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Part II: My coworker ignores me and it is very cruel

Dear Office-Politics,

My company likes to move us around every 3 or 4 months. I was just moved after being comfortable somewhere else for 6 months, and was looking forward to a change until I realized the person beside me hates me for no known reason. She ignores me completely and it is very cruel. I say good morning and goodbye, have tried breaking the ice with her and she is cold and won’t look me in the eye. I thought at first she was just focused on her work so I tried to stay quiet but we actually depend on each other for help and the supervisor told me she was very knowledgeable and asking questions was ok. Everyone else in our role shares information and helps each other out, not in excess, but enough that there is a comfortable amount of social politeness in the work environment. But this person will not even look my way. The worse thing about it is that I knew her before in this office and she actually used to be nice to me, and she is nice to everyone else. She is very well respected and liked throughout the office.

People say not to take it personally but it is obvious that it is. The only thing I can think might be wrong is that this spot was empty previously and she had this whole area to herself and now I have moved in. I was sensitive to that at first because I knew that would be hard for her but now I am through being polite and want to get to the bottom of this. How should I handle it?

Coldly Ignored

OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY FRANKE JAMES
franke james

Dear Coldly Ignored,

I am very glad that you have written into our site for help. Marty Seldman and Rick Brandon have responded to your dilemma in Part I. I want to share my perspective with you as well.

I read her flip-flop behavior towards you as a territorial battle. You have invaded her territory and she is letting you know it. The ‘ignoring’ tactic that your coworker is using is indeed cruel. However once you understand it as a ‘tactic’ you will be much better armed to defend yourself.

The funny thing is that ‘ignoring’ is a classic technique advised by Family psychologists to ‘handle’ unruly offspring who are prone to outbursts. Anthony Wolf, clinical psychologist and author of Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall recommends using this technique.

The advice to parent’s goes like this: When your teenager is arguing with you, the most effective technique is not to argue back but to keep restating your position on the issue and then disengage. “No, you may not take the family car to your friend’s all-night birthday bash.” Teenagers are masters at arguing and will have the parent tied up in knots in no time, retorting with arguments like this, “You’re saying you don’t trust me not to drink and drive! That’s terrible. You don’t trust me. You’re saying I would go out and kill someone by driving drunk…”

All of a sudden the conversation has been flipped upside down and is now about ‘trust’ instead of safety. Yikes! How did that happen? Rather than arguing each point with your teenager, Wolf advises repeating your stance, disengaging by IGNORING their further pleas, and even walking out. As a parent I have to say this technique is one that I have used occasionally and find very effective. Wolf notes that this is a classic psychological technique. “You are extinguishing a behavior by giving it a non-response. And by responding positively to any instance in which they are more civil, you increase the likelihood of that behavior.”

So back to your situation. Your coworker is trying to control your behavior by ignoring you. Except you are NOT an unruly child prone to outbursts. She is not your parent. You are a coworker who needs to have regular conversations with her in order to get your own work done. I know I would find your situation very annoying and distracting. So what can you do to fight back?

1. Try this behavioral test: Ignore her
The ignoring is a manipulative tactic — but once you are wise to it you can protect yourself from it, and possibly even laugh at it. As the Game Designer behind the Office-Politics Game, I am going to suggest something a little unconventional…

Try this behavioral test for one day: Ignore her. It will help you to better understand the game she is playing. Even if she does not notice you ‘ignoring her’, you will gain insight into how much concerted effort it takes to ignore someone. And also how hard it is to play the ‘ignoring’ game if the other person doesn’t acknowledge it!

You will need to be a bit of an actor to pull this off. You really have to pretend she is invisible. To do this effectively you need to talk around her. You cannot look at her. And you must leave her written notes, because she is not ‘present’. It’s as though she did not make it into work that day. The thinking behind this is that people hate to be ignored. You wrote to us because you hate being ignored. Everyone does. Perhaps this lady is different and it won’t bother her… But my guess is she will find it very frustrating, and it may break down the ice-barrier she has constructed towards you and get her to treat you with more respect.

But if nothing else, I hope this test will give you more insight into the type of behavior your coworker exhibits — and act as a positive motivator to you to treat all of your coworkers with the utmost attention and respect.

2. Go to your Supervisor and request a Transfer
If the behavioral test doesn’t work (or it’s not to your liking) then I’d recommend shining a bright light on her behavior. But before you flip the switch, make sure you’ve documented it thoroughly. Just like the teenagers who can argue back, and turn things upside down and backwards, this lady is a manipulative Office-Politics player. You have to have your evidence clearly laid out before you go to your Supervisor and ask for a transfer.

Work can be a pleasure if you have nice people around you. Your coworker sounds miserable — but then even teenagers can be miserable for awhile, and then their behavior changes and you realize it was just a growth phase and they really are human after all.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics. Please let us know how things work out — we hate to be ignored!

Franke

Franke James, MFA
Editor & Founder, Office-Politics.com
Inventor, The Office-Politics® Game

__________________________________________________________

Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of Office-Politics.com. She is also the Inventor of The Office-Politics® Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.

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  1. 83 Answers to “Part II: My coworker ignores me and it is very cruel”

  2. FEEDBACK FROM COLDLY IGNORED:

    Thanks for acknowledging how it could be annoying and distracting as I cannot rely on other co-workers for this (she’s nice to everybody else – so none believe it when I tell them!)

    I have indeed employed the ignore tactic myself but it is hurtful and against my nature so I have returned to just saying the odd good morning and good evening since it just feels better for me.

    I remain vulnerable since her political position here is well rooted. Thanks again.

    By Letter-writer: Coldly Ignored on Oct 5, 2007

  3. Good to hear from you. I’m glad you’ve gone back to your normal behavior, but trying the tactic out — from my experience — really helps us have insight into how much negative energy it takes to be discourteous.

    Enjoy your good nature and feel sympathy for her. She has to live with that miserable attitude. You may enjoy reading The Power of Nice which I’ve reviewed on the site. It’s a reminder that being nice can reap many rewards.

    http://officepolitics.com/advice/?p=85

    Cheers,

    Franke

    By Franke James on Oct 5, 2007

  4. Hello coldly ignored. I also am being ignored by a coworker. What happened is this: He always jokes around with me, about me. He jokes that I’m always calling in sick and that I don’t have time on the books for it. Well, he just kept doing it, over and over. I have a lot of medical appointments because I have some medical issues that I’m trying to deal with. So, that particular day I was overly sensitive about it. I e-mail him and apologized. I should have just talked to him. He knows I feel terrible about it. He didn’t get in any trouble either. WEll, He still won’t talk to me unless he has to. I feel so sad as we used to be coworker friends. :(

    By also ignored on Nov 19, 2007

  5. Hi coldly ignored. I AM ignoring a coworker. It has been going on for a number of weeks and it totally drains me emotionally and physically. It is a lot of negative energy and a total waste.
    Since there are people out there like me, STOP IT!
    My coworker is very needy, craves attention, has to always be in control etc. I’m reserved, shy, unconfident and suffer from depression. You can imagine how this unhealthy mix turned out!
    Needless to say, a person who was once a pretty good friend is now my mortal enemy. He has recently moved to another part of the building yet we still need to interact at times for business and it is very awkward and stressful.
    I NEED HELP!!

    By Nunzio on Dec 15, 2007

  6. Hey….actually, I’m a pretty quiet and introverted person and it could just be that his “ignorer” isn’t an office mastermind but just shy and doesn’t enjoy small talk.

    It might not be a personal thing.

    By rachel on Dec 23, 2007

  7. “it could just be that his “ignorer” isn’t an office mastermind but just shy and doesn’t enjoy small talk.”

    AMEN! And as much as you might not want to hear it, you may have habits that your coworker would rather just block out.

    By Brooke on Jan 2, 2008

  8. I am being ignored at work – BIG TIME. This lady joined our office almost a year ago. She has a very strong personality (used to be a correctional officer). She sold stuff in the office for her daughter’s school. I bought something which I never received, and when I asked her about it, she said, “I don’t burn people, you will get your money.” Now it is almost 6 months later and I am invisable to her. I overheard her tell another coworker the other day, “Her laugh drives me crazy.” I have a cackly laugh. So I guess she notices me sometimes. I know it is a manipulative behavior. My other coworkers love me and tell me to ignore her. But, I hate this tension. I think about it at home. I don’t like it entering into my personal life. I just want to get a long. She is a very mean person. I love my job and don’t want to transfer to another job. Can I sucessfully work with this tension and not let it bother me. Is this possible. I don’t know. She is selfish.

    By Ida on Mar 9, 2008

  9. In the last 2-3 weeks, ive also noticed a co-worker who has been ignoring me too. Its horrible!! Im a nurse and she is an aide. I depend on her to help me with my job and she has been making things very difficult. She ignores me completely, when i ask her to do something she responds very negatively and in short words, she appears angry too when walking past me and will put her nose up into the air. At first, i didnt really care but now its starting to bother me b/c its been going on for a while. I just dont understand why she is nice to everyone else and helps them but treats me this way. Ive never done anything wrong to her and have tried to communicate in private but she went home instead. I did contact my manager and she told me i did the right thing by trying to confront her in private. My manager supports me 100% and told me to start documenting her behaviour if it affects the well being of the patients that we have assigned together. Its really sad to have to go into work all stressed out when i have to work with her. I even plan my schedule now on days where she is off work so i dont have to work with her but its ends up that we have to work together at least once or twice a week. Im going to continue to do my best b/c im good at my job and i love where i work. Im also starting to get paranoid b/c i think she is trying to gang up other coworkers against me? Does this make sense? If this starts to happen, I will probably transfer to another position b/c life is too short to deal with pettiness. However, i will lose the flexible schedule i have with this manager which makes me sad that i should have to leave b/c of this one bitter and miserable person. Im going to keep my head up high and continue to do the best i can. Im hoping she will stop this behaviour in time and we can get along in a work setting to help the patients. What causes people to act this way? Im a very sensitive person and it effects me emotionally when someone is this mean and cruel. I just hope my co-workers do not take sides. They know whats going on and have made comments like,”she is miserable and hates hates her job” or “you arent the only one who feels this way”. They say these things to me but yet they all get along with her and work great together. I dont know what to do.

    By anna on Mar 25, 2008

  10. This has been very interesting and helpful. Presently, it has come to my attention that a person I really do not have anything in common with, with the exception of work, has gone to our union to file a grievance against me because I do not acknowledge her. I find no reason to, and come what may, I will not change. If you do not like somone, I believe it would be hypocritical (at this juncture) to start now. In fact, now I believe it is worse with her running to the union for advice.

    By Ray S. on May 1, 2008

  11. I have been ignored by two of my coworkers and I feel misrable because I have been working in the office for a long time I never had such a issues, They are friends and some times they are asking every body to go out for lunch but they are excluding me and another girl, I was asking my self is it because english is not my first language that is why I have been isolated, I have been friendly to them respected them, I started ignoring them for a aday and talked back to them I am afraid if they turne every body that they like aginst me because that it what they have dine to the other girl who has been hired before me, please help what should I do? I do ot want to talk to my manager because I think if I do she might think I am a difficult and sensitive person, help me please?

    By nana on May 4, 2008

  12. I too am suffering from a coworker who is ignoring me & just plain being cruel. It was gotten SOOO bad that when we had a temp worker come in for 2 days, by the 2nd day they asked “whats his problem?” I will admit since Jan I have had ALOT of health issues along with my 19month old son & 7 month old son. Plus I had to have sinus surgery on 4/7 and was out for a week. However since my sinus surgery my health has drasticly improved! I havent had to miss anytime. This coworker though has made comments that I “have my nose up the bosses butt” and so worth. It is getting to the point to were it is affecting my home life & I cant sleep. I have spoken with my boss 3 times about this and everytime he has said “I will handle it.” I have applied to transfer to another Insurance agency however with the way the job market is right now jobs are far & few between. Can anyone suggest anything else I could do to try and make this situation better?

