How To Handle A Toxic Coworker In 12 Ways

Written By Aleena

A toxic coworker can make your work and life miserable. Here’s how to handle a toxic coworker.

People are toxic when they are destructive or dangerous to your well-being. Your coworker is a person you work with who is harmful to your psychological and physical health.

Top 12 Ways To Handle A Toxic Coworker

Toxic coworkers create an unpleasant working environment by:

– Insulting

– Undermining

– Blocking off opportunities for growth etc.

This negativity affects not only the target but everyone around them as well.

1. Identify The Problem:

Toxic behaviors can include:

– Bullying

– Gossiping

– Withholding information

– Using excessive force or

– Making snide remarks towards you or others.


We interact with coworkers professionally. Thus these toxic behaviors could happen behind your back. It makes it even more challenging to address the problem.

2. Identify The Cause To Handle A Toxic Coworker:

Many factors like: can often cause toxic behaviors such as bulling and gossiping

– Insecurity

– Diffidence or

Personal problems.

In such cases, seek help from your Human Resource department is available in your company. You could also take this opportunity to mentor your coworker.

3. Build A Relationship:

Toxic relationships are difficult to disengage yourself off. In most cases, they occur because you don’t know where the other person is coming from.

Building a relationship with them allows you insight into their background. It tells you what drives their behavior patterns.

It enables you to give them some slack when dealing with them instead of rushing to judgment.

4. Be Proactive:

Since toxicity is rooted in insecurity, you should build the other person’s confidence and self-esteem.

Please do so by expressing encouragement and appreciation for their work. That would help reduce the animosity while allowing them to see your harmonious side.

5. Keep A Professional Distance:

If that doesn’t work, opt for a less emotional solution to solve the problem. Keep a neutral professional relationship with your coworker.

Also, still, be friendly if necessary. If all these fail, consider finding another job. It should be a place where you can express yourself without any repercussions.

Toxic coworkers are challenging but not impossible to deal with. Try out all possible methods until you find which works for both parties involved.

How To Handle A Toxic Coworker (2)

Do so before you opt to walk out of there. If you have a toxic coworker, then know that you have options in front of you in this matter.

6. Communicate Effectively To Handle A Toxic Coworker:

Your first course is to communicate with her assertively. Stand your ground when needed. But also keep the conversation aim instead of getting personal.

It cannot be easy, but with practice, you will succeed. Eventually, you will not let yourself get affected by toxic behaviors.

7. Seek Help From The Proper Sources :

Seeking help from HR could also help cut any harmful interactions between you. They would be more informed on how best to solve this problem.

Inform them about your concerns to see whether they are violating the work policy or not.

8. Prepare For The Long Haul:

Keep in mind that dealing with a toxic person requires patience. Thus, don’t expect everything to work overnight.

But if you are persistent enough, there is no doubt that you will overcome this obstacle.

Be ready for their nastiness by keeping your standards high. Maintain your relationship with them on a professional level.

9. Stay Calm To Handle A Toxic Coworker:

You could also change the toxic behavior by changing your reactions towards it. If you give them the power they seek, they will continue doing so since there is no opposition.

By staying calm making your points, you reduce the severity of these interactions. It makes it easier for both parties to develop some understanding.

So focus on that instead of getting stressed out or distracted by their methods.

10. Prepare For The Worst-Case Scenario:

If all else fails, consider finding another job or department to work with as hard as it may be. Toxic coworkers don’t deserve a spot in your life.

Please take the necessary steps towards controlling their impact on you. Meanwhile, work towards a solution that could uplift both of you.

11. The Toxic Coworker Is Not Worth It:

In the end, you must know that toxicity isn’t worth it. You can’t always wait for things to get better. In some cases, they never will.

brings you down

If a situation gets worse despite your best efforts, do something about it. Politely cut ties with them and move on.

12. Take Time For Yourself To Handle A Toxic Coworker:

It’s okay to be selfish here. Sometimes, we need to put our well-being first. After all, the only person who can make you happy is YOU.

So please take this time to do something that will relax your mind and rejuvenate energy for work. If possible, take a vacation.

It can be like having a cup of tea or coffee listening to your favorite music. The earlier you start doing so, the better it will be for yourself in the long term.

Who Is A Toxic Coworker?

When it comes to Toxic Coworkers, you might ask yourself, “what does a toxic coworker look like?” and the answer is: they’re like everybody else in your workplace.

They could be any gender and come from different backgrounds. What makes them different is their desire to control others through mistreatment or intimidation.

If your boss tells you he can’t identify the toxic workers, he may have forgone some vital signs.

It could give him an idea about who these people are before their impact becomes too much for others. Some of these include

1. Extremely Unhappy And Negative:

A toxic coworker will find it hard to be in a good mood and even more complicated when working with others.

They’ll always complain about the most mundane details. They will suck your energy by bringing you down through passive-aggressive behavior.

2. Unreasonable Demands:

Toxic coworkers can also be demanding on their team members. Making such unnecessary requests adds more pressure on those who oblige.


There is no way they can finish all of them in time without feeling overwhelmed by tasks.

It makes it easier for them to blame others while all the credit themselves. Thus, it causes many problems for anyone willing to help.

3. Unwilling To Change:

Not only do toxic workers refuse to change their ways, but they also get worse with time. They’ll always find an excuse for their actions.

They will spend every waking moment trying to prove themselves right even when it’s wrong.

It can lead to a lot more trouble for anyone who has no choice but to interact with them at work.

4. Manipulative:

Aside from being emotionally manipulative, they are also physically manipulative. Your coworker leaves you no choice but to go along with what they want.

There is no way of getting them to acknowledge their wrongdoings. Thus, you might as well try to avoid conflict altogether by following their instructions.

5. No Respect:

These people lack the respect they need and expect at their workplace. It is why it’s essential for them to feel like they’re in control all the time.

They also make sure that those who work under them submit and surrender completely. Thus, it can be harmful if they already outrank you.

It makes it easier for them to do whatever they please. They don’t give anyone else a chance of stopping them or even uttering a single word of their own.

6. Easily Provoked:

In most cases, toxic coworkers push other people’s buttons. It makes them feel powerful and gives them a sense of joy when they get a reaction from you.

It means they do the same thing until someone finally stops playing their games. It can make things harder for those who don’t react to such behavior.

7. Single-Minded:

They’re not open to suggestions or opinions that go against what they want. That is why if you have nothing friendly or positive to say, then you should remain quiet around them.

They got the chance only to turn hostile towards whoever tried to contradict them. It includes the people they work with.

8. Selfish – A Toxic Coworker:

Toxic coworkers can be selfish not outside of work but also inside their office. It means that regardless of how much you do for them or what you contribute, it’s never enough.

How To Handle A Toxic Coworker

They’ll always ask for more than what’s appropriate, no matter how much it will cost you in the long run.

9. Liar – A Toxic Coworker:

If one thing is worse than a toxic coworker, it has to be an outright liar. They find ways to deceive others so they won’t get caught for whatever wrongdoings.

They’re very tricky and crafty about doing this too. It makes things even harder for anyone who gets in their way.

10. Sociopath:

The worst trait about toxic coworkers is diagnosed with sociopathic tendencies.

It makes it easier for them to emotionally detach from others no matter how close they may be. They can’t care less if you get hurt because of them.

They will never feel the need to apologize when there’s something wrong. They’ll do it all over again anyway when given a chance.


A toxic person is challenging to deal with. If you leave an encounter with them feeling bad about yourself, something isn’t right.

There are ways to deal with toxic people at work. The first thing you need to do is get support from others who’ve dealt with them in the past. Otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere.


Leave a Comment