If you have a standoffish or aloof coworker, it can be challenging to know how to interact with them. Here are some tips on how to deal with a standoffish coworker:
Standoffishness is often mistaken for rudeness.
If your coworker is standoffish, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re rude. It could just be that they’re introverted or shy.
8 Ways To Deal With Standoffish Coworker
Let’s start with the fact that we are all human beings.
Sometimes it is hardwired into our personality to be more standoffish or aloof than others.
If you have a standoffish or aloof coworker, it can be challenging to know how to interact with them. Here are some tips:
1. Don’t Take It Personal:
Just because someone isn’t as social or bubbly as you are, doesn’t mean like you. It’s quite the opposite.
Standoffish people often appreciate others who give them space.
People who don’t try to force them to be something they’re not are likeable for them.
Thus, the best thing you can do is not take their standoffishness personal.
You can still be friendly and cordial without being overbearing.
Say hello in the morning, ask them how their day is going, and make small talk when appropriate.
2. Don’t Try To Change Them:
Trying to change someone is a recipe for disaster. It will not work, but it will also probably annoy the person you’re trying to change.
If you want to be friends with a standoffish coworker, accept them for who they are.
Again, this doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. But it does mean that you should stop trying to force them to be someone they’re not.
Start by accepting and understanding, and the rest will fall into place.
3. Make The First Move:
Make the first move if you want to interact with your standoffish coworker.
This will help them feel more comfortable and encourage them to be more social.
Making the first move doesn’t have to be daunting. Just take it one step at a time and see how they respond. You can make the first move by connecting with them.
Below is how to connect with them:
4. Seek Out Opportunities To Connect:
Because someone is standoffish doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with others.
Many introverts and shy people yearn for connection but don’t know how to do it.
This is where you can come in. There are some ways to connect with them:
4.1 Find Common Ground:
One way to connect with a standoffish coworker is to find shared interests.
This can be anything from a love of books to a shared hobby, or even just a TV show you both watch.
It’s easier to connect with someone when you have something in common with them.
If you know they like a particular hobby or activity, invite them to do it with you.
So, take the time to get to know your coworker and find out what you have in common.
4.2 Offer A Sympathetic Ear:
Or, if you see they’re having a bad day, offer a sympathetic ear. Sometimes, all someone needs are someone to listen to them.
So, if your standoffish coworker looks like they could use a friend, be that friend.
Let them know you’re there for them and offer a shoulder to cry on if needed.
It will make them appreciate you more and might even help you form a closer bond.
4.3 Compliment Them:
Another way to connect with someone is to give them compliments. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and a genuine compliment can go long.
So, the next time you see your coworker doing something well, let them know you noticed. Compliment them.
It will make them feel good and might even help break the ice between you two.
4.4 Invite Them To Lunch:
And finally, one of the best ways to connect with someone is to invite them to lunch.
This shows that you’re interested in getting to know them better and value their company.
So, if you want to connect with your standoffish coworker, ask them to join you for lunch.
Who knows, you might even make a new friend in the process.
5. Don’t Take Their Rejection Personally:
Don’t take it personally if you’ve tried to connect with your coworker and they’ve rejected your advances.
Like we said before, many introverts and shy people want connection but don’t know how to go about it.
So, they may not be rejecting you but rather their social awkwardness.
You can help them overcome this by being understanding.
Eventually, they may come around and be more social. But in the meantime, don’t take their rejection personally.
6. Be Patient:
The key is to be patient and take the initiative. With time and effort, you can connect with anyone.
But it won’t happen overnight. So, don’t expect your coworker to be an open book.
Respect their boundaries and take things at their pace. With time, they might just come out of their shell around you.
You can’t make someone be your friend. But you can take the first step by connecting with them.
Just remember to be patient and take things at their pace. With time and effort, you can connect with anyone.
7. Set Boundaries As Needed:
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to connect with someone.
If this is the case, it’s okay to set boundaries. Not everyone is meant to be friends, and that’s perfectly fine.
You don’t force a relationship with someone who isn’t interested.
So, if you’ve tried to connect with your coworker and it just isn’t working, accept that and move on.
8. Seek Help From A Manager If Needed:
And finally, if your coworker’s impacting your work, seek help from a manager.
This is especially important if the coworker in question makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Your manager can help mediate the situation and make sure everyone behaves professionally.
Moreover, they can help you figure out a way to work around or with the person in question.
Understanding The Standoffish Coworker?
There can be many reasons why your coworker is standoffish. Here are some possible reasons:
1. They Are Shy, Introvert:
Many people are shy or introverted by nature. This means they don’t feel comfortable around large groups of people. Thus, they would rather stay to themselves.
If this is the case, your coworker may not be deliberately ignoring you. Instead, they may just feel uncomfortable.
The best thing you can do is take things slow and give them space in such situations.
With time, they may come out of their shell around you.
2. They Are Going Through A Rough Patch:
Another possibility is that your coworker is going through a tough time in their life.
Maybe they’re going through a divorce. Perhaps they are struggling with their mental health. They might also be dealing with a personal tragedy.
Whatever the case may be, they may not be in the mood to socialize. So, it’s best to give them space and not take it personally.
3. They Don’t Know How To Connect With People:
Many people want connection but don’t know how to go about it.
So, they may not be rejecting you, but rather their social awkwardness.
You can help them overcome this by being understanding. Take the initiative and be patient. Eventually, they may come around and be more social.
4. They Dislike You:
Of course, there’s always the possibility that your coworker doesn’t like you.
Maybe they think you’re annoying, believe you are trying to steal their thunder, or are just jealous of you.
If this is the case, you cannot do much about it. Just remember to take the high road and not sink to their level.
5. They’re Having A Bad Day:
It’s also possible that your coworker is just having a bad day.
Maybe they’re stressed about a project, dealing with personal problems, or are in a bad mood.
Do not take it personally if this is the case. Just give them some space and try again tomorrow.
6. They’re Don’t Like The Company:
Another possibility is that your coworker doesn’t like the company they work for.
Maybe they think the company is unfair, or their job is tedious. They might not get along with their manager.
In such cases, there’s not much you can do. Just try to be understanding and empathize with them.
Also, if they’re looking for a new job, they might not want to socialize. It might affect their chances of getting promoted.
Can You Be Standoffish To A Standoffish Coworker?
If someone is being standoffish to you, it can be tempting to return the favour. However, this is usually not the best course of action.
Instead, try to be the bigger person and take the high road. This means being understanding and not taking their behaviour personally.
Just let them know that you’re there for them if they need anything.
Even in the worst-case scenario, it’s always best to just let it go and move on.
Please don’t be as cold and rude as them; that’ll make things worse.
Standoffish coworkers can be frustrating, but there are ways to connect with them.
First, try to find common ground. If you have something in common with someone, connecting with them is easier.
Second, offer a sympathetic ear. If your coworker looks like they could use a friend, be that friend.
Third, give compliments. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and a genuine compliment can go long.
Fourth, invite them to lunch. This shows that you’re interested in getting to know them better and value their company.
Finally, be patient and take the initiative. With time and effort, you can connect with anyone. But it won’t happen overnight.
Last Updated on 1 year by Shahzaib Arshad
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