    By Croft on May 16, 2008

  13. I have been ignored by my coworker for 2 months now. She totally pretends like i don’t exist. If i am talking to someone else she joins the conversation but only acknowleges what the other person has said and pretends i am not in the conversation. On a Friday before the weekend she only says goodbye to my other coworker and makes a point of wishing her a good weekend whilst pretending i’m not even there.

    The thing is i know why she has started doing this. A couple of years ago she gave the same silent treatment to a new member of staff who she was supposed to be supervising, but because this new member of staff was quite poor and could not afford expensive clothes, my coworker took an instant dislike to her. This new girl ended up walking out because of the silent treatment she was getting. My coworker even sent me nasty texts about the new girl, trying to get me on her side. When the new girls replacement came my coworker didnt like her either because she had more experience. She starting talking about her behind her back to me and i made a stand and told her i didn’t much like her talking about ppl behind their backs. Now shes ignoring me giving me the same silent treatment hoping i’l walk out too.

    I know I probably created the situation by confronting her, but sometimes things just have to be said. I feel happier inside knowing I done the right thing and i’m not the nasty one.

    By libby on May 20, 2008

  14. I just got a new vehicle about a month ago. I did not strut into work and make a big huge deal about it like my coworker did when she got hers (calling the bank and car dealership from work to handle personal business, boasting, ect.). Well, what I actually got is a great big gas-guzzling truck. Apparently my coworker does not approve of it because the only acknowledgement she has made in any sort of reference is to go on and on to others in the office about how expensive her husbands truck is and the rising cost of gasoline. Ok, we can all attest to that-but I live about 1/2 mile from where I work, I do not have a long commute to and from. If I did, certainly that would have factored into my choice of purchase. She has seen it and seen me in it, you can’t miss it with the size of it but yet she has to play this headgame that’s been going on for about a month now. I know why…I am being paid back for putting her on the spot, the same way she’s always putting other people on the spot. She can dish it but she cannot take it. The other day I overheard her telling someone on the phone that she doesn’t get mad, she gets even. Hence, this game. The Big Truck That Doesn’t Exist. Because it is me-had it been anyone else she would be happy for them. It’s hard to pretend it doesn’t hurt, I sit with this phoney day after day and I can’t help overhearing her blow smoke up people’s rear ends. And it leaves me wondering why she can’t blow just one for me and say she’s glad for me that I got what I wanted? Because deep down she is a cold cruel woman, that’s why. Everybody thinks she is the cat’s @ss around there because they do not really know her and they’re not seeing her true nature.

    My situation sounds like many here: she puts herself at attention’s center and I am quieter and more laid back. I am not about to go find another job and leave for her so she can have the pleasure of knowing that she got rid of me because that’s what she does to people and I’ve seen it before. She was a H.S. cheerleader to whom the entire school bowed down to and now she she is all grown up. In her 50’s, a giggly flirt who backstabs, whispers secrets and behaving like a bored 1st grader who can’t sit still or keep quiet. She’s always talking even if it’s to herself. Who do you feel sorrier for, the people who must tolerate this behavior or her for not being able to help herself? This woman is a grandmother for Pete’s Sake!

    By Tired of her on Jun 1, 2008

  15. There is a lot of pain on this page. I too am ignored by my co-workers. Who knows why, who cares. I don’t care anymore. I have accepted their ignorance and their sad,sad coping techniques and move on. I am not there for them, unfortunately I have to spend 8 hours a day there and only about 5 waking hours with my kids at home. It does affect me and can bum me out on occassion.

    Let them come to you, don’t offer anything personal, only talk when business requires it. My boss gave me that advice because he also deals with their juvenileness. Good heavens, to not like someone for such superficial reasons and actually shun them, ridiculous!! There is no way they could know anyone so well as to do that, it is a split second judgement and usually wrong.

    Fill you work space with lots of stuff from home, and when they get to you, stare at your favorite pictures of your kids or whatever and remember the day you took the picture. Always try to go to a happier time and remember how good you felt and why you are really there doing work, to support yourself and your family.

    That’s what I do.

    By Painful Posts on Oct 2, 2008

  16. Ugh — I work with a woman that ALWAYS feels that she must be the center of attention. She is a cruel person who is very very judgemental and very negative and very rarely has anything nice to say to me. I will ask her how her weekend is….she never asks me. She goes to church every Sunday, leads a woman’s christian group and is very active in her church….too bad she can’t talk the talk and walk the walk and be nice to me; she goes out of her way to be nice to EVERYONE in the office but me….I too am a nice, yet more quiet individual. I think she is jealous of my happy attitude and good relationship with our boss. Here’s an example (This is silly) but EVERY time I sneeze, she will never ‘bless me’ but she will ‘bless’ everyone else — it’s really silly that I even notice this, but it hurts my feelings. I just decided last week to ‘let me light shine’ and not let her get to me so much. It’s hurtful though when she is so nasty to me, but soooo nice to everyone else. The meek shall inherit the earth…I suppose, but the obnoxious folks sure do make things difficult. I don’t know why people have to act this way — guess they have a mental disorder, seriously. Stay true to yourselves and don’t give in for these idiots. Keep your jobs and take care of our families.

    By Sick and Tired of Co-worker on Oct 5, 2008

  17. This page has given me so much hope, there are actually people out there that too go through what i have to go through every day of my working week!! Same story, there is this girl who blatenly ignores me, will have a full conversation, involving work related issues including planning and important issues to every one else, making eye contact with every one else in the room-except for me! I feel like such a nobody, sitting there, listening to her go on to everyone else, wondering how can she ignore me like this?!?! How can someone have such poor manners and social skills to exclude me from every conversation that takes place around the staff table?!? I began by being nice, then overly nice to her, asking her about how her weekend went etc, but now i just cant be bothered. Only thing is that im afraid to go to my boss as it’ll mean they’ll have to have a chat with her and then she’ll know i went to them about her, which might make her attitude towards me even worse! And she’s the type of person who if i were to approach her myself, she would act so defensive and would pretend not to have a clue what i was talking about. She’s just a mean person and i just want to get it sorted as its making me miserable.

    By Fed up on Oct 14, 2008

  18. It is good to see that others go through the same thing at work. Mine is a bit different from the others as I have documented evidence of ethics violations involving production/quality issues that were either enhanced or for the case of bad quality product declined. I found that scrap was being charged to my shift. Production numbers being lost somewhere were being blamed on myself. This has been going on for a couple years and I have brought it to my boss’ attention a half dozen times. I have requested from my boss that my co-workers reports, (we are supervisors on different shifts)be given to me. I believe my boss took some action with her because her first shift report is laying on my desk with bold letters saying “DAVE’S COPY”. However, I believe she was told more than she should have been and I was ratted out by my boss. When these reports started appearing on my desk, the cruel silence began. She will not talk and if I ask a question of her she snaps an answer back and walks away. She will not be in the same room with me, will not look me in the eye, and will not communicate anything significant going on within the department. My boss has been disappointing as he appears to have hung me out to dry and never returns emails that I send. What’s right is right, however, those in charge that deligate what needs to be done have to be trusted as well. I feel very frustrated over the situation and am quite obsessive compulsive with talking about it. I too have tried to ignore her, but everyone is correct that it is very tough. She is also very sweet to everyone else. She is well known throughout the company and her reputation proceeds her. She is considered a knife thrower so it bothers me even more because she has constant contact with the boss, who likes her quite a bit. So what’s the answer? Hang in there and get out when the time is right. It’s good to remember that they are just as miserable as you are when they are around you. They are making the choice to be mean-spirited. It seems to help to throw a bunch of kindness their way especially in emails that are copied to other people. It drives them nuts and you can’t be accused of stoking the fire by being nice. You can actually make the sincere effort of being nice though, it’s not your fault that they don’t want to accept it.

    By Doug on Oct 24, 2008

  19. I have been ignored by a coworker for over three years. We used to get along really well and talk every day. I really liked her. Then one day I came into work, passed her in the hall, said “good morning” and she didn’t respond. After a few days I talked to her and asked if I had offended her in any way because I wanted to apologize if I had. She said no. I said I felt like I was being excluded from the group (of people in the office I normally socialized with) and she said she could understand that but that everything was fine. I just went back to talking with her like I always had. A few months later I passed her in the hallway and said “good morning.” She didn’t even acknowledge me. The next morning I greeted her again and she responded the same way – she looked right through me like I wasn’t even there. At this point I knew what she was doing. I felt very hurt and confused since I, still to this day, have no idea why she ignores me. I immediately started to ignore her as well. What is the point – she wants nothing to do with me. I found out later that she was doing this to another coworker. He told me the story that she told at the lunch table about doing this same thing to two people at her previous job. When those women approached the ignorer she told them right to her face that she ignored them because she didn’t like them. The person who told me this story has left the company and one of the reasons he moved on is because of this cruel person. She is very snobby; she always talks with this tone, this I’m-better-than-everyone tone. She jokes and laughs with everyone else in the department. I don’t like coming to work because of her. She makes me very uncomfortable. I feel very stressed and nervous when I have to have any contact with her. We only exchange emails when absolutely necessary and my replies to her are to the point and nothing more. I have never gone to management about this because the manager wouldn’t do anything because they are a conflict-avoider. I have talked to others in the department but they don’t want to get involved with the issue. There are about 15 people in the department.

    By Terrie on Nov 20, 2008

  20. Ok. I have been both the ignored and the ignorer. I worked with 2 people at an old job that use to completely ignore me. They would speak to me if they absolutely had to, but there was always a rudeness in their voice. It really bothered me at first, but then I realized you know what not everyone likes me and I am ok with that. There were plenty of people that liked me and were nice to me that I tried not to let them bother me. I figured it was probably better they weren’t saying anything to me because I’m sure they had nothing nice to say and it only would have heated things up more.

    I have been the ignorer twice. I understand it seems juvenile and immature to some, but in certain circumstances there is nothing else you can do. The first person had an extremely strong personality. We called this person “Debby Downer” because they were always huffing and puffing about everything. I won’t bore with the details, but I found it easier to just ignore and not get drawn into this “woe is me” crazy world they were living in.

    The second person and I go way back. I started out with this company in a lower position. This was about 5 years ago. This person said completely inapropriate things to me and my friends/cooworkers. One of the times he went so far as to saying something to me in church when I was there with my boyfriend. I even brought it up to my then supervisor and she said “That’s just the way he is”. I had to let it go, though I couldn’t. It was disgusting!! I finally got out of the job and went to a new job were I didn’t have to see this person often. When I did see him I would force myself into and akward smile. I hated pretending to be nice. Evrytime I saw him I felt sick. I started to ignore him as best I could.

    A few months ago I took a new position. This person also works for this company, so now I see him a lot more. The first few months I was here I made myself be as nice as I could to him because I really needed the job. Once I learned what other people thought and the fact that my boss does not care about anything, he avoids conflict like the plauge, I decided I needed to do what was best for me. I completely ignore this person. I do not speak to him unless it is work related. If he has nothing work related to say to me, I look past him. The thing with him is that he is a creep, does nothing and gets away with everything. Ignoring him has been the best thing for me as he has finally stopped speaking to me. I go about my business and he goes about his.

    Maybe 5 years is a long time to hold a grudge I don’t know. I do know that from day one this man was a creep to me. I feel like ignoring him is the best thing I can do. The two times that I have spoken to him recently have not turned out so well. We have gotten into very heated arguments. I do not want to get introuble, I do want this job.

    I am sorry to everyone that has been ignored for no reason, I know what that is like. In some cases though it it really all you can do.

    I work for the US government. Anyone else out there that has understands.

    By Sam on Jan 26, 2009

  21. I’m still being ignored (see entry May ’08) and it’s been almost a year now. I think my ignorer was banking on me getting distraught enough to the point I would hand in my notice, like she did to another colleague. I havn’t and I’m not going to, because then she would have won.

