How To Deal With A Backstabber Coworker In 17 Ways

Written By Aleena

If you have a coworker who constantly stabs you in the back, it can be frustrating for you. However, let’s learn how to deal with a backstabber coworker:

A backstabbing coworker tries to make you look bad in front of your boss or other colleagues. It’s essential to understand how they do it to deal with it.

17 Ways To Deal With A Backstabber Coworker

Let’s take a look at some ways you can deal with a backstabbing coworker:

1. Find Their Motive:

The first step is to find out what their motive is. Are they trying to make you look bad so they can take your job?

How to deal with a backstabber coworker

Do they want to be the only ones in the boss’s good graces? Or are they just plain jealous of you?

Once you know their motive, it will be easier for you to deal with them.

You can find a motive by observing their behavior.

2. Talk To Them:

If you think you can have a rational conversation with your backstabbing coworker, go ahead and try.

Tell them how their behavior affects you and see if they are willing to change. If they’re not, then at least you tried.

Sometimes, people don’t realize how their actions are affecting others. So, it’s always worth talking to them about it.

You can start by saying:

“I noticed that you have been trying to make me look bad in front of the boss.

I’m not sure why you’re doing it, but I would appreciate it if you stopped.”

3. Identify Their Behavior:

The second step is to identify the behavior. If you can’t see it, you can’t deal with it.

To identify the behavior, ask yourself these questions:

– Do they always have to one-up you?

– Do they take credit for your work?

– Or, do they throw you under the bus?

– Do they gossip about you?

– Are they two-faced?

If you answered yes to any of these, you’re dealing with a backstabber.

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to take action.

4. Establish Boundaries:

The next step is to establish boundaries with the backstabber.

This means setting limits on what you will and will not tolerate from them.

For example, you might tell them that you won’t tolerate them taking credit for your work.

Or you might establish a boundary that says you won’t listen to their gossip.

You can do so by being assertive and telling them what you expect from them.

5. Keep Your Cool:

It’s essential to keep your cool when dealing with a backstabber.

Losing your temper will only worsen the situation. It will give them more ammunition to use against you.

When you keep your cool, you’re able to think more clearly. You can come up with a plan to deal with the situation.

How to deal with a backstabber coworker

However, if you let your emotions get the best of you, you’ll only make things unpleasant.

Some ways to keep your cool are to:

– Take a few deep breaths

– Count to 10

– Walk away from the situation

– Talk to a friend or family member about what’s going on

6. Don’t Take The Bait:

A backstabber will often try to bait you into an argument. A backstabber will try to get under your skin.

They want to get you worked up so they can use it against you later.

It’s essential not to take the bait. If they’re trying to start an argument, walk away.

If you let them see that they’re getting under your skin, they’ll only keep doing it.

Some instances when to move away maybe:

– When your backstabbing coworker is constantly interrupting you

– When they’re trying to start an argument

– Or when they’re being condescending or rude

7. Take A Stand:

But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid their behavior altogether. Instead, take a firm stand when they are totally out of line.

The backstabber is always looking for a way to make themselves look better.

So, don’t play their game. If they’re trying to one-up you, don’t let them.

Don’t let them if they’re trying to take credit for your work. And if they’re throwing you under the bus, don’t let them.

Here’s when you should stay and face the situation:

– When they’re being racist, sexist, or discriminatory

– When they’re making threats

– Or when they’re being violent

Here you have to be the bigger person.

You need to stand up for yourself and what’s right. No matter if it means getting into an uncomfortable situation.

It would help if you defended yourself against their lies and accusations.

Some things you can do are:

– Set the record straight

– Calmly explain the situation

– Show documentation

– Have witnesses

8. Keep A Paper Trail:

When you’re dealing with a backstabber, it’s essential to keep a paper trail.

Please keep track of all the times they’ve tried to make you look bad.

This will come in handy if you ever need to go to your boss or HR about the situation.

Some things you should keep track of are:

– Dates and times of incidents

– Witnesses to the incidents

– Any documentation to back up your claims

9. Talk To Your Boss:

If a backstabber is making your work life miserable, it’s essential to talk to your boss.

Let them know what’s going on and how it’s affecting your work.

Your boss may not be aware of the situation. They may not know that there’s a problem.

If you don’t speak up, the situation will only continue. The backstabber will only keep doing what they’re doing.

Talk to your boss.

This will also give you the chance to get some relief from the situation. Your boss may be able to talk to the backstabber or take other action.

10. Keep Your Distance:

It’s essential to keep your distance from a backstabber. The less contact you have with them, the better.

