker could be insecure and see you as a threat.
  • Your coworker is too self-centered and is only concerned about themselves.
  • Your coworker is giving you the silent treatment because of something you may have unwittingly done to offend them.

Signs that a Coworker is Ignoring You

The most obvious sign that a coworker is ignoring you is that they won’t talk to you. They do not greet or acknowledge you as they do with everybody else. They do not invite you for drinks after work or applaud the rest of the team when you perform well.

They only give short and curt replies when you ask them a question, and they try to avoid working with you at other times. They also do not engage with you during team discussions.

They pass you in the corridor or at the coffee machine like they do not know you. All of these are telltale signs that a coworker is ignoring you, and if it affects you deeply, you should adopt some strategies to take care of the issue.

Strategies to Handle Coworker who Constantly Ignores You

Strategies to Handle Coworker who Constantly Ignores You

The first thought you will have when your coworker ignores you is that something is wrong with you. However, do not despair and assess the situation calmly. Here are some strategies that may help you.

1. Do Not Act Hastily

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and act hostile when your coworker ignores you. You may feel tempted to confront your colleague to get some answers. However, that isn’t the right step to take. You have to consider a few things first to ascertain the situation.

Maybe the colleague is going through some difficult situation on the personal front, and they are too preoccupied. Does the coworker only ignore you, or have they been behaving like that lately with a few others as well?

Maybe they are just too tired from the workload. If you have joined work recently, they may feel they just don’t know enough to talk to you. Assess all these factors before taking any action.

2. Take the First Step

Take the First Step

If your coworker keeps ignoring you even after a few months, you should take the first step to start communicating with them. Giving them the silent treatment will not do anyone any good.

The actions may hurt you, and you may perhaps feel a little embarrassed because your colleagues have noticed you are not well-liked by someone. Yet, keep those feelings aside and take a genuine step by approaching them first.

Be polite and ask them if you can talk to them for a minute and ask if you have done something to offend them. In all probability, they will give you some reason, and you can take the conversation forward from there.

3. Consider Your Recent Conversations

You may have had some conversations, however minimal, with your coworker in recent times. They may have told you something during those episodes or hinted at some issue.

Go through those conversations to figure out if there was something that might give you a clue about their attitude towards you. Or was there some heated discussion about anything, after which they ceased communicating with you?

In such cases, you can take the lead and try to resolve the issue. Suppose you were unwittingly rude to your coworker at some point. In that case, you might also take this opportunity to apologize, and then both of you can move past the issue.

4. Make Them Feel Heard and Seen

Make Them Feel Heard and Seen

While your coworker may behave like you don’t exist, you can do the opposite and make them feel noticed and appreciated. Applaud when the boss praises them for a task or congratulates them if they contributed significantly to the team with their ideas.

It will induce them to think that you have no ill will against them, and they might open up more. Even if you never become best friends, it is enough if they put their guard down, let go of their misconceptions about you, and start speaking to you politely.

5. Handle Negative Behavior

Chances are that when you try talking to your coworker about why they are ignoring you, they may simply put up with more resistance. They may either give you a rude response or continue with their silent treatment. In both cases, it is easy to get offended. However, never respond to bad behavior in an equally rude manner.

Keep calm and try reasoning with them. Do not let others see you misbehaving. Be the bigger person and simply let the matter be if they do not want to open up to you.

6. Offer to Help

Offer to Help

An excellent way to reconcile with a coworker is to offer your help. Do not try to give unsolicited advice, but let them know that they can approach you if they need anything. Being approachable means leaving the gates of communication open.

If they see that you are willing to help, the coworker will no longer perceive you as a threat. You can also be helpful to other team members. Once the coworker sees that you have been accepted by everyone else, maybe they will also relent.

7. Evaluate the Situation

Try to evaluate the situation as neutrally as possible. If your coworker is rude and obnoxious, then you can do nothing about it. Maybe they have behaved this way with some other coworkers in the past.

They have disliked you for some reason, and you can do nothing about it except ignore it. If all communication efforts fail, let the coworker be and only carry on a minimal conversation during group meetings. Sometimes, compromise is the best thing you can do in such situations.

8. State Your Boundaries

State Your Boundaries

If your coworker keeps ignoring you, do your best to remain cordial during team events and while collaborating on projects. However, suppose they try becoming passive-aggressive or slowly start trying to influence others against you. In that case, you should also become more proactive and take matters into your own hands.

If they are openly rude, try to put you down, or manipulate others against you, then tell them about your boundaries. State that you will not accept such behavior and may even have to take things to the management or file a complaint with HR if they keep getting in your way.

Why Maintaining Good Relations with Coworkers is Important?

Maintaining cordial, professional relationships with your coworkers is essential for the betterment of your organization and your respective careers. Being a team player can help you evolve into a better leader.

Knowing how to handle coworkers who ignore you, you can tackle similar situations later in your team when you attain a managerial position. By maintaining good relations with your coworkers, you can keep many work-related problems at bay. Open and honest communication is the key to solving issues and can help build teams.

It isn’t always possible that you will have a great relationship with all your coworkers. But it is possible to remain cordial and professional at all times, and the responsibility to do so lies with everyone.

Hence, if one of your coworkers constantly keeps ignoring you, it is best to let them be after a point rather than being rebuffed whenever you want to make things work.


If a colleague ignores you and constantly makes things difficult, coming to work will seem like a bother. Something on your mind will keep distracting you, and you will always feel uncomfortable around the coworker. However, it would be best not to let it affect your mental health.

Try to promote healthy workplace behavior as much as possible and then let it be. The coworker may come around in the future. But even if they do not, you remain steadfast about your work and respectful towards all your colleagues.