    It hasn’t got any better, in fact its got a lot worse. She has manovered her desk to a degree whereby she now has her back to me. When she walks past my desk she makes sure she holds up an A4 piece of paper at eye level to ensure she doesn’t see me. She constantly trashes me to other colleagues. She has been to our manager and said that ‘she won’t play my games!’ I’ve regularly put right her mistakes (for the sake of the company) and think maybe the reason she ignores me is because she feels threatened by my ability and experience and lack of the same on her part.

    To Terrie post 20.11.08 – My manager knows about my situation but is also a conflict avoider, so there is no point talking to the manager about it anymore.

    By her own actions my other colleagues are starting to question the tales she has told about me. I’m at the point now where I just think her actions are unprofessional and pathetic. I know I do a good job, am a good person and thats what keeps me going. Give them enough rope… the rest they will do themselves.

    By libby on Feb 6, 2009

  22. I’m sorry to hear there are so many other people being ignored on this site! But its nice to know I’m not the only one! I recently went through a similar situation with a former supervisor giving me the complete cold shoulder once I got promoted. Franke’s words about the ‘territory battle’ struck a chord with me instantly and I can now understand a problem that has been bothering me for ages! Thank you for your insight! Its sad that people have to behave this way (especially when they are grown adults) but at least it is a real relief to understand it. Now I can finally move on.

    By Miss Anonymous on Feb 7, 2009

  23. I am glad I am not alone, there are a few girls in the office that make my life so miserable. They are trying to gang up on me and trying to flip it as though I am the problem. I have for the past several months tried to mind my own business, but it very hard when you feel like they are trying to sabatoge your life. I am not in a position to leave my job, I have even asked to be moved to another office to avoid any claims of being confrontaional. Any advice would be helpful….

    By TSP on Mar 27, 2009

  24. Ive been working in a laundromat for 16 years .The public is a very tough place to work for,sunday mornings people can be very nasty.they want me to open the place at 630 for them when we open at 700.I open at 7oo and they are nasty .I ignore them even tried having a talk with my boss about it,he just says they want to get their wash done so they can enjoy the rest of their day. Oh by the way he doesnt pay for opening early, Ive mentioned it to them but one customer just responded with well we are putting money in his machines . How should I handle this?

    By carol on Mar 29, 2009

  25. I work in a college where the saying is true that “academic disputes are so vicious because the stakes are so small”. Our new hire over the course of a year went from being friendly and collegial to cold and distant with colleagues (especially me) while still fawning over students.

    Many times I’ve had to wait patiently at her office door with an urgent request (and 50 of my students waiting) while she encourages a student to blather on about what they did last weekend. If “caught” alone she’ll look at her watch, her computer, anyone around, or start walking away while I’m in mid-sentence as if anything were more important than what I might have to say.

    In theory I am senior to her (I have tenure) but she’s already figured out that as a woman in academia she is virtually un-fireable, and in fact can wield a much greater power of complaint over me than I can over her.

    I disagree with the advice to “Ignore them too!” in some circumstances, such as mine. That might give the ignorer the excuse they need to treat you badly (“See I knew that he/she would be unfriendly to me eventually, which is why I was cold to them beforehand”).

    The coworker who is ignoring me is playing some kind of “moral high ground” game where they want to show the world how much more generous and “nice” they are, while in reality insulating themselves from the rest of their colleagues, and hurting our department’s free exchange of ideas and collaborations as a result.

    I also think she is miserable in her job and just wants to get out of there, but her ignoring behavior isn’t going to make things any better. Should I politely try to talk to her about what’s going on? (Especially when it seems like this “difficult” conversation is the kind she is trying so hard to avoid).

    By collegeprof on Apr 12, 2009

  26. I am so glad to know I’m not the only one being ignored! For the past month or so, I have been ignored by not one but two coworkers who I thought I was great friends with. I hang out with them outside of work but they have completely ignored texts I’ve sent, which is ridiculous for someone in their early twenties.

    Our job is all about communication and they completely ignore me at work. One is a superior and the other is an associate. If all three of us are working together, which is rare, they go off into a corner and speak in low voices, which I surmise is about me.

    I don’t want to bring it up to my manager as I’m not sure why they are mad at me, but it’s getting ridiculous. Luckily, one is leaving around August and the other may be transferring soon. I am trying to find a time to confront them individually, but I want to remain professional. The only problem is we used to be great friends. It’s a little different when it’s someone you don’t care about.

    By Angie on May 20, 2009

  27. I don’t agree that this ‘ignorer’ is just shy (as some of the comments have suggested)….. due to the fact that you mentioned she is nice and talks to everyone else in the office. That leads me to believe that it is intentional ignoring that is going on.

    I can relate to you, I too am being ignored. I work in a law firm which I joined a little over a year ago. I work as a ‘floater’ secretary which is covering for anyone who’s out. This woman is an attorney. I make it a point to be nice to everyone just because if nothing else it makes it easier. I have to do a lot of work for her department. Things were fine at first, but then all of a sudden, with no warning, she started harassing me. Checking to make sure I was doing something and doing things to basically make it so that I was only doing her work and she could keep me right under her thumb.

    One day she came out of her office and wigged out on me. Lucky for me another attorney heard it and went to the dept. head to complain about her treatment of me. Apparently something was said to her about it so now she completely ignores me but there is still that vibe in the air that, at any moment, she will try to get me doing something. I’m not saying I dont’ work, but i’m sure everyone stops to stretch every couple hours or so….I take a smoke break in the morning/afternoon (which is allowed) but I can’t even do normal things w/o being nervous of her starting trouble for me becuase of it. I get ignored by her and she is sweet as pie to evryone else. The thing that really sucks is that she’s a shareholder, so even if I were to try to defend myself, in the end, she will always prevail since she owns a share of the company and in their eyes, i’m just a lowly secretary who is easily replaceable.

    I have been trying for months to figure out the mature way to deal with it, and the only thing i’ve been able to do is ignore her as well, but the way people treat each other around here, it’s hard for it to not get really depressing. Not sure if i’m handling it the best way or not, but I don’t trust her to have a mature convo about it, so in my eyes that’s the best thing I can do.

    I wish I had some good advice for a quick fix, but honestly i’m lost on what to say about it. I guess ignoring may be the best way to deal. At least doing that doesnt’ give you the chance to do/say something to get you fired.

    I wish you all the luck with this situation :)

    By Amy on Jun 18, 2009

  28. I too am ignored by a woman who sits directly in front of me, for reasons unknown. I talked with my manager who agrees she has emotional problems and is a “spoiled” 51 year old. It hurts, but I have decided to ignore her back. She has been here for years and I have been here 10 months. My job gets me out of the office often while she remains at a desk all day. Possibly jealous? I have no problems with her and she is the one who started this childishness. While it is hard, I plan to continue working here. Maybe she will get tired of this eventually. She is overly nice to everyone else and icily ignores me and my husband, who she has worked with for years too! Any suggestions?

    By Lindalou on Oct 28, 2009

  29. So, my Director just gave a co-worker a car? Is that okay? Should I be offended? Should I worry about what else is going on as far as their working relationship? The employee who got the car doesn’t even fulfill her job responsibilites….it’s just so bothersome to me.

    By Terry on Nov 4, 2009

  30. While I am at this….the same Director that gave the car to her employee is also falsifying her credentials as well….in person and on the company website. I blew the whistle once and got nowhere-is this how it really is in the business world? Should I just turn my head when I see and hear these types of things taking place? It is so hard, when you come to work everyday and give 100% – and you share an office with someone who lies 99.9% of the time -I know she tells me what she thinks I want to hear, but I would really rather she tell me the truth as the Director and feel good about the decisions that she is making-

    By Terry on Nov 4, 2009

  31. Colleagues who play the ‘ignoring game’ think they are taking the higher ground. In reality they are merely highlighting their own demeaning childish behaviour by playing such a cruel and spiteful game. It is a shame their childlike behaviour cannot ‘grow up’ as they are afterall adults, therefore unfortunately is the answer; the adult has made an adult decision to behave like a child. Once an adult makes this concious decision, it is highly unlikely they will change their mind. If you are being ignored, my advice to you (as hard as it might be) is to carry on as if nothing has happened, do not under any circumstances be dragged into their game playing, do not offer them any information, personal or otherwise, try not to let it interfere with your work or make you depressed, do not resign…for ultimately this is their goal in ignoring you. I’ve had a few years experience of being ignored…. I hope this helps

    By libby on Nov 23, 2009

  32. Hey folks,
    I’ve experienced similar exclusionary tactics in my workplace. I was hired a few months ago and felt very comfortable with the manager that hired me. Just a little background info on me. I’m military retired (1997). I’m 52 years old, Bachelor’s Degree in management, average looking clean cut guy. I had been laid off from my previous job for 10 months before getting hired at the present company. I’m working in the IT department at a University. I have other skill sets as well as IT which I would prefer to work in but with a bad economy, it was nice to work again. The team I worked with at this company consisted of 5 individuals. A couple of times per week the manager would come around and ask to have lunch together. It was very nice a couple times a week having lunch with my boss and team and learning more about each other at a more personal level than just work related. This manager, I’ll (Mr.M) was very good at making his team work together. We also had weekly roundtable meetings that allowed each member to address issues for the week with each other and entertain new input and ideas. I felt just as important as the next guy. After working there for about 3 weeks, there was a company restructure. My team was split, me and one of my team members were assigned to another department working for another manager (Mr.D). Mr.M and Mr.D are friends as far as I know, at least they seen to have a good working relationship with each other as most of the managers do.

    Once I started working with the new team, Mr.D ignored me daily. I know that he did not hire me but inherited me from the other team. I certainly felt not wanted. I discovered shortly afterwards, the other member (J) that moved to this new team with me, were best friends with my new manager and have been for years. This team member J. started ignoring me as well. What’s very displeasing about J. is that he is responsible for my training. He does not explain things, nothing is documented so that I can possibly research and learn on my own, so everything I do, I have to ask him how first. This is tough when dealing with an individual that does not even turn his head to say good morning. I’m really not accustomed to this type of behavior. I won’t say I’m the life of a party, but I enjoy being around people and being courteous to them. This behavior has now been going on for a few months. I have not complained. In a bad economy and being unemployed for several months prior, I’m playing it safe by being polite, courteous, smiling, not complaining about anything to anyone, and of course giving them my best on the job.

    A month ago, another person was hired and added to my team (H). She was actually a rehire. She was laid off from this company a few years ago. From what I’ve heard, she used to be a project manager here, but her new position now is the same as mine. It’s a different type of work than what she did for the company before. When she was introduced to me and I welcomed her to the team, she said nothing. The manager also asked her to sit with me to train her on a few things, she always found a way to refuse or an excuse to not spend or communicate with me. So I basically leave her alone. J who was just promoted to supervisor spends a lot of time with her, training, and going to lunch with her just about everyday. They seem to be good friends from when she used to work here before. She plays the ignoring game as well, no good morning, good afternoon, and will spend the whole day without saying a word to me.

    I really don’t understand all this. I tried to figure this out from several angles. Is it my age? Most individuals here are in their mid 20s-40. Is it my education and experience? My manager and the newly promoted supervisor do not have college degrees. I have around 20 years of management experience, certainly more than the majority of individuals here, I don’t talk about it, but it’s on my resume. I’m just happy to be working. Is it my military background? None of these individuals come from a military background. My military experience was in the Air Force healthcare and very customer/patient relationship oriented. Not the unjustifiable stereotype that’s used to describe most of our military. I’m a nice guy, I work at it. Is it my race? I’m black, one out of 4 or five that work in this location with about 300 white employees. I’m not sure; most people here are nice, except for the couple of individuals I work directly with that I talked about here. That’s never been an issue in most places I’ve worked.

    My wife suggested that I bring it to the attention of one of the senior managers. Normally in a situation like this, I would have done so a long time ago, but with a bad economy and sour job market, I don’t like to complain. In fact, we had a skip level meeting a couple of weeks ago with a senior manager and voiced my only concern was the lack of training although I’m still able to do my job. By the way, I’m the most productive person on my team by a margin of about 300% literally. That’s easy to do when people ignore you all day and all you do is focus on the job.

