Tips for Dealing with an Impolite Coworker

We’ve all been there: we’ve all worked with a rude or impolite coworker at some point in our careers. While we’d like to pretend it doesn’t happen, as we are expected to get along with our colleagues, sometimes you just feel like wringing that person’s neck.

I had an impolite coworker situation once. I was a few months pregnant expecting my first child and didn’t want to tell anyone at work that I was pregnant. One of my coworkers asked me if I was pregnant or if I were just getting fat. Yes, she really said that. It can be difficult to know how to respond because we’d like to have a cohesive relationship with our coworkers. Dealing with someone who is rude repeatedly can cause stress in a professional working situation.

Here are some tips on how to handle an impolite coworker:

  1. Ignore It

If you choose to ignore it, then be prepared for it to continue. Some impolite coworkers just don’t get that what they are saying or doing can be construed as rude. I once had a boss that publicly humiliated me by yelling at me in the lunchroom because he didn’t think I made enough eye contact when speaking to the group. I was mortified and you better believe I started making a lot of eye contact when speaking. But I never challenged my boss on his rude outburst.

  1. Speak Up

You can address it directly with the person. You may get to your breaking point and decide to speak to the impolite coworker in a private setting and discuss with them, in a professional manner, that what they are doing is rude and bothersome to you. I think the person will respect you for saying something and may even appreciate it if they didn’t even know how they were being perceived. They may not have known that what they were doing was inappropriate.

  1. Report It

If the first two recommendations don’t work, then I believe you should report the impolite coworker to Human Resources or your immediate supervisor. It’s helpful to have the rude situations documented with the date of occurrence and a few sentences describing the interchange. Depending on the severity of impolite behavior, your first step may be to report it.

It’s likely you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your own family members. It’s important to be content in those professional relationships.

I would love to hear your coworker stories and how you handled them. Please comment below and share.

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This blog article is for general information purposes only and does not provide an in-depth review of employment laws. It should not be solely relied upon or substituted for legal or professional advice. Use of the information provided is at your own risk.

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