If you have to work with them, keep the interaction to a minimum. 

You don’t want to give them any more things to use against you.

Some ways to keep your distance are:

– Don’t eat lunch with them

– Don’t socialize with them outside of work

– Keep conversations short and to the point

– Avoid being alone with them

11. Be Careful What You Say:

A backstabber will often try to trap you into saying something you shouldn’t.

They’ll try to get you to say something that they can use against you later. It’s essential to be careful what you say around a backstabber.

Think before you speak. Don’t say anything that could be used against you.

Some things to watch out for are:

– Gossip

Complaining about others

– Saying negative things about the company

12. Have A Support System:

When you’re dealing with a backstabber, it’s crucial to have a support system.

Talk to your friends and family about what’s going on. They can offer you support and help you through the situation.

Moreover, it’s essential to have someone to talk to who will be unbiased.

They can help you see the situation more clearly and offer helpful advice.

13. Don’t Take It Personally:

If you find yourself constantly getting stabbed in the back, it’s easy to start taking it personally.

However, you need to understand that it’s not personal. They do it to everyone.

Even if you’re the best worker, they’ll still find a way to make you look bad.

And even if they try to be personal, understand that it’s not really about you. It is about them and their insecurities.

14. Know Your Rights:

Know what your company’s policy is on backstabbing and workplace bullying. 

Most companies have the policy to deal with these types of situations.

If you know your rights, you’ll be able to protect yourself better. You’ll also be able to take action if the situation gets out of hand.

Some policies say that backstabbing is a form of harassment. This means that you can file a complaint with HR.

Know the procedure for filing a complaint and take action if necessary.

15. Prepare For The Battle:

If you’re constantly dealing with a backstabber, it’s essential to be ready for the battle.

Battle with coworker

It would help if you were ready for their attacks. Some things you can do to prepare are:

– Keep track of their lies

– Gather evidence of their backstabbing

– Practice your response to their attacks

– Stay calm and collected

– Don’t give them the satisfaction of getting to you

16. Take Time For Yourself:

It’s essential to take time for yourself when dealing with a backstabber.

The situation can be taxing both mentally and emotionally. 

Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Take time to relax and de-stress. Do things that make you happy.

And most importantly, don’t let the backstabber win.

17. Don’t Backstab Your Backstabbing Coworker:

An important thing to remember is not to backstab your backstabbing coworker.

This will only make the situation worse. It will also make you look bad.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re tempted to backstab, walk away. Please don’t stoop to their level.

If you can avoid backstabbing, do it. It’s not worth it.

Why Do Coworkers Backstab?

There are many reasons why coworkers backstab. Some of the most common reasons are:

1. Jealousy & Insecurity:

A backstabbing coworker may be jealous of you. They may feel like you’re doing better than them or that you have something they want.

Also, they may also be insecure. They may feel like they’re not good enough or that they’re not doing well at their job.

Thus, they’ll try to bring you down to make themselves feel better.

2. Power & Control:

Another reason why coworkers backstab is for power and control. They may want to be in charge or the leader.

Thus, they’ll try to take you down so that they can be in a position of power.

They may also want to control the situation. They may feel like they can’t hold you, so they’ll try to control how others see you.

3. Revenge Or Paranoia:

Another common reason for backstabbing is revenge.

If you’ve wronged them somehow, they may try to get revenge by backstabbing you. This is their way of getting back at you.

Paranoid coworker

A backstabbing coworker may also be paranoid. They may think that everyone is out to get them or that they’re about to get fired.

Thus, they’ll try to take others down before they have a chance to take them down.

4. Resentment Or Miscommunication:

A backstabbing coworker may resent you for something. They may think you’re taking credit for their work. Or that you’re getting preferential treatment. 

Miscommunication can also lead to backstabbing. If a coworker misunderstood something you said, they might think you were trying to make them look bad.

This can lead to them backstabbing you in an attempt to get revenge.

5. Personal Issues:

Sometimes, backstabbing can be a result of personal issues.

If a coworker is going through a tough time in their personal life, they may take it out on you.

This is often unintentional. They may not even realize they’re doing it.

However, it’s important to be aware that personal issues can lead to backstabbing.


If you’re dealing with a backstabbing coworker, it’s important to take action.

It would help if you were ready for their attacks and took time for yourself.

Most importantly, don’t backstab your coworker. This will only make the situation worse.

There are many reasons why coworkers backstab. The most common reasons are jealousy, insecurity, power, and control.

Last Updated on 5 days by Shahzaib Arshad


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