    I know that I’ve been long winded here and thanks for reading. I’ve decided my best course of action is to continue to look for a better job and place to work. I’ll remain here and be as pleasant as I normally am until I find better employment, but if you have any other suggestions, I would certainly welcome them.

    By Mr. B on Dec 30, 2009

  33. It doesn’t bother me if people ignore me in passing, but it really irritates me when they are sharing your space and ignoring you. They are selfish people and often are lazy at work too.

    By boredgal on Dec 31, 2009

  34. Re: Tired of her on Jun 1, 2008

    Here we are a year and 1/2 later and this situation has not changed one bit. Not only has my vehicle come up in conversation countless times in the presence of my co worker but I’ve just about run her over with my truck on more than a handful of times. 2 weeks ago I said something to her about it, that I was behind her friend who she’d waived to and I was waiving as well. She had all she could do to respond “I just don’t look for you in a truck.” Change the word ‘don’t’ into ‘won’t’ and there you have it. Not only does it not exist but when I am in it, neither do I….even if I am speeding directly at her!! It isn’t just this, it’s everything and I could go on and on. There are times when I am speaking directly to her and am forced to say her name to get her attention, sometimes more than once. I guess it’s supposed to be embarrassing for me but I don’t understand why it is not for her because clearly this behavior is reserved only for me, she does not d treat others this way. What’s worse is she’s probably the most well liked person in the entire workplace and not just within the department. I am noticing that others are beginning to mimic her and that worries me … If the most popular girl decides to reject you this sets the tone for how you will be treated all around because everyone wants to be part of the IN crowd and they will blindly follow suit. Sadly, the ‘it girl’ realizes this and will make another person’s life a living hell on her own little whim anyway-unless an individual has ever been on the receiving end of this, they will not know what it is like. All to easy for a boss to dismiss…who would ever suspect the nice-as-pie in-girl to ever be capable of such a horrible thing, and who are you to accuse her??? The roles become reversed in the eyes of management–you are the instigator and she is the victim of your accusation! Go there with this and watch her laugh at you with her sly little grin because you just made an ass of yourself and this game is not over by a longshot. Google the term ‘covert-aggressive’ and see if the description matches your troublemaker.

    For myself, I do not disclose personal information in the workplace anymore because it is nothing but ammunition for another round of her game whenever she feels like it. Unfortunately this impacts relating to others as well, if they are part of the ‘fan club’ then they will unknowingly compromise anything disclosed to them. It’s difficult not to resent them all but they do not know they are being manipulated and they won’t believe it even if it’s pointed out to them. I’ve put up a cold front and I do not let it show that it bothers me. I’ve considered leaving, but what would be the point? This type of thing happens everywhere and in another senario I could be one of the unknowing contributors for someone else. I feel for the others in her immediate circle as she is a daughter, sister, wife, in-law, aunt, grandma, etc. to people who will likely never see this side of her … unless they cross her, God help them.

    By Tired of her on Jan 10, 2010

  35. I’m a little relieved to see this is common. But on the other hand it’s unsettling how many people have to cope with immature and unprofessional coworkers. I’m in a similar situation too.

    I sit 2 cubicles down from someone that I technically supervised for over a year, she hates my guts for lack of a better way to say it. It wasn’t always that way, we used to be friends, I liked her, I interviewed her and helped hire her! We work in a casual environment and everyone is usually very friendly and laid back. People joke around and we poke fun at each other sometimes. Well NOT ANYMORE. At some point I offended this person, I acknowledged this with her, I have apologized PROFUSELY more than once. She has decided that it is beyond apology. I have gotten the silent treatment for months now. She won’t look me in the eye, she puts her head down passing in the hallway and I get the sense she talks about me behind my back.
    Even bigger a problem is that she is otherwise popular in the office. She has a little clique of young coworker friends of whom I used to be on good terms. She is very manipulative and needs to be liked and is good at it for the most part. I am more reserved normally and am really not confrontational so I’ve let it be for so long. But now I’ve been completely ostracized.
    Being on my team and hating me, she never contributed much. She vied to get into another department and detested her position on my team as if it were below her. So through brown nosing and striving to get away she landed a position she isn’t qualified for outside of my team just in time to see my department get transferred across the country. She won, through all her high school antics.

    If you are in a situation similar don’t let that person get away with their behavior. Go to HR and complain that the person is creating a hostile environment. Karma is slow.

    By John on Jan 13, 2010

  36. I am a reluctant ignorer. For no reason I can determine other than that we attended rival undergraduate schools, a coworker of mine took an immediate dislike to me after I was hired and began bad-mouthing me and acting very controlling and authoritative even though he is junior to me (he is a graduate student and we both work in a laboratory). His bad behavior is well known around the department, and had existed long before I came; I am just one in a long line of people he rubs the wrong way. As a result very few people willingly have anything to do with him. He has not been fired despite many warnings because my boss is somehow reluctant to turf this otherwise productive student for being a controlling jerk, and apparently he will be leaving soon anyway. In the meantime, we all suffer until he leaves.

    This guy literally emanates hostility and seems to enjoy intimidating everyone. I have tried (a) being very very nice and sweet to him; (b) walking on eggshells; (c) accommodating his requests and (d) attempting to do things his way, and nothing has worked.. in fact, if he is given any such encouragement at all he latches on and increases his disruptive complaints. He has a violent temper and is prone to throwing things around the lab when he is upset. He is so controlling and weird that he even went through a garbage can near my desk tonight after I’d thrown something away, and removed my trash, for reasons I cannot even fathom.

    So my solution has been to utterly and completely ignore him. I don’t even look his way. When I pass him in the hall, I look right through him. I don’t include him on emails unless it is strictly necessary. I do not say goodnight or good morning. If he does happen to speak to me in a civil way, I reward him with smiling and eye contact and accommodate his request. Otherwise, I am civil but aloof and cold. I am friendly and helpful with other coworkers and get along with all of them well, except for him. I am sure he notices that I ignore him completely and perhaps he is upset by it, but he has brought this behavior on himself. I can’t wait for him to leave.

    I do agree that ignoring is rude, and that I am being rude by ignoring him, but sometimes it is the only way to get the point across to a person who is exhibiting control-freak behavior.

    By ignorer on Jan 20, 2010

  37. I am also being ignored by someone in the workplace. I work as a manager in a bar and she is one of the other managers there. Because I voiced concerns about the way she acted on a shift (in a very honest, diplomatic and professional manner) she has completely and utterly ignored me since. She is also dating another manager there (who evidently was one of my closest friends) and when she is on shift it is like I do not exist. I do not get spoken to, she looks right through me. Will not give me a handover when the shift changes happen. It’s all very childish but really starting to get me down. My general manager see’s this happening and has spoken to her about it and yet she continues with this behavior. Luckily every member of staff there dislikes her intensely as she has incredibly poor people skills and talks to people terribly, so they are all on ‘my side’ so to speak. But as a fully grown adult there shouldn’t be ‘sides’. It’s like being back at school. She also does things to make my job even more difficult, for example, not ordering enough change to get through my shift and there is no way for me to get any. It’s pathetic and my boss has told me to put in an official grievance, but I don’t want to do that because I can just see it getting worse and worse. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place!

    By SJ on Jan 26, 2010

  38. Although it’s painful, it is good to know that others out there share my experiences. I work in a union, government job. I started out friendly with a co-worker and over a vacation time disagreement (we both wanted the same day off) it developed into 5 YEARS OF IGNORING! We are still going strong in year 6 now. We do not talk at all – not one word, even on days when we are the only 2 people in the office. Honestly, it’s not me. I am very social, happy, and outgoing and talk to everyone else – he does not. For several years people thought it was me and that I was exaggerating this, but in the past 1 year he has started to ignore everyone, even the supervisor. But, because we are union, nothing can be done. Nothing. We all know the ignorers are lazy, grudge-holding, socially inept people, but it still hurts to be ignored, turned away from, have someone walk the other direction, or get up when you sit dow. When do these people get payback for how they treat others? I love my job but hate this co-worker, so it sucks. I just hope one day karma comes back and does a lot of damage to him. Maybe being a 44 year old single virgin male is already his payback :-)

    By Kelli on Mar 1, 2010

  39. My boss, happens to, also own the company I work for. We used to work together at a large organization were we were good friends and respected each other very much. When she opened up her small company, she immediately requested I come on board to join her. Sue also hired another girl we worked with who could be considered, rough around the edges, but who I also had a good relationship with. What started out as a great opportunity, unfortunately, has slowly turned into a nightmare. What I discovered about my boss/friend was that she was very manipulative and would pit my co-worker and I against each other. But the most annoying tactic she uses, which goes back and forth between us, is when she ignors us. The last time she ignored me, I asked her what was wrong and if there was something that I did. She hates conversations like this and simply told me that there was nothing wrong. However, she went out of her way to laugh and joke with everyone, except me and still gave me the big chill. After this treatment went on for awhile, I finally advised her that I wasn’t happy and would start to look for another job. My boss, did a complete three sixty and said she was sorry if it appeared that her behaviour seemed rude and things did get better, at least until now. My boss does a lot of travelling but will always touch base, at least once a day. She has been gone for 3 weeks and I haven’t heard a word from her. I have called, messaged, emailed and all have gone unanswered. However, my co-worker has indeed heard from her, but has not clued me into reason for the cold shoulder. I feel, my co-worker, gets some satisfaction when my Boss ignors me, because it means that she is in the good books, rather than me. I was going to send my boss a letter which is not confrontational at all. If I send this letter and it gets ignored, I guess it’s time for me to face the music and look for another job. It’s just not knowing where I stand or what I did that stresses me out. I’d much rather the straight goods.

    By Rose on Mar 9, 2010

  40. I have learned the hard way that it is best to keep one’s personal life and professional life separate. As a female working in an office with four other females, I find the backbiting and jealousy among my co-workers ridiculous. I was raised by a mother who told me “to be happy for others” only to realize I am surrounded by a pack of schadenfreude females. I am happy for them when they accomplish things, but the minute I do they look “put out” or angry as if to say, “Why is she able to do that when I am _________(insert one of the following: prettier, smarter, richer, more [or less] educated, taller, fatter, slimmer, etc.) than her!” Co-workers like these can exhaust you if you let them. By not disclosing information about my personal life with them and keeping it strictly professional at work, I have effectively ended the pouting/childish behavior that was directed at me.

    By Heidi on Mar 18, 2010

  41. I am glad to see that this does happen elsewhere. We run a special event in our office, twice a year. EVERY single time, we are about to kick off the event (which is very stressful) my coworker becomes a nightmare, and it always seems to be directed at me. We have different responsibilities, and she always seems to be overwhelmed with hers and becomes angry. Snide comments to coworkers can be overheard, mumbling complaints to herself, then she’ll start her ignoring tactics. It used to really drain me UNTIL one day she gave a little too much information about her background. She went on and on about how she could never measure up to her sister, how she always felt inadequate, how her mother favoured her sister – yada yada yada, crying and kleenex everywhere.

    That was the day I realized it was her own issues that made her so angry with me. My coworker is insecure, extremely emotional (cries often at work) and often speaks of her weight problems, money problems, family problems, and can not resist interrupting a conversation to talk about how it relates to her so that she is the center of attention.

    I am her opposite. I am secure with myself, I have been promoted at work, often asked to take on extra tasks, and I know that I earn more than she does, I am a single parent, and manage extremely well. I also can keep cool in a stressful situation – I am sure that the fact I don’t get wound up annoys her.
    For the most part, I don’t let her moods get to me anymore – it’s really not worth the energy . I do wish she would keep her personal life personal and learn to control her moods – it really does not make for a healthy work environment. Though I am able to deal with her – I am sure other coworkers must feel the tension. I wish management would talk to her – I think it will happen eventually as the moodiness is becoming more apparent to others.

