How to Handle Toxic Coworkers

Action From Toxic Coworkers Trying to Take Over Meeting
Learn to speak up for yourself can help when dealing with toxic coworkers.


Working at home is a completely different situation than dealing with toxic coworkers at the workplace. Though you avoid a commute, you also can miss social interactions with others, especially if you work alone such as many of us when we write for our blogs. Yet, working with coworkers has good and bad aspects. Here are some useful tips on how to react when coworkers get on your nerves that can help before that stressful situation gets out of control that I found valuable from my own experience.

Toxic Coworkers and Typical Scenarios

We all work at our own paces. Perhaps, you have a coworker that breezes through her duties while you take longer.  This person always makes it a habit to stop at your desk to talk. Then again, this coworker could just like to do the minimum of what is required while you are more motivated, hoping to advance in your career. A chatty coworker can be a drain on your productivity. Of course, you don’t want to be rude but you need to work. Therefore, you also need a way to be diplomatic to toxic coworkers if you hope not to offend them. To demonstrate, say how you would love to talk but you have a pile of emails that need to go out is a better way to react when coworkers get on your nerves.

Another escape is asking to continue the conversation during lunch, a coffee break or grabbing a drink after work. This type of rejection is a kinder way to save your time and preserve that office relationship without hurting that coworker’s feelings.

Have you ever worked with someone that constantly interrupts you while talking or giving a presentation during important meetings? If so, you are not alone in meeting up with these sorts of toxic coworkers. Instead of letting the coworker take over and push you aside, you might want to try raising your hand to signal that you’re not finished speaking.

Business Coworkers With Idea to Avoid Toxic Coworkers Dominating
Raising your hand or showing a sign can help prevent interruptions from toxic coworkers.

Others at the meeting will take notice and respect you for standing up and taking a firm position when coworkers get on your nerves. Otherwise, you are perceived as a pushover by your peers that lacks authority.

You could also avoid eye contact with that coworker that typically interrupts you during those business meetings. When you don’t acknowledge that coworker’s presence can often be enough to silence them from attempting to steal the show.

If this tactic is ignored and the coworker keeps talking, you might also want to enlist another coworker to back you up in case that coworker tries interrupting you again. Ask that person to mention that you were still talking and wants to hear more of what you had to say. This is a useful method to save your blood pressure when some coworkers get on your nerves.

Coworkers gossiping can make you uncomfortable. Why some people get pleasure out of targeting one of their coworkers is baffling when trying to understand their motivation. With this in mind, I suggest that if you don’t want to get pulled into vile behavior then simply avoid those toxic coworkers. If you normally eat lunch with them, then make an excuse that you have errands to perform during the lunch break. You could also just leave the conversation or insist that you don’t appreciate speaking badly about others when those coworkers begin gossiping.

Personalities can clash at times and strain coworker relationships. No one is perfect despite what he or she may think. Even the best of us can prematurely judge or say the wrong thing at an inopportune time. Under those circumstances, a fight with a coworker can make you feel ill at ease for any encounter with that coworker in the future.

Sometimes, the best way to react is to try to ignore what happened. Time can often help fade any bad feelings lingering between you and that coworker.

Granted, some people hold grudges and can’t move pass hurt feelings. If this is the case and you don’t want to continue working in this uncomfortable situation, then you need to give what happened between you and that person some serious thought to resolve the issue. Though you may think you said nothing wrong, it could be an innocent slip of the tongue that caused a rift. Only you can know the words that came out of your mouth. Unless you want this fight never to end, then try to be the better person and apologize because what was said just came out wrong. This is a better reaction when toxic coworkers get under you skin if you intend on repairing the work relationship.

Other ways toxic coworkers can get on your nerves is being pressured into shopping. I had one job in an office with a lot of women when I first started my career. Every day, someone came back from lunch with a new purchase. If you did not buy something with a certain period of time, these women would keep asking where is your package. Believe it or not, the few women that were watching their money and avoided this behavior were treated as outcasts. I eventually bought a new pair of shoes that the others needed to see. The next day another woman came back with six pair of shoes, not to be overshadowed by my small purchase.

Dealing with toxic coworkers that exert shopping pressure may sound trivial, but it was no easy thing. I wanted their friendship, but also needed to save. My way of handling this situation was buying only when I needed an item. I was polite, but my excuse was I was paying for something else like an unexpected dental bill, which got me off the hook. Fortunately, I moved on from that job and that kind of forced shopping pressure from many toxic coworkers.

Toxic coworkers can complicate your performance and comfort level at the workplace. Hopefully, what I shared can help end any awkwardness and problems that you may have with some of your coworkers. Give my suggestions a try because they can improve the quality of your time spent together as well as for you to worry less.



  1. gloria patterson
    May 30, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    WOW Over my years of working I have saw all the people you described. And it is sad to say but some people you cannot get them to understand you are busy and don’t have time.

  2. tat2gurlzrock
    May 31, 2019 / 10:04 am

    These are great tips. I have had my share of these types of coworkers in the past and I just tried to avoid them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.