How To Deal With Coworker’s Criticism – 6 Approaches

Written By Aleena

There’s no doubt that constructive criticism can be helpful in the workplace. However, not all criticism is constructive. Here’s how to deal with coworker’s criticism that can be hurtful.

It can be challenging if you have a coworker who constantly criticizes your work. But you have to be competent to deal with it.

6+ Ways To Deal With Coworker’s Criticism

First of all, try to take the criticism constructively.

If you can see where the criticism is coming from and how it can help you improve, then great. Use it as motivation to do better.

However, if the criticism is plain mean and unhelpful, then you need to take a different approach:

Here are some of the approaches:

1. Ignore Them:

The best way to deal with this kind of coworker is to ignore them.

Don’t engage in any arguments or debates; just let their comments roll off your back.

It will be hard at first, but eventually, they will get bored and move on to someone else.

How To Deal With Coworker's Criticism

Some ways to ignore are:

– Avoid eye contact and keep your head down

– Don’t say anything; walk away

– Smile and nod if you have to, but don’t engage

– Pretend you didn’t hear and keep working

2. Use Humor:

Another way to deal with this is to use humour.

When they make a snide comment, laugh it off and make a joke.

It will take away its power if you can find a way to laugh off the criticism.

This might be tough to do at first, but it will get easier with practice.

And eventually, the criticizing coworker will get bored and move on.

This will diffuses the situation. However, be careful with this approach as it can backfire.

Only use humour if you are confident that you can pull it off without getting into an argument.

Sometimes if you laugh it off, they think it is okay to keep going. Do not let this happen.

Instead, use humour to disarm them and then change the subject.

3. Talk To Them Privately:

If you have tried ignoring and humour, but nothing is working, you might need to have a serious talk with the coworker.

Please find the time when you can talk to them privately, without anyone else around.

Then calmly explain how their comments affect you and ask them to stop.

This approach can be complex, but it is essential to stand up for yourself.

If you don’t say anything, they will think it is okay to keep going. Here’s how to do it in different situations:

3.1 Be Assertive:

This means standing up for yourself and letting them know that their comments are not acceptable.

Be firm but polite, and don’t take any crap from them.

Say something like, “I don’t appreciate your comments and I would appreciate it if you would stop.”

Or “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

It is essential to remain calm with this approach and not lash out.

If you get angry, they will think they have won and will keep going.

3.2 Put Them In Their Place:

If you’re not the type of person to take this down, you might want to put your criticizing coworker in their place.

This means calling them out on their behaviour and clarifying that you will not tolerate it.

If you were polite and firm before, but they didn’t care, be a little more forceful this time.

Say something like:

“I’m tired of your negative comments. If you can’t say something constructive, then don’t say anything at all.”

Or “I don’t know what your problem is, but you need to stop criticizing me.”

4. Put It In Perspective:

Try to remember that this person’s opinion is just an opinion. It doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. So don’t take it too personally.


Also, keep in mind that this person is probably just jealous or threatened by you somehow.

Remember that their opinion is not worth getting upset about.

5. Talk To Your Boss:

If the criticizing coworker is getting under your skin, you can always talk to your boss.

Explain the situation and how it is affecting your work. Then ask for their advice on how to handle it.

This is the last resort, but sometimes it is necessary to preserve your sanity.

Your boss might have some ideas on dealing with the situation. They might even talk to the coworker themselves.

Either way, it is worth a shot.

6. Move On:

You might have to accept that there is nothing you can do about this person.

If all else fails, then it might be time to move on. This doesn’t mean quitting your job but finding a way to deal with the situation.

You might need to distance yourself from the coworker or try to ignore them as much as possible.

Do whatever you need to do to keep your sanity. For instance, you could:

6.1 Avoid Them & Set Boundaries:

If possible, try to avoid the coworker as much as possible.

This might mean taking a different route to the break room or avoiding them at company functions.

Please do whatever you need to do to minimize your interactions with them.

If you can’t avoid the coworker, you might need to set some boundaries.

Let them know that you will not tolerate their behavior and that they need to stop.

6.2 Only Talk To Them When Necessary:

If you have to talk to a coworker, keep it short and sweet.

Please don’t engage in small talk or anything else that might allow them to start criticizing you again.

If they start to say something negative, walk away. You don’t have to listen to that.

6.3 Find A Support System:

It can be helpful to find someone else at work with who you can vent about the situation.

This might be a friend, a coworker, or even your boss.

Having someone to talk to will help you deal with the situation in a more constructive way.

6.4 Focus On Your Work:

Don’t let their comments get to you. Instead, focus on your work and try to do the best job possible.

Prove to yourself (and to them) that their opinion doesn’t matter. It would help if you also took this opportunity to build up your confidence.

difficult coworker.

Try to remember that you are not the only one who has ever dealt with a difficult coworker.

You can get through this. Just take it one day at a time and focus on the positive things in your life.

6.5 Take A Break:

If you’re struggling to deal with the situation, it might be helpful to take a break from work.

This doesn’t mean quitting your job, but taking a few days (or even weeks) off to clear your head.

Use this time to focus on taking care of yourself. Do things that make you happy and relaxed.

This will help you return to work feeling refreshed and ready to deal with the situation.

Why Does Your Coworker Criticize You?

Coworkers might criticize you for several reasons. It could be that they are:

1. Jealousy:

Your coworker might be jealous of your success or the attention you are getting from your boss.

You might also threaten them in some way. This is often the case if you are a potential threat to their job.

You can usually tell if this is the case if the criticisms are unwarranted. Or if they seem to be trying to sabotage your work somehow.

2. Insecurity:

Your coworker might also be insecure about their abilities. They might feel the need to put you down to make themselves feel better.

This is often the case with people trying to get your attention negatively.

They might also be trying to give themselves an excuse for why they’re not doing as well as you are.

3. Anger:

Your coworker might be angry with you for some reason.

This could be because you got a promotion they wanted or because you did something they didn’t like.

Anger is often the root of many criticisms, so it’s essential to try and understand where it’s coming from.

4. Personality Clash:

It’s also possible that you and your coworker don’t get along.

different personality types

This is the case with people who have very different personality types. It’s not necessarily bad, but it can make working together difficult.

If this is the case, it’s essential to try and find ways to work around it.

5. Poor Communication:

Sometimes, the criticisms are simply because of a lack of communication.

This can be the case if you’re unsure about your coworker’s expectations. Or if they’re not clear about what you’re doing.

In this case, it’s essential to discuss with them to try and clear things up.

Is It Okay To Criticize The Coworker Who Criticizes You?

It’s understandable to want to criticize your coworker back when they’re critical of you.

However, this is usually not the best course of action. Criticizing them back will only worsen the situation and lead to a lot of tension between you.

It’s essential to try and be the bigger person in the situation and not stoop to their level.


There is no one perfect way to deal with a criticizing coworker.

You might need to try a few different things before finding something that works for you.

Just remember to stay calm and focus on the positive things in your life. With time, the situation will hopefully improve.

Last Updated on 2 days by Shahzaib Arshad


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