    By Natasha on Mar 23, 2010

  42. I worked for a company for close to three years that was just horrible. People would go to my supervisor with lies. My supervisor would make promises he never kept. On top of it they had me commuting out of town and across the country on several occasions working up to 80 hours per week with the travel. I stayed there 2.75 years until they made up some bs and gave me a lay off.

    My new job is absolutely awesome. Except for the co-worker who now ignores me. She even interrupted me when I was talking to someone acting like I wasn’t even there. What I have learned is to document document and document… which is what I am going to do when I get off of here.

    I ignore this person now… and I do not give a crap what she thinks of me. I was unemployed for 15 months and dammit I am not letting her ruin this great step in my career. Hopefully we do not have to work together very much!

    By Dawn on Apr 4, 2010

  43. I do ignore someone at work. She is a loud mouth, obnoxious jerk. She pretends to be all sweet, nice and friendly to people’s faces, but I have heard her say some pretty nasty things about others behind there backs. I have been the target of these backstabbing sessions more than once. How do I know that? Because I have walked in on her complaining about me. In my opinion, she is not worth my time. I do not trust her or like her as a person. Why pretend? I am civil to her when work is being discussed, but that is as far as it goes. I know ignoring someone can be childish, but some people are not worth the time.

    By bca123 on Apr 5, 2010

  44. These people who play the “ignoring” game to coworkers who have done nothing to offend them all sound the same – insecure, idiotic, juvenile, attention-hungry, bad at dealing with conflict, etc. They sound like the clone of one woman with whom I work – and with whom I share the same office!

    For the past year, I have been at a job that I truly enjoy. I get along with all my co-workers and even hang out with a few of them outside of work. However, one co-worker, who is my only equal in position in the company, from Day 1 has done nothing but ignore me or, when spoken to, gives rude one-word responses, attempted to start and exclude me from a clique, talks over me, is nice to everyone but me, attempts to undermine me, attempts to professionally sabotage me, but is all saccharine when she needs something from me. After a few months of being nice to her I gave up because of her above behavior.

    It took me a few months to get over the hurt I felt from her behavior – a lot of “Why me? What did I do to her?” I discussed the situation with a trusted mutual acquaintance, who explained to me that her behavior towards me isn’t unique – she is a fundamentally miserable and unpleasant person, and her supposed group of friends don’t like her because she is a negative and “fake” person.

    I realized that my solution is to not let her behavior affect me. So I consciously tried to get over the hurt; I can’t take it personally that she doesn’t like me, because she is fundamentally a miserable, unlikeable and unhappy person. The conscious thinking became an unconscious habit once I observed what she really got mad about when it came to me.

    For instance, she was upset that I had “upstaged” her at an office event, where people talked to me but not her. She was upset when she found out that I was looking to buy real estate, because she has substantial debt. She was upset that I was dating. She was upset because I was exercising and had dropped a few sizes. She got upset at anything that made me “look good”, and anything positive that was going on in my life. She really is a mean-spirited and hateful person. But I take her hate as a compliment, because she hates me for being ME. And I like who I am – I like that I have positive things going on in my life! She clearly views me as a threat because she can’t make me miserable and “lower” than her. So I guess if she hates me, it means I’m doing something right!

    So my advice is: the person is likely not ignoring you because of your behavior (and if you think it is because of your behavior, ask someone you trust if it is so). The person is likely ignoring you because that’s the way they cope with threats to their territory. They are insecure, unhappy and miserable, and enjoy spreading misery. They want you and your work to suffer, and they want you to stay awake at night crying/worrying. They want to dominate you. Don’t give them that satisfaction! “Embrace” their hate and realize that you are doing something RIGHT, which is why they hate you!

    On a side note – I thought that my coworkers had been suckered into thinking that my would-be “torturer” was a nice person. I was wrong. I confided into one coworker about my year of “torture”, and she said that she wasn’t surprised at her behavior towards me because she has overheard my coworker verbally abusing her family on numerous occasions. The truth has a way of coming out.

    By Christie_Anne on May 2, 2010

  45. Tell them where to go and move on

    By Bill on May 5, 2010

  46. i have been ignored by a coworker for a few months. We used to be really close, he is a guy, im a girl. He was single (casually dating), and I was single (yet dating my bf). He used to tell me about his dates, and his extra circular activites, we were close as friends. The moment i told him I got engaged, 2 months later he got engaged to some random girl. I was happy for him, hoping to share the same experiences. I set my wedding date, he set his wedding date few months before me. I was still happy for him. 2 months before his wedding, he stopped talking to me. He Ignores me like a plague. I have NOT done anything to him. He picks at my mistakes when he can get a chance, and has become my biggest enemy. He talks to everyone esle except for me. I say hi to him, he mumbles something back. I tried talking to him and tried to apologize. He got even more defense. I just told him one day your behavior is unproductive. And now, his behavior is even worse. I cant wait the day he leaves. I have a feeling he doesnt want me to meet his wife, cuz i know this guy not the greatest gentleman.

    By Rstar on Jul 1, 2010

  47. well I have a friend that went too training too another state and at first he was getting along great with all co-workers but ever since he didn’t want too go too drink and party last night with younger co-workers they completely ignore him. In fact they pretend he doesn’t exist he well talk too them and someone else well jump in of that same clique and he well they ignore him that whole little youngsters clique.Here is the thing they all got along great friend has great manners never did nothing to them why do these people act so cruel. Only one of the Older people talk to him but that dam clique wont at all. He has today and tomorrow left for training they well work in a airline as a team so why are these people being dumb and stupid hope they grow out of it. I mean they go out and drink every single night and party just because my friend wont go they ignore him.

    By unknown on Jul 15, 2010

  48. I’m both the ignorer and the ignored… here’s the situation. I’ve been working for this company for over 4 years. I was only 25 when I started and most of my coworkers were probably 35-45 yrs old. I got along with some of them right off the bat and eventually got to know others, but there are still some people in our group who simply refuse to interact with me. They will ignore me when we pass in the hallways, they’ll ignore me when talking to others in our area, etc. I’ve learned to just ignore them in return and not let it bother me. I don’t know them, I don’t think I’ve done anything to offend them (I’m not loud or annoying, actually I’m pretty shy and quiet)… so I just have to assume it’s jealousy or lack of respect because they consider me a “kid” since I’m under age 30 and don’t have as much experience.

    NOW here’s the 2nd situation… this girl who sits very close to me (actually the wife of another guy who works here, and I chat with this guy from time to time), well I actually don’t talk to her at all. I wasn’t here on the day she was introduced to everyone, then I finally came into work and noticed her, and decided I’d get around to introducing myself later… well then I heard her talk, and talk, and talk… and noticed right off the bat that she seemed very annoying and attention hungry, and just a little strange. So I decided I would just not really speak to her at all. Apparently she also bad-mouths some of my colleagues who I’m friendly with, and probably bad-mouths me also. I’ve just decided that she’s not worth the effort and I’m better off not being friendly with her. It’s just awkward because she’s EXTREMELY talkative and constantly engages others near me in conversation, yet she totally looks past me as if I don’t exist. Or if I contribute something to the group conversation, she’ll look at someone else and ask “what did he say??” instead of just speaking to me directly. So I guess we’re both playing the ignoring game, and yes it does bother me to the point where I think about it after I leave work… I just know if she wasn’t employed here, things would be normal again and I wouldn’t feel nearly as stressed. Sometimes I’ll make sure I go on break right before her shift ends, so I can avoid the moment where she personally tells the people near me goodbye and doesn’t even glance in my direction. Awkward!! I’m sure she thinks I’m being rude (and maybe I am, to an extent), but I don’t really know what to do about it.

    By ARC on Aug 6, 2010

  49. I know that trick. Ignoring tactic is a sign of insecurity. They learned that your a good worker than him/her and they cannot defeat you in a fair battle.
    No solutions for this as this is a political battle. Continue doing good to him/her and do the right thing.

    By Gilbert Magat on Aug 6, 2010

  50. wow! I have been ignored for a couple of weeks now in my work place. after a vicous week of being badmouthed by two ppl who suddenly decided they hated me when i got a promotion over others who were there longer then me. one of them, hired at the same time as me, was very jealous and after this first week she came to me, tearfully and apologized for her actions and behaviours. we have mended our co-worker friendship and its doing ok, tho i doubt i would ever completely trust her again.
    the other one, has been there a long time. she denied spreading gossip and the managers let her get away with her denial only to turn around infront of me and say that numerous ppl came to them with this information so they know she lied. they gave her a verbal warning. she acts like she runs the place, without the title of any such thing. so for two weeks she then ignored me after they put her in her place. the managers i deal with directly normally are currently on vacation.
    so she has started a new game of what i can only call sabotage. she watches me and hovers over me at times, then other times she ignores me completely, i hae found odd discrepancies with money and such only to discover strange mix ups to be the culprits, i only came to find these strange mix ups after the first time it happened and i ended up looking like a fool saying money was short in a safe when it wasn’t, it was cleverly mixed up. i since find money mixed up after her shifts often, but i am on to it now so i say nothing. i have to be able to speak with her at times to do my job, but those are the times she ignores me. yet when i converse with others she comes around and tries to be a part of the conversation.
    i went to the manager that is there about her behaviour one day, the one in place of my regular ones i deal with, and this one, known for being a mean manager, simply removed me from the promoted schedule and put me back on a diffrent schedule and cut my hours in half! i went to HR about it, but nothing was done atall. so I have been super stressed out with this girl hating me out of pure jealousy and awaiting my regular managers to come back hoping they will fix everything as it was, and hoping i dont have to actually say anything again becuase i am now afraid to becuase of this other manager, afraid i will just come off like an idiot or a whiner… its so unfair. i can feel the tension and stress on her too when we are near one another, she seemed to have thought she was fooling me and others with her denial of being jealous but i think she knows i know and thats the stress i sense on her, but she just cant help herself, she hates me now and thats just how it is.
    i thought about quitting, but i need this job.

    By cynkatt on Aug 9, 2010

  51. Dear Office-Politics,

    There is a serious issue at my place of employment. There is an odd co-worker that talks quietly to himself, ignores people, and even told another co-worker that he wanted to kill him. I know that employee complained to the manager/owner about this direct comment and nothing happened. The manger even told the threatened employee that he wasn’t a bad guy and try to open up to him, he did. The coworker made it a point to say hello and thank you whenever possible to the odd-worker to receive nothing but a dirty look, if that. Then the threatened employee tried to give the odd-worker a heads up that a big order was coming in, to be completely ignored. In another situation the odd-employee asked a female coworker to take something to the front of the store, she was busy so the threatened employee offered to take it for them. Not only was the threatened employee ignored, the odd-employee even turned away so the threatened employee couldn’t get it and then put himself in between them and stood there waiting and staring at the employee till she wasn’t busy, completely ignoring the employee that he told “I want to kill you.” that was willing to help. The odd-employee does not talk to some of the employees and his comments have made it around the grape vine that he hates some employees and is a creep, making sexual and inappropriate comments about the female employees. Me and every other employee has made complaints about the way he looks at the female employees and is complete lack of team spirit. Now the threatened employee is so fed up that he made a comment, “If he doesn’t stop ignoring me I’ll punch him in the face, then he won’t ignore me.” Now I’m scared!! The odd-employee has been there a long time and the manager/owner has done nothing to correct his behavior, so the tension is thickening and I’m afraid that a fight will breakout between an odd-employee (that is approaching “over the hill” age, still lives at home, and feels like he’s mentally raping me every time he stares at me) and a threatened-combat-trained-veteran-employee. What do I do? I like all the rest of my co-workers so much I don’t want to quit, I just want something to be done about the odd-threatening-employee.

