There are times when you want to ignore a coworker. Maybe they’re being obnoxious, or you’re just not in the mood to talk to them. So here’s how to ignore a coworker without being too obvious.
A coworker being ignored may feel hurt, so it’s essential to be as subtle as possible when ignoring them.
17 Ways To Ignore A Coworker
Whatever your reason for wanting to avoid a coworker, there are some tried and true methods for doing so.
So we will go through them now:
1. Don’t Make Eye Contact:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t look at someone, it’s harder for them to approach you and start a conversation.
So, if you’re trying to ignore a coworker, avoid making eye contact. Instead, you can focus on your work or something else in the room.
Such as you can read a book or use your phone. Or you can try this method:
Pretend you’re looking for something on your desk or a nearby cabinet. Then, when you “find” what you’re looking for, take a glance at the person you’re trying to ignore.
And then look away. They will get the hint and leave you alone.
Sometimes, though, a coworker may be determined to talk to you.
In this case, you can try one of the following methods:
2. Avoid Talking To Them Directly:
If a coworker tries to talk to you, don’t talk to them directly. Instead, talk to the person next to you or look over their shoulder and talk to someone else in the room.
For instance, you can say something like, “Hey, have you seen Sarah? I need to talk to her about the project.”
Or you can say, “I’m sorry, I’m swamped right now. I have to finish this report.”
You’re sending a clear message that you’re not interested in talking to them. And eventually, they’ll get the hint and leave you alone. If they say they will speak to you later, say, “Okay, sounds good.”
But don’t make any plans to talk to them later. Instead, pretend you forgot about the conversation and move on.
And for that, what you can do is:
3. Move Away If They Approach You:
If a coworker approaches you, politely excuse yourself and move away. You can say, “I’m sorry, I have to go to the restroom.”
Or you can say, “I need to get something from my desk.” ‘
Then, walk away quickly. If they try to follow you, keep walking and don’t look back. And if they try to talk to you again, repeat the process.
You have many options here, so do whatever you need to do to get away from the person.
Some can portray interest:
4. Feign Interest If They Start Talking To You:
If a coworker starts talking to you, try to feign interest in what they’re saying. Nod your head occasionally and make affirmative noises.
But don’t listen to what they’re saying. Instead, think about something else.
And if you need to, you can take a step away from the person. Make sure you don’t walk away while they talk to you.
But gradually moving away while they’re talking is perfectly fine. They will not even notice.
5. Give Them The Silent Treatment:
This one is a bit more extreme, but it can be effective. If you’re not interested in talking to a coworker, you can give them the silent treatment.
Please don’t say anything to them when they talk to you. Stare at them blankly and don’t respond.
Or you can pretend you didn’t hear them. Keep doing whatever you’re doing and don’t acknowledge that they’re talking to you.
Eventually, they’ll get the hint and leave you alone. This method is rude, so only use it if you’re sure the person won’t be offended.
6. Wait For Them To Leave:
You can wait for the person to leave. Eventually, they will get tired of trying to talk to you and go away.
Or if they have to leave for a meeting or something, that’s even better. Wait for them to go, and then you can return to doing what you were doing.
Meanwhile, you can small talk with other colleagues:
7. Talk To Other Coworkers:
If you’re in a situation where you can’t avoid talking to a coworker, try talking to other coworkers instead.
Strike up a conversation with someone else in the room. Or, if you’re at a work function, talk to the people around you.
Eventually, the person you’re trying to avoid will get bored, and they’ll leave you alone.
And if they do try to talk to you, repeat the process.
8. Excuse Yourself:
If all else fails, you can always excuse yourself and walk away. You can say, “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
Or you can say, “Excuse me, I have to take this call.” You can now walk away, and the person will not be able to follow you.
This is a bit rude, but a good option. And it’s better than ignoring the person completely.
Excusing yourself is polite, but it’s also a clear message that you’re not interested in talking to them.
So your coworker will eventually get the hint and leave you alone.
9. Pretend You Are Busy:
This one is pretty simple. Pretend you’re busy with something else. If a coworker approaches you, act like you’re preoccupied with something.
You can say, “I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of something.” Or you can say, “Can we talk later? I’m swamped right now.”
You can even hold up a stack of papers or something to show you’re busy. Or you can pretend to be on the phone.
The key here is to look busy. And if you do it convincingly enough, the person will eventually leave you alone.
10. Don’t Be Anywhere Near Them:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t be anywhere near the person you’re trying to avoid.
If they’re in your office, try to work from home. Or, if they’re in your department, try to work in a different part of the building.
Or if you have to be in the same room as them, try to sit as far away from them as possible.
Do whatever you can to not be near the person. Your coworker will realize that you’re avoiding them, and they’ll leave you alone.
11. Become Unapproachable:
You can do this by wearing headphones or reading a book. Or you can put on sunglasses or keep your head down.
Anything that makes you less approachable will work. Try to ignore their texts or calls.
The key is to make yourself as unapproachable as possible. It sends the message that you don’t want to talk to them.
And if you do it right, your coworker will eventually leave.
12. Give Them The Cold Shoulder:
This one is pretty simple. Act like you don’t care about the person. Be short with them when you talk and don’t make eye contact.
You can also be rude or mean to them. Cold-shouldering someone clearly means you don’t want to talk to them.
But it’s also a bit rude, so only use this method if you never want to talk to the person again.
13. Talk To Them In A Monotone Voice:
The monotone voice is dull and uninteresting. So when you talk to your coworker, speak in a monotone voice.
This will make them bored, and they’ll eventually leave you alone. You can try to be as dull as possible. Such as talking about the weather or what you had for lunch.
Make sure you don’t say anything that could interest them. Such as, “I’m so excited for the weekend!”
14. Be Short With Them:
When you talk to your coworker, be short with them. Give them one-word answers, and don’t elaborate on anything.
You can say things like, “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know.” Act like you don’t have time for them.
Be in a hurry and act like you have to go. The key is to be short and to the point.
They will not realize you are trying to avoid them and think you’re busy.
15. Set Boundaries:
You can do this by setting clear boundaries with the person. Let them know what you’re comfortable with and not satisfied with.
For example, you can tell them that you don’t want to be friends with them. Or you can say to them that you don’t want to talk to them outside of work.
Make it clear that you’re not interested in being their friend.
16. Be Direct:
And if all else fails, you can be direct and tell the person that you’re not interested in talking to them.
Say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in talking to you.”
Or you can say, “I don’t want to talk to you, so please leave me alone.” This is rude, but it’s the best way to get your point across.
And you have communicated your feelings directly, so the person will know where you stand.
17. Ignore Them:
This one is it. Just ignore the person. Don’t talk to them, don’t look at them, and don’t respond to them.
Just act like they don’t exist. The key is not to give them any attention. If they are trying to talk to you, walk away.
Or if they’re standing next to you, pretend like you can’t see them.
The goal is to make them feel invisible. And if you do it right, they will know how much you despise their presence.
Avoiding someone at work can be difficult, but it’s possible. Just use one of the methods above, and you’ll be able to ignore your coworker in no time.
Start by being short with them or avoiding eye contact. Or you can try to be as unapproachable as possible.
You can also try to set boundaries or be direct with them. And if all else fails, you can ignore the person. Moreover, ignorance at workplace can be difficult to deal with too.
Remember to be consistent with your actions; the person will get the message.
Last Updated on 2 months by Eesha Khan
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