How Do I Handle it When My Coworker Doesn’t Talk To Me?

This is my first time of being in a situation where my coworker doesn’t talk to me and I seem to be totally blank on what could be the reason.

Dear Jane,

Maybe I’m this worried because this is my first time of being in a situation where my coworker doesn’t talk to me and I seem to be totally blank on what could be the reason. The company I work for is where you could rarely be in one office for more than a year. We are usually moved every six (6) months and I was just moved into an office where it’s only two of us; me and Clara (for the sake of this letter).

I understand that most people resort to “silent treatment” each time they are offended, mostly in a romantic relationship. But she’s only a colleague I barely know or have talked to enough. At first, I thought she was too busy on a project the week I came but she has maintained this habit of being a colleague that won’t talk to me or socialize for no reason. Could this be that she’s only being professional? I mean, this my coworker doesn’t talk to me even when there’s a need for us to discuss project strategies, though it doesn’t completely stop us from doing our jobs. I see her communicate well with people in other offices. The one that annoys me most is that Clara would prefer to ignore me, even while I’m making efforts to initiate a conversation with her. Please, how do handle it when my colleague doesn’t talk to me for a reason I can’t find?



There are a thousand and one reasons why your coworker doesn’t talk to you but that shouldn’t be your priority now. Though it’s very frustrating when your coworker doesn't talk to you but ignoring it could be your best option until her behavior begins to impact on your ability to work. However, you can handle the situation in two ways if you have already tried confronting Clara with no positive result.

Though this first idea is unconventional, you can defend yourself from Clara’s “silent treatment” by choosing a day to also ignore her. I assure you, no one likes to be ignored and anyone that tries to ignore you is only using a manipulative tactic. Play the game with her by totally behaving as if you’re the only one in your office like she didn’t make it to the office that day.

Note: you are not ignoring her because it’s pleasing to show her how it feels when your colleague doesn’t talk to you at work but to help her find a better means to resolve any dispute she’s projecting by ignoring you. The frustration could break the walls she has built around herself knowing you’re not trying to climb it anymore.

If the manipulative tactic didn’t work, then I’ll suggest you gather all the evidence you need to prove that your coworker doesn’t talk to you. Document it, go to your supervisor and ask for a transfer. That is on a note that her behavior affects your ability to work.

Good luck!

2 Responses

  1. Meepsky

    I am glad to find this article, I too, am going through the same issue with a fellow co-worker who is giving me the cold shoulder. This co-worker and I work remotely and I really liked the conversations we have had when we had the chance to have them; I noticed this co-worker started giving me the cold shoulder after a company gathering and has ever since that day. I recognized the issue and decided to move on and just keep my head down in my own work. Since I am back up to this co-workers’ project, I will only respond via email.

  2. Gillian MacLean

    I am being ignored by a colleague after calling them out for swearing in the office. There’s a culture of swearing in the office and it’s getting worse. I don’t swear at work and for some reason last week it got to me and I did speak up at the use of the c*** word by a colleague, which I find particularly offensive. So now I’ve been ignored all week and excluded from the office banter with his group of hangers on. I’m older that this colleague a good few years and can’t see why they couldn’t have just apologised for the use of that word and it could have been forgotten about. This now feels like stupid playground bullying which I have raised with my manager. But in the course of that conversation my manager used the f*** word!! I don’t feel in the wrong but will reporting this person make things worse?


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