    By Scared of a coworker on Aug 30, 2010

  52. To ARC, you created unwanted anomosity at your workplace by becoming an ignorer. If you knew the chic was super talkative (every company has one), you can still be cordial and respectful of a team member. You chose to be unprofessional by ignoring her, and she plays the same game, which is now Awkward as you mentioned! Now you see the irony, it bothers you that there is tension at workplace. I get ignored by a coworker for atleast 8 months now, it bothers me to an extent because Im being disrespected, even though the guy actually is the one with the mental problem. I wish to be never like him and i hope you can find it in your heart to bury the hatchet with this girl and just say hi to her one day, and work slowly at becoming cordial, you dont have to like her or talk to her, just be professional atleast. you will feel alot better.

    By Rstar on Oct 26, 2010

  53. I don’t have any advice for any of the above people but “I hear you all.” I am a teacher and experience this on a daily basis. Once I saw a movie called Odd Girl Out and one of the characters said something to the girl being excluded why she did not care if the group excluded her. She said “They don’t have anything I want” (paraphrased). I started asking myself what did I want from my co-workers? I realized I was trying to develop friends and gain acceptance from them. When I looked at their behavior, normally, I would not want to be friends with someone that behaved like this out side of my job. So, when they started ignoring me, I ignored them. It has been very freeing. They talk to me when there is gossip about teachers transferring and the transferr includes me. They only want the information from the horses mouth. I have actually had to tell them I don’t want to discuss certain things. It is hard because I want to be freindly and include everyone but they don’t feel the same way. My job is to teach my students and stay out of the mess. They are young and there seems to be a lot of cliques at the school so I don’t fit anyway. The principal has a great deal to do with it all. If you are on her bad list, you will be on a lot of other peoples bad list. It is tricky to navigate this on a daily basis which is why I create a cozy environment at home. Love to go home and could stay there if I did not have any bills (smile).

    By lookslikevonetta on Oct 27, 2010

  54. I too have been the ignoree and the ignorer. I dont mind being ignored unless it affects my job and I have learned to not let it. I will always be polite and cordial when it comes to work. I have tried to ignore a co-worker for some time. She has a different kind of relationship with my boss. Everything that is said or done gets back to the boss. I used to be friendly with her until some of my private life got back to the boss, and then I get inappropriate comments from him. Thats when I decided to keep this strictly business. I’ll say good morning and evening, but discussions are very general and business oriented. She gets upset because I wont share other stuff…and we have had discussions before about her discussions with the boss, and her answer is that I need to specify what things I might not want my boss to know. Really???

    My employer pays me to work and that is what I do. So I sometimes have to ignore just to keep my sanity….

    By Terry C on Nov 7, 2010

  55. Sometimes it is necessary to ignore.

    While companies may try to say no age discrimination in their behavior codes, just watch what happens if the older employee tries to converse with the younger employee in many cases.

    Not in every case, but in a significant number of cases the behavior is defensive from the men and almost a fear reaction from the women. But guess what? The attempt to converse was only a professional one–to see if there were any questions and maybe share some insights about the work being done, to discuss work being done if they aren’t a new hire employee–definitely not an attempt to befriend them and hang out with their group of guys, definitely not an attempt to score a relationship with the younger woman.

    Trying to force the issue of conversation could risk a harassment claim, right? So don’t bother. After a certain number of attempts and clear visual and verbal clues they don’t want to be bothered (even if they freely talk with others), give up and just resign to having to ignore them.

    By Another reluctant ignorer on Dec 14, 2010

  56. Wow! I really relate to the stories posted here.

    I have been at my current job 2 years and only NOW has it finally dawned on me that I was being ignored. wow. I wish I could enjoy a cup of tea or wine with all hear and just get it all out : ) and relate to ya’ll.

    In a nutshell, I got this job at a tiny office with 7 other women mostly in thier 50’s but 2 youngish ones (who i call the ‘sorority chiks), who all were what you would call ‘personalities’. They all have STRONG opinions and talk incessantly and know each other from way back so it was like joining a big family where you better just keep your ‘ideas’ to yourself lest they be shot down mercilessly in meetings. They also curse and make rude jokes. I do not let on although at times I would be playful like ‘oh I’m blushing’ kinda hinting that I am not appreciating it, and I simply just do not add fuel to those discussions.

    I thought it would just take time to fit in. And oh, how I have tried! But it seems like they just simply never talk to me or ask anything about me. I never had that ‘let’s get to know the new person’ discussion with really anyone there. And they are all super close so it’s just been wierd that they would not know how to include me into the fold.

    Over 2 years I certainly have initiated conversations and tried to find common ground small talk or chimed in that I am enthusiastic about something that they are into; all efforts which have usually won me friends in the past. But it seems like each day is starting from scratch.

    I am quieter, mellower and more ‘keep my whining thoughts’ to myself than they are. So I can see how maybe they would see me as odd, however I am very social and talkative and I really have put that out there and made it a continual effort…and just – nothing! I always make a point to exude a nice attitude and a little humor; like to say, hey, I am always open for friendship here! I will continue to do this as it is the real me.

    When I have worked in other places and was comfortable, I would always find a way to include people. That is just the way I am. Say me and a coworker are talking. Well I’d say, ‘Hey Joe, what is YOUR opinion on this?’ or whatever, let them know they are welcome to talk with us.

    These people have no social ‘grease’ , or they do not wish to use it on me. I have never done anything willfully that could have caused this. I felt for a long time it was just that I wasn’t a ‘dirty’ talker so they thought I’m too ‘uppity’ but if only they gave me the time of day in an instant they’d see I”m not!’ I can befriend anyone from the valet, janitor to the lawyer or board member… so after 2 years and reading these posts and feeling like an underdog I am thinking it’s not me! What a relief. This has been such a burden. Because no matter how different I am the difference is that I continually TRY to befriend them and make the gesture… and they simply don’t.

    I have recently realized that they (3 of them) are somewhat narcissistic. Basically, the reason they don’t know a thing about me is because they don’t ask or want to know. Any discussion they start or I start, all is about them…gab gab gab… all about them every time. It never fails.

    I am super glad I read this. It has been so wearing being in the middle of it all day after day yet some days not having a conversation with anyone whatsoever. I am also in a new city and do not have many close friends yet, so it has been a bigger impact than it would normally be. I have really been thinking it’s just something that I’m not doing right even though I have experience working with the public and always got on splendidly with others… but it really does mess with you. It has been so subtle. I am not starting to see truly the ignorning for what it is.

    When you spend 8 hours a day in an environment like this it truly effects you!

    By leilana on Jan 30, 2011

  57. one more thing:

    i got so much great advice from the above posts. One thing I am going to do is to keep my personal life to myself.

    The thing is, I had actually been thinking that they just needed to know more about me…or we needed more employee ‘bonding’ or something, and that would be the solution to all this. But I can truly see now that they are not interested for the most part (my boss and another lady is but they are super busy and/or we don’t connect in a strong way, but they at least do talk to me at times.) I have put enuf out there that they could have grabbed onto.

    So I am not going to ignore them but I am going to just be my own happy self and carry on and stop asking them all about thier weekend or give them little bits of attention. Basically, I’m going to accept things ‘as is’ and be thankful for what good there is there (hey the Fedex people and our callers at least talk to me!) and save my focus and energy for my job and my own personal life… I’m moving on! Thanks for the new found strategy and I wish the best to all in this same situation.

    By leilana on Jan 30, 2011

  58. I get frustrated at work and end up arguing with my boss, who started being abusive. he ignored my emails, and just stopped communicating with me altogether. i went to HR about it and I got fired. This is not the first time this has happened to me. How can I improve my relationships at work? i’m very good at what I do, but my attitude deteriorates after being there after a year or so. Are there courses to help?

    By Mike on Feb 17, 2011

  59. It is helpful to hear how many other people have gone through this. I supervise a woman who just refuses to speak to me. She has been at my organization several years and I started last fall. After a couple months on the job, I had to speak to her about her chronic lateness, leaving early without permission and tendency to badmouth the head boss in front of others. She decided she hated me, and started not talking to me. She also went to my supervisor and complained about me. The head boss knows about what is going on and has supported me from the start, since he has had problems with her for several years. Ironically, there were huge cuts recently at our firm and she is getting let go soon. She has become even worse since then, even tho I had zero to do with her job loss – her position across the firm is being eliminated – she seems to act as if it is my fault. I found out over the past several months that over the years she has caused other good people to leave, because they could not put up with her. I am convinced that people like this in a workplace are like a cancer – they will poison the whole work environment unless they are cut out. I get along with many other people at work and really do like my job, except for this crazy woman. My most recent mistake was to express sympathy to her over her job loss, since I know it must be difficult for her – she went running to the head boss, accusing me of trying to shove her out. Just nuts stuff. There is nothing I can say that she would approve of, and I have given up even trying to get along with her. I just act professional and talk to her if I need to, and that’s it. I hope I can get through the next 3 months without her trying something really bad to sabotage me – I think people like this are pretty unhinged and can be dangerous when their world is really threatened. I came across someone like this years ago, only she was my boss. She tried everything she could to sabotage me, but I was able to survive it all and did well. She finally gave up and just ignored me, which was somewhat of a relief! It is hard to figure out what motivates and sets off people like this. I think they are extremely narcissistic and have low self-esteem. They need to constantly be told how wonderful they are. They are also constantly plotting against others, and think that others are against them. It is really kind of frightening to see how many people like this are out in the working world. I sympathized with all of you and say “hang in there!” Maybe your crazy ignoring person will get the boot as well!

    By Donna on Mar 8, 2011

  60. The main thing missing from most of these posts is “what have I done and continue to do to cause my coworker to ignore me?” It’s a cop-out to blame it on jealousy, narcissism, and low self-esteem. Put yourself in their shoes and maybe you will have a better understanding of why you are being ignored. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone who has posted here, but remember this…it takes two to fight and it takes two to make a successful relationship.

    I’ve been on the side of being ignored at my workplace. After having moved on from that job, I recognize now the things I did to alienate my co-workers. I don’t blame them, and maturity, time and self-reflection have made me realize my part in the situation.

    I am now on the side of ignoring a co-worker. She insists on jumping into the middle of everything I have going on and doesn’t understand that I am perfectly capable of doing my job. If I have a question about something, I know where she sits. I don’t need her to constantly butt in and take over every single thing. This person wants to be involved in absolutely everything so badly, that she will take the blame for something totally beyond her control….just so she can be involved in what is going on.

    Another example of her buttinsky-ness was one day when I was working with someone on something where she wasn’t involved in any way whatsoever and had no need to be involved. As this other person was walking away, he called out “thank you” to me. She yelled out, “You’re welcome!” WTH????

    Saying something as simple as “good morning” or “good night” or “Just to keep you in the loop, this is what I did….” is permission, in her mind, to once again butt in and take over every single second of activity within the office.

    This same person was secretly tracking my personal time off in her calendar as a “private appointment” each time. I told her that she is not my manager and therefore has no right to secretly keep track of WHY I’m taking personal time off and that I would like her to stop. She threw a fit, took two weeks off of work, then complained to HR about me. I specifically didn’t go to HR because I didn’t want her to get in trouble – what she was doing was wrong, and I just wanted it stopped. Yet, she went to HR and caused trouble.

    My point is, if you are being ignored, take some time to analyze why this may be happening and how you may have contributed to the situation, instead of just blaming the other person and saying, “for no reason whatsoever”.

    By NOT Terrie on Apr 12, 2011

  61. I realized a coworker was being rude to me soon after I started my job, including making annoyed noises after I spoke in meetings (several occasions), badmouthing me (sometimes loudly), and not speaking to me all day – even brief chit chat – despite sitting in the next cube. This was, frankly, strange compared to previous office experiences I’d had.

    Still, I tried to be friendly, including greeting her every morning – even though she didn’t speak to me if she arrived after I did. This was all until the day (after nearly a year on the job) when she loudly put me down to someone I had just been speaking with. I didn’t want to make waves with management and complain about what she had said then and on previous occasions. (In retrospect, this was a huge mistake.) Instead, I used a technique I hadn’t tried since elementary school – I decided to ignore HER back. Months of her rudeness had gotten to me at last.

