15 Ways To Deal With A Confrontational Coworker Effectively

Written By Aleena

How to deal with a confrontational coworker needs some special handling. Since these types of people tend to be aggressive, you’ll need to be diplomatic in your approach.

Some people are just naturally confrontational. They always want to argue and be right, no matter the cost.

How To Deal With A Confrontational Coworker – 15 Ways

If you have a confrontational coworker, you know how frustrating and draining it can be.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to deal with this type of person.

1. Avoid Them When Possible:

Avoiding a confrontational coworker is often the best strategy. If you can, try to stay out of their way.

This means avoiding them in the break room, avoiding eye contact, and not engaging in conversation.

Avoiding coworker - How To Deal With A Confrontational Coworker

And whenever possible, try to take a different route if you see them coming.

Or, if you work in an open office, try to sit as far away from them as possible wherever possible. Just try to minimize your interactions.

By avoiding them, you can minimize your day’s stress and frustration.

2. Use “I” Statements:

When you have to interact with a confrontational coworker, try using “I” statements.

For example, instead of saying, “You’re always interrupting me,” you could say, I feel like I can’t finish my thoughts when you keep interrupting me.”

“I” statements tend to be less confrontational and help diffuse the situation. They focus on your feelings instead of attacking the other person.

And this can make the other person more receptive to what you’re saying. Like when you’re trying to resolve a conflict, using “I” statements can help you get your point across.

Although some confrontational people will still try to argue. Using “I” statements can help to de-escalate the situation.

3. Be Assertive:

With a confrontational coworker, it’s essential to be assertive. This means standing up for yourself and not backing down.

Confrontational people will often try to take advantage of you if they sense you’re weak. They’ll push you around and make you feel like you’re in the wrong.

But if you’re assertive, you can hold your own and not let them take advantage of you.

To be assertive, you need to be firm and confident in what you’re saying. You should also make sure that your body language matches your words.

For example, if you’re saying “no,” don’t back down or hesitate. Stand your ground and maintain eye contact.

4. Set Boundaries:

With a confrontational coworker, it’s also important to set boundaries. This means knowing your limits and not letting them be crossed.

For example, set a boundary around how much you’re willing to put up with. Maybe you’re okay with the occasional confrontation.

But if it’s happening all the time, you must set a boundary and stop it.

Set boundaries - How To Deal With A Confrontational Coworker

You can do this by telling the person that their behavior is not acceptable. And that you won’t tolerate it anymore.

5. Keep Your Cool:

When dealing with a confrontational coworker, keeping cool is essential. This means not rising to the bait and not getting drawn into an argument.

Confrontational people will often try to provoke you and get you worked up. But if you stay calm, it’ll be harder for them to get under your skin.

It can also help diffuse the situation and make it easier to resolve. If you are getting worked up, try taking a few deep breaths and counting to 10.

This can help you calm down and think more clearly. You can also try walking away from the situation for a few minutes.

This can help you relax and avoid saying or doing something you regret.

6. Focus On The Positive:

The positive side of having a confrontational coworker is that they can be a good learning opportunity.

This person can teach you how to be more assertive and set boundaries. They can also teach you how to keep your cool in difficult situations.

So instead of seeing them as a problem, try to see them as a learning opportunity. This can help you deal with them more positively.

There are many types of difficult people in the world. But with some knowledge and practice, you can learn how to deal with them.

The most important thing is not letting them get the best of you. And to stay calm and focused on the positive.

7. Give Them Silent Treatment:

The silent treatment is when you refuse to talk to someone. It’s a way of punishing them for their bad behavior.

The silent treatment can be an effective way of dealing with confrontational coworkers.

Confrontational people often rely on getting a reaction from you. They want to see that they’ve gotten under your skin.

But if you give them the silent treatment, it takes away their power. It also makes it clear that you will not tolerate their behavior.

The silent treatment can be a hard thing to do. But it’s essential to be firm and not give in.

8. Find A Supportive Friend:

When dealing with a confrontational coworker, having a supportive friend is essential. This is someone you can talk to about the situation.

This can be someone at work or someone outside of work. It’s essential to have someone you can vent to and who will understand what you’re going through.

This person can offer you support and advice. And they can help you stay calm and focused.

9. Talk To Your Boss:

Your boss can be a great resource when dealing with a confrontational coworker. They can help you resolve the situation and offer you support.

Great resource

Your boss can also take action if the situation gets out of hand. For example, they can talk to the confrontational coworker.

Or they can take more extreme action, such as putting them on a performance improvement plan.

10. Create A Supportive Environment:

The environment you work in can huge impact on how you deal with a confrontational coworker.

If you work in a supportive environment, it’ll be easier to deal with the situation. This means having a boss and coworkers who are supportive and understanding.

It also means having policies and procedures dealing with confrontational behavior.

If you don’t work in a supportive environment, it can be harder to deal with a difficult coworker.

This is because you won’t have the same support system in place. And you may not have the same resources available to you.

11. Unleash Your Inner Confrontational Coworker:

One way to deal with a confrontational coworker is to become one yourself. This may sound strange, but it can be effective.

Of course, you don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want to become a confrontational person yourself. But a little bit of confrontation can go a long way.

For instance, you can start by calling out their bad behavior. This can be done calmly and assertively.

You can also use body language to confront them. For instance, you can stand up straight and make eye contact.

Doing this can make it clear that you will not tolerate their behavior. And it can make them think twice about confronting you.

12. Deny, Deny, Deny:

Another way to deal with a confrontational coworker is to deny everything. This can be effective because it takes away their power.

Confrontational people often try to put you on the defensive. They’ll make accusations and try to get you to admit to things you didn’t do.

But if you deny everything, they have nothing to work with. And it’ll be harder for them to confront you.

For instance, if they accuse you of not doing your job, you can say you did it.

Or if they try to confront you about something you said, you can deny saying it. This may not always work. But it’s worth a try.

13. Use Humor:

Humor is a great way to deal with a confrontational coworker. It can diffuse the situation, and it can take away their power.

Try to use humor in a way that’s not offensive. For instance, you can make a joke about the situation.


Or you can use self-deprecating humor. This can make it clear that you’re not taking the situation seriously.

And it can make it harder for the confrontational coworker to continue the act.

14. Manage Your Emotions:

It’s important to manage your emotions when dealing with a confrontational coworker. This can be not easy, but it’s important.

If you get angry, it’ll only make the situation worse. And if you get defensive, it’ll give the coworker more ammunition to use against you.

There are a few things you can do to manage your emotions. For instance, you can distract yourself.

You can also try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. This can help you understand why they’re being confrontational.

And it can help you see that there’s more to the situation than meets the eye.

15. Go To HR:

The last resort for dealing with a confrontational coworker is to go to HR. And it should only be done if you’ve tried all other options and nothing has worked.

Going to HR can be a tricky situation. You don’t want to make things worse. And you don’t want to get the coworker in trouble.

But it may be the only option if you’ve tried everything else. When you go to HR, it’s essential to be calm and professional. You should have a clear idea of what you want to say.

And you should be ready to answer any questions they may have.

Final Word:

Dealing with a confrontational coworker can be difficult. But it’s important to remember that you have options.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to take a step back and assess the situation. This can help you see the situation more clearly.

And it can help you find the best way to deal with the confrontational coworker.

Last Updated on 4 hours by Shahzaib Arshad


Leave a Comment