    I felt bad about ignoring her, at times, because I was raised to be good to people. But I am naturally non-confrontational and it was my way of telling her I didn’t appreciate her mistreating and badmouthing me. Some may say I should have talked to her, management and/or HR about her behavior. But, let’s be honest, this is a conversation no one wants to have at the office. They’ll just tell you it’s in your head and you’ll be labeled paranoid. To me, she wanted a confrontation and was pushing my buttons until she achieved that goal and I got “in trouble.”

    And I kind of did. A manager took me aside and said it was evident there was a problem between me and my coworker. I am, and always have been, a dedicated hardworking person – not the type to get “in trouble” at school or at work. When asked for my side of the story, I just said she and I were very different from each other and that I would do my best to maintain my professionalism – not wanting to make an issue of it. She treated me like crap for nearly a year. It was only when I reciprocated the behavior, to some degree, that it became a problem to management (ha!).

    I think my ignoring her made her feel “special” because people (including bosses) noticed and gave HER sympathy. I started to feel like the bad guy. Eventually, after a few months, I just began speaking to her again – saying Hello if I passed her in the hallways, never real conversations, and no more good mornings – because the utter exhaustion of ignoring her wasn’t worth it. And I didn’t like being viewed by others as unkind. Her rudeness continued whether I ignored her or not, so I just took her awful behavior as her personality. Sometimes I imagined reasons for her meanness like a bad marriage or mouthy kids, so I could feel sorry for her.

    In the end, I didn’t care if she ignored me/talked badly about me. I was glad she wasn’t in my business.

    I washed my hands of her and her equally rude clique of work friends. I focused on my job and appreciated the good people in the office.

    By XYZ on May 1, 2011

  62. I am the ignorer.. I have a co-worker that does not pay attention to detail. I spoke with her repeatedly about her creating errors that had a domino effect on the jobs of others. Every time she played it down to where I was being silly and she would insult me instead of saying that she would take care of it. I never approached with an attitude but I did let her know that it was affecting all of our jobs. After 2 years of errors I spoke to my boss and explained that I had, had it with her. In turn my boss spoke to own boss and a meeting was held. Apparently her work ethic had been discussed a few times already and the bosses were fed up as well. In retaliation her boss called me in for a meeting so that he could explain her job to me. I refused the meeting because the problem was her completing her work and that was all that has been asked of her. My boss agreed and said that she just needed to do her job.
    Since then she has taken it personal and will do anything to make me look bad. She comes into the office and says good morning only when my bosses are present but stares me down and measures me when they are not. Then she started closing office doors so as to not be bothered by me. When that didn’t do anything she started making a ridicule of herself by constantly laughing out loud and making comments so that all could hear. I continued to ignore her. We are both not unfortunate looking women and this was brought to her attention by someone who she shared her criticism about me with. Since then it is all out competition. I dress like a professional, she’s taken it from professional to provocative and tries to get my attention by standing at my counter for no reason, or blocking my office door for no reason. I purposely ignore her, I don’t look at her and if I have something to do and she is present I continue with my job as it is what I get paid for. I know that it is inmature for me to treat her this way but at this point it has become fun!!
    I have impacted her insecurities to the point where she is wearing padded this or that to try and look better than me. Yeah I admit it’s not cool that we don’t talk and unprofessional but she has become a form or entertainment. She set herself up and she deserves what she is getting!!!!

    By Fed Up on Jun 24, 2011

  63. I am happy to have found so many people to relate to. I have a evil wicked witch at my office, ignoring my existance, for no reason. I know she is trying to get me fired (for no reason). She makes me cry. It’s taking a toll on my mental health. THis is my first real job, in a real estate office, and she’s making my life a living hell. She talks shit about me behind my back. And she is 7+ years older than me (I am 20). I’ve only asked her why she hates me one time, and basically she cursed me out in Russian and I never brought it up again. I’ve been handeling it like a true mature adult, and am proud of myself. My mom tells me to talk to my boss, but I just can’t. I don’t know what to do anymore. I love this job, the pay is amazing, but I can’t deal with this any more. Advise? :/

    By Liza on Jul 1, 2011

  64. I do have a friend who has complaint for more than 10 years of the same problem. Everywhere she goes, no one likes her, everyone ignores her and no one is nice to her. She is a bookkeeper assistant. I am, seems and feels like, even tough I know I am not, her only friend. Her self esteem is always down and I keep repeating to her that it cannot be that the whole universe is against her, but rather there is something she needs to do/or do not do about her self and that she is the only one who can find out what. It bothers me, and I have told her, that she is always coming to me with the same story and drama, I am getting fed up, how can I help her or should I just leave her friendship and move on?

    By Confused on Jul 13, 2011

  65. I am an ignorer. It usually ends up being the overly friendly coworker who is attention starved. I do it because I have no desire to be close to people at work. I am shy and prefer to be by myself. Also I have been backstabbed more times than I care to say by people who got to know me. If I could earn a living from home it would be ideal for me, but it is impossible in my field. I am sorry to everyone who feels slighted by us ignorers, but I do not have the social skills or personal fortitude to deal with everyone who wants to take issue with my personality quirks. Like was mentioned by one writer, not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to get along with you. Too bad we all didn’t learn effective ways to deal with that before we entered the work environment, but I don’t remember being offered that class in school. We all are learning every day and just need to be patient with each other and help each other to deal more effectively.

    By Just trying to cope on Jul 20, 2011

  66. Wow!I am not alone in a the boat. I am now working in a new company for about nearly 2years. The boss is a LOT better than my previous company.But the environment is definitely a lot WORSE than my previous co. In dealing with hard people usually I used to smooth things like compliment such as nice dress. Give her gift when I travel. Somehow thing used to be manageable.

    However now, one of the clerk decide to war against me. It start when I ask her to pick something from boss desk for CEO. She is a PA btw.
    She rebuke back by telling me they ask me not her. At that time I was superbusy and stress closing accont year end. I even appologize for getting angry at her afterward. She only laugh while walking away. Now she poison everybody to boikot me. She is smoothtalker to female and flirty to guys whether they married or not. Now the WHOLE dept against me. Previously they used to be against me and another clerk. I used to get along with other clerk.But now even her is giving me annoyed look.I felt very dishearted and sometimes imagine myself employ bad guys to rape/ kill her/ use blackmagic against her. Going to office means geting stab each day.

    They are very disrespect. So now I decide to be professional and ignore them . I definitely already ignore her. But the feeling isolated never went away.

    By mh on Aug 9, 2011

  67. I am an ignorer. I didn’t realize there was a word or title for it, but that is what I do. I work with 5 other women who think it’s a requirement to come to work and be one big happy family. Yet, I feel like they don’t really care about me and I never have. For a long time, I put on the face and played along, but always had the underlying feeling that it was all forced. Recently, I’ve decided that I don’t owe them anything and they don’t owe me anything and I’m perfectly within my rights to just go to work and do my job and not have to perform chit chat or engage in personal conversations for the sake of keeping the peace. I just want to go and do my job. I’m perfectly polite and helpful when it comes to work, but I’m not interested in throwing out nicey nices. I’m not miserable with my decision. In fact, it’s liberating. I love being able to go in and work and not worry about whether or not they are talking about me or if I did anything to offend them. I’m not an insecure person, but I find that playing nicey nice is exhausting. I think I like it being just on the professional level much better. The issue is that they don’t like that I’m not being nicey nice. It’s different that the relationship we had before and it makes them uncomfortable. I think they just need to get used to it, but my boss has a problem with my new attitude. He thinks I need to fix my issue, but I don’t have one. I just don’t want to be “friends” with my co-workers. They are nice enough (most of the time), and I’m perfectly fine dealing with any work related issues on a very professional level. I just don’t feel the need for pleasantries like discussing my weekend or my vacation or talking about the shows on tv the night before. Why do I have to be “friends” with them and how can I make my boss see that he doesn’t have the perfect little family in our department? It’s not living up to his expectations and he feels the need to fix it. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong and feel like there isn’t anything to fix. I’m perfectly happy and content, or I would be if they all weren’t trying to “fix” me.

    By TC on Aug 17, 2011

  68. I am a Catholic Teacher who is ignored daily by the Ring Leader at the school. She will join a conversation and talk with us, but not to me. She ignores me and pretends like she isn’t doing it. She did this to another teacher a few years ago, and that teacher put a grievance in against her. Nothing came of it. I do my best. I moved my classroom to the OPPOSITE side of the school. I NEVER eat lunch in the staff room. I can do no more to avoid her. The bottom line is that it hurts. Its too bad. I wish parents, the kids, and the principal could see what a terrible person she is.

    By TP on Sep 20, 2011

  69. I was wondering why some people ignore ?…but honestly people who are getting ignored should not let that affect them work wise or other wise. Stay focused…you have a job…to do ..don’t let negativity or negative people ruin your career or your goals in life…Cheer up..! First thing you guys need to think is…are those people important in your life..? Do you live with them?…if the answer to both the questions is “NO”..you should get on with your life..! Do try and ask them if they have a reason to ignore you…and when you do that..be assertive…(respect your self first)…Do not get emotional -Do not break down front of them while you are discussing or don’t even think of sugar coating your words…just keep a straight face…be polite……remember these guys can be manipulative…! If they have a valid reason…apologize -only- if it is your mistake and move on…do not get too involved! If they do not wish to even have a discussion with you…do not worry -at least you tried to find out…right? And if this person has a habit of ignoring people…in the past -DON’T EVEN WASTE YOUR TIME. Some people who ignore may have a valid reason—for example..may be the person, s/he is trying to ignore may have hurt that person in someway …there could be various reasons…So quit being the victim of negativity and get on with your lives…that’s exactly what I did…!

    By PM on Sep 24, 2011

  70. I’m an ignorer – or at least I have been for the last couple of weeks. My coworker is not only bad at her job which I then have to pick up the pieces of but she is constantly whining about her ailments, excessively chatting to anybody in ear shot and to top it off – rude! I am very shy and like to keep my personal life personal. Three times she has offended me personally.

    I literally cannot bring myself to engage this woman in any way and yet reading these comments has made me think twice about how I treat her.

    Damned if I do and damned if I don’t!

    By Tired on Sep 26, 2011

  71. I just started a part-time job in September. One of my co-workers has a hard time including me in her conversations. She is close to another co-worker which she attaches herself to her, so I’m excluded in all conversations. She even said that she was going to turn around and go home if, this co-worker, wasn’t at work! I have to be the one to say good morning or good-bye to her. She never initiates ANY small talk with me. I have gone overboard trying to have conversations with her but she will only say one or two words to me. I asked how her son was, because he had a concussion, I asked about how her daughter’s homecoming dance went, I’ve asked how her mom is doing after her dog died. She has never once been interested in asking about how my weekend was, she probably doesn’t even know I have 2 daugher’s. She will walk into a room and will say hi, after I say hi, then our co-worker walks in the room and she says HI!, How was your weekend…blah, blah, blah. Then off the two will go into their own little world. She avoids me, so I’m avoiding her. I will say hi and good-bye because whatever her problem is with me is CHILDISH! I’m 43 years old…..I’m DONE being around CHILDISH ADULTS! Geez.

    By Sheri T on Oct 17, 2011

  72. The stories sound familar. Many on here are good employees and have talent. No doubt about it. However as a result, coworkers recognize talent and are envious so they result to ignoring. Maybe they hope they can stir something up to make you look bad and get themselves promoted? Maybe they will? or Maybe that will backfire? Seen it play out both ways. Most of the time it backfires. Not to worry, document, listen carefully, pay attention to their body language and find a older mentor up the chain of command. Watch your management..they maybe allowing this culture b/c they are self absorbed. Not to worry the gossipers always end up self destructing (think of the tabloids) often and the management loves a good scapegoat. One lady that I know stirs up trouble among colleagues, lots of ignoring going on as a result and she always whined to the management about her injustice weekly. They keep her on the payroll b/c they needed her at a critical time. Now, they have sent her off to a school for one year (it appealed to her entitlement mentality) until they can figure out where to put her. She texts the office daily to stir up stuff with my co-workers and comes in after hours to check her e-mail. LOL. The people who listen to her are only ruining their credibility. Hang in there!

    By DC on Oct 24, 2011

  73. I was the ignorer, for 8 months. It was cruel, but it was a very effective coping mechanism. It was at my duty station in Iraq. I had a co-worker who was absolute poison. She played the damsel-in-distesss card in order to get out of work and made a sport of getting people fired. As a self defense tactic, to stay out of her lane, I ignored her. If you even responded to her comments, she would twist them around and magically make you the bad guy for some made up reason. It was safer to ignore her so I did. In the end, I was the only one that she did not get fired. Now I am at a new duty station and someone here is ignoring me. Truth, it is her very sad coping mechanism over a lie someone told her. And because I know she is spending a lot of time and effort and emotion ignoring me, I. Dont. Care. This page has made a lot of things clear to me and I am very fortunate that I have found it. Thank you!

    By KarenEW on Nov 13, 2011

  74. Try being a high school teacher. Good way to experience being ignored times 150 kids. : )

    By Jenny R on Apr 19, 2012

  75. I have just started a difficult job. The position is a 4 month contract but may lead somewhere. I started under the assumption that I was a temporary replacement for another guy who was off working on a project. Well, after 2 weeks the guy is back! What a cold shoulder I received after meeting him. We have enough work that we will be working on tasks together. Some with each other and others individually. It almost seems like he is treating me like I am invading on his territory. It might actually be that way but the department is growing. I am a very funny guy at work…maybe I joke around too much but he appears to be the exact opposite. We are like oil and water, and I am trying to get them to mix for the sake of the department. I will be trying some of the comments I have read and see how that goes. I definitely don’t want to involve the manager. I already know that he thinks the sun shines out this guys ass….I am just trying to figure out why.

    By IS on Aug 18, 2012

  76. Every time I go for a job interview, the employers have to bring in regionalism and reject my application. Recently, I got through a job interview, because it was an equal opportunity employer. My job profile was that of a content writer and I had to also write content for the social media. However, one of my colleagues, who is a Muslim, threatened to take my job away from me by reporting to my boss that I am “playing” or “posting jokes” on Facebook, which is very unprofessional. I told him that I am only doing my work and this guy (purely a data entry operator) just continued to threaten to visit the company’s Facebook page and report the content to my employer, whereas my employer was the one that actually gave me the Facebook task to do. My boss finally sided with him and started threatening me. Also, lunchtime is the only time I believe employees get some privacy, but one of my colleagues used to keep telling me that she cannot eat lunch alone and when I gave her company, she would always make it a point to criticize what’s inside my lunchbox instead of being thankful that I am giving her company for lunch. She would always ask me how I am eating such bland food, while she is eating such rich food full of colors and that it is disturbing or bothering her that I am eating such bland food. Also, we earn so that we can eat our bread and butter. She kept reiterating the point till I asked her to mind her own business and look into her own lunchbox if it is that “colorful” or “rich.” I finally quit the job in a week’s time after joining, though I actually liked the work profile, but not my colleagues. I am a bit depressed and I do not know how to handle such awkward situations. I would appreciate your kindly advice.

    By Sharmila S. Meena on Aug 21, 2012

  77. “territorial battle”….. “invaded her territory and she is letting you know it”…. “your coworker is trying to control your behavior by ignoring you.”…”this lady is a manipulative Office-Politics player.”

    You hit the nail on the head! That totally describes my situation.

    By Falliehe on Sep 3, 2012

  78. After reading more of the comments, I think there is a wide variety of ‘avoiders’. One is shy, and most people understand that. They’re not vindictive, they just keep to themselves. I may want that person to come out of their shell, but most of the time they’re not hard to get along with.

    Then, there’s the person who isn’t really drawn to us, so they don’t make any effort to get to know us. It may hurt, but we learn to deal with it.

    Then, there’s the person who goes out of their way to make our lives miserable. I think that’s the ‘avoider’ that most of us is referring to.

    By Falliehe on Sep 3, 2012

  79. Wow! I am so glad I found this website. Out of desperation I googled “office coworkers talking about me .” I have read many posts and I have a little in common with most people. I have tried to figure out why I am the odd person out, thinking I can fix the situation. I feel so lonely at work. It’s been five years of this. The option to change jobs is not present. Here is my situation: After 25 years of working in a hospital as a Respiratory Therapist I was asked by a Physician to come work at the clinic she works at. I perform pulmonary function testing for the whole clinic and my office is located in her area . The physcian employs a nurse practioner and two medical assistants. The medical assistants have become best friends. They are the gate keepers of the office and right hands of both dr and np. I have my own schedule and workload. The nurse practioner and med. assistants are close. It is the nature of the job. I have seen three nurse practioners come and go and it is always the same story. Generally speaking the nurse practioners initially like me until they get closer the the two med. assistants. Then the isolation and whispering as I walk away begin. Is it because I am annoying them trying to be a part of things? Is it because I have a hearing problem? Is it because they are fat and dumpy? Are they jealous? ( I am a very young looking 50 year old and and just above average in looks.) Is it because I have olive skin? Is it because I get nervous easily and am sensitive? Am I not fun enough for them?
    Does it matter anymore? I know it hurts to be odd man out. I want an answer but none come. I was raised to be nice and people will be nice back. Forgive and forget. I try minding my own business and stay in my office and accept the fact. I have donated towards gifts and celebrated every birthday in the office, yet I don’t even get a happy birthday wish. This happened three out of the five years I have been there. I keep plugging away pretending I don’t notice as they whisper about me. I feel better after reading everyones post. Any suggestions?

    By marjac on Sep 5, 2012

  80. I get a grunt with no eye contact when I say good morning to someone in the office. He never used to be this bad, but that was while he thought he could ‘pretend’ to be the boss of my role and tell me how to do my work. Apparently he used to do similar work as mine. I tried to tell him in numerous ways that I know what I’m doing but he would brush me off. I wasn’t speaking his language! So, after one of his ‘episodes’ I decided to be more frank and told him that I am very capable of doing my role and while I appreciate feedback, I also like to be shown respect. In fact, I have since learnt that I have more experience in this type of role than he does & better education in the area too. Nonetheless, he remains arrogant in his manner and ever since I spoke up for myself, he has taken to ignore me & talk about me behind my back (well, he did before but it seems with even more venom). When I told him that I was capable he threatened to report me!…. it was a knee-jerk reaction on his part while still trying to ‘lord’ it over me. He can sound very authoritive, wise and can even seem quite charming to some, therefore there are people who seem quite ‘brainwashed’ by him (and they are just where he wants them!). I would like to work with him in a professional manner because I can see that he is quite smart and has much to offer, but he has this problem that he cannot ‘lord’ it over me and doesn’t seem to know how to handle me in a respectful manner.

    I dislike the ignoring and grunts and find his attitude very rude and selfish. It has caused me grief and it is a struggle to let it wash over, even when it is very obvious to me that he is the one with the problem with a huge ego. Although he would like me to think otherwise and put me in a little compartment where he can feel comfortable. Hehe, writing about him makes me laugh about him.

    Thanks for the website, it’s quite therapeutic having an opportunity to talk about it and believing that people will actually listen and try to understand me.

    I just might enjoy saying good morning to him from now on….(with a chuckle to myself).

    By kazzyd on Oct 30, 2012

  81. I am the one ignoring my new coworker. Like lots of others commenting above, my new coworker is a drama queen – if you say something, she gets offended. If you say nothing, she’s offended. I was her trainer and spoke up to our boss to protect her, twice. Both times she felt I was discrediting her when I was actually telling our boss that his expectations were a little out of line – that no one should be under the pressure of an insane deadline to complete training. Especially if they’re new. So, after the character assassination conversations she had with the boss and other coworkers — I’m done. I can’t win this and I’m certainly not investing any more time or energy into this person. I wouldn’t say I’m ignoring her, as if she doesn’t exist. I just behave neutrally and don’t engage in ANY conversations outside of work related subjects. If you’re the one being ignored – it’s quite possible that you need to look at your own behavior with a new perspective. Your coworker might just be exhausted by you.

    By cosmolicious on Nov 1, 2012

  82. Well, regarding what Falliehe wrote on the typification of avoiders –description which I liked– I’d like to point out that, independently of the kind, I think this behaviour is rude and reflects poor education from the person who’s avoiding, regardless of he/she does it unconsciously because of shyness or if it is done in an intendedly manner.

    I was ignored once in my actual office, in my first months of work, but since time ago I promised myself not to be offended and not to make ties with someone who is not nice, I could go along with it not caring if the other person continued with this auto-hurtful behaviour. I would always be nice to him/her, but not to the point of being friends with this type of person. In a medium term, this person ended considering me as a present being in the office, up to the point he/she’s now a pleasant coworker to team with and we have talks in a friendly manner.

    So, I don’t know if this can be of any help to you, avoided people, but my best advice is, if you have done something wrong, you can go as insightful as you want and correct what you’re doing wrong in the way you want, but if you really can’t find a concrete or rational reason for triggering this kind of attitude in the other, please stop the auto-flagellation. Probably this person is the one who’s got troubles dealing socially with others, so, keep living your life without spending time and energy in someone who does not deserve you as a coworker or friend. In a time, this person will realize about the stupid role he or she has being playing for long time.

    “Living well is the best revenge”.
    My husband always says that and I always try to keep it in mind when stumbling into this type of people (I just found out it is actually an real quote, by english poet George Herbert)! :-)

    By 6tel on Nov 6, 2012

  83. For those suggesting an inward look to determine if you are ‘deserving’ of being ignored, behavior is a pattern. If this has happened at more than one workplace, or if you have had other conflict with your peers and/or supervisors, then it may be that you are have ‘characterological deficits’ to work on. In other words, you may have a personality disorder. Dialectic behavioral therapy by a licensed psychologist would help, if you don’t know where to begin to address your character flaws/social blundering.

    As for myself, I have been ignored by a coworker now for 6-8 years (I lost track of the time, heh). It began over a conversation. She told me she could not leave her abusive husband as he said he would kill her. I suggested she seek out legal advice and perhaps a battered women’s shelter. She took offense at my unsolicited advice (what was I expected to do, just nod and shake my head in sympathy? – sorry, I’m not that kind of person) and then began ignoring me. Another coworker, who overhead the entire conversation, later told me she told my coworker was in the wrong, after she noticed the ignoring after three months.

    I used to agonize about it (oh no! someone doesn’t like me!), but now, quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. It helps that I don’t have to work with her to get my job done. She’s just background noise to me. I feel for those of you who have to actually interact with toxic coworkers to earn your living, but there are ways to cope with them – do not ‘react’ – ignoring is intended to make you react: do not play their game. What really gets to folk like this is to show that their behavior doesn’t phase you one bit. Do not give them any power over you, do not show that it bothers you in the least that you are not ‘buddies.’ It’s best not to seek out friendships in the workplace, from my experience. Be professional, do your job, and document every bit of toxic behavior that they do, complete with dates, to cover yourself – just in case. Do not attempt to garner office alliances – why drag innocent people into the fray, and you never know who may turn against you in the future, or who may be promoted over you. If you cannot go to your boss or HR, or find another job entirely, then this is all the advice I can give.

    As for my coworker, I overheard her telling another that her husband walked out on her, abandoning her and her three young children, and does not pay any child support, so she is finding it very tough to pay her bills. Karma? Maybe. Schadenfreud? You betcha.

    By Harriet Bomblatt on Dec 28, 2013

  84. I have been accused of ignoring a coworker. I am by nature an introverted and reserved person. On top of that, I have a lot of work on my plate and often work long hours. I would rather just go into work, get started cranking out the results and not have to bother with the chatting and small talk this person wants me to engage in. Her feeling ignored by me is not a personal slight, I would rather just focus on my work.

    By amber on Dec 30, 2013

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