10 Signs Your Boss Can’t Help You – What Can You Do

Written By Assma Riaz

Have you ever noticed your boss acting mysterious when you ask him for some help? Well, that weird behavior can have many reasons behind it.

10 Signs Your Boss Can’t Help You

The first and the most important reason behind such behavior is that your boss can’t help you. He acts bizarre, so you understand the matter yourself and don’t ask for help next time.

A boss who can’t help you will be seen in office like a guilty culprit who’s trying his best to hide from you.

The boss is not afraid of you, but he’s avoiding you because of his guilt for himself. He won’t look at you and pretends that he didn’t listen to you.

Yet, there are many other signs your boss can’t help you. So let’s explore these!

1. The Boss Walks Fast Past Your Cabin:

The first and the most visible sign that your boss can’t help you is that he walks fast while passing your desk. He pretends to be in a hurry so that you don’t stop him and call for help.

Signs Your Boss Cant Help You
The Boss Walks Fast Past Your Cabin

Even if you’ve been planning for so long that you’ll ask him for help when he comes out of a meeting, he won’t listen.

However, deep down, he knows that it’s his job to help and guide you through the way. But he can’t help you because of his own workload or some other hidden reasons.

2. Signs Your Boss Can’t Help You – Pretends He Didn’t Listen to You:

At the end of a meeting, you approach your boss and ask him something related to work. He might pretend that he didn’t listen to you at all and go on his way.

However, your voice was loud and clear, but he pretended like it faded away in the meeting room noise.

The Boss Ignores Your Voice
Signs Your Boss Cant Help You – Pretends He Didnt Listen to You

It’s a strong sign that your boss can’t help you, but he can’t tell you this either. So the next time your boss doesn’t listen to you, know that there’s something wrong.

3. Says He Forgot About Your Requests:

Your boss always forgets about your request for a leave or an idea approval and says he couldn’t keep it in mind.

If this happens to you only, it can be a sign that he’s unable to help. Maybe he helped you by going out of his way in the past, but then he got charged with favoritism.

So now the boss avoids helping you as the higher management is watching him. It’s not your boss’s fault every time; he has to take care of his job as well.

4. Can’t Keep An Eye Contact With You:

Have you ever noticed that your boss can’t maintain steady eye contact while talking to you? That’s maybe because he’s avoiding any request from you as he can’t help you.

You Notice That He Can Not Look In To Your Eyes
Cant Keep An Eye Contact With You

As told earlier, he doesn’t want to get blamed for favoritism anymore, so he avoids helping you.

You go to his office, and he keeps searching for a file all the time while you talk to him, then it’s a sign.

5. He Keeps An Eye On You From A Distance:

Although your boss wants to help you, he can’t because his own boss is micromanaging him. Yet keeps an eye on you from a distance so that he can see if you’re going in the right direction.

He observes you with a good intention of keeping you away from the problems in the company.

You’re working, and the boss looks at you from the corner of their eyes while standing near the coffee machine.

6. He Sends Invisible Help When Possible:

As I mentioned in the previous point, your boss wants to help you but it’s authorities that keeps him from doing so.

If you were stuck in an assignment and asked your boss to guide you, he couldn’t do that.

He Secretly Helps You Because Of Authorities
He Sends Invisible Help When Possible

But now you find a note beneath your keyboard that’s contains possible solutions for your problem.

It’s his way of helping you and getting in the eyes of anyone else in the office. Such small gestures are a strong sign that your boss can’t help you even if he wants to.

7. Signs Your Boss Can’t Help You – Smiles At You When No One’s Looking:

It’s a strong sign that your boss can’t help you when he passes you a smile as compensation.

The boss is guilty, but he still can’t help you, so he either ignores you or smiles at you when you look at him.

It can have another side to the picture, though. When your boss smiles at you, he’s assuring you that he’ll help you in some other way.

8. There’s A Differential Treatment:

Does your boss treat the other employees in the same way? If no, then he’s trying to discriminate against you through his behavior.

Your Boss Treats You Differently From Your Coworkers
Theres A Differential Treatment

He’s friendly with your coworkers and guides them when they need help, but that doesn’t happen in your case.

It’s maybe because he hates you or wants to show you that you don’t matter to him.

But it can also be a strong sign telling you that your boss can’t help you.

9. He seems To Be Busy When You Go To Him:

When you go to your boss’s office to ask for some guidance, he’s too busy to help you. Yet, you think that there’s no important project ongoing in the company, so what’s keeping him busy.

But in reality, he doesn’t want to help you and pretends that he’s too busy even to answer you.

It’s an obvious sign that your boss is just portraying himself as busy, and he can’t help you.

10. Signs Your Boss Can’t Help You – Provides Vague Feedback:

The boss never gives you clear feedback about your performance and leaves you struggling.

He Never Gives You Clear Instructions On What To Do
Signs Your Boss Cant Help You – Provides Vague Feedback

Instead of going to your boss to ask for help, you struggle with this vague feedback. So you never get the time to talk to your boss.

He even writes “average” on your performance appraisal. Moreover, the boss never gives clear instructions for an assignment.

What To Do When Your Boss Doesn’t Help You – 4 Steps

Not having the inevitable support or help from your boss can make your job unbearable.

Such situations are mild that you must be confused about what to do next. Because you can’t get your boss fired for not helping you, of course!

So what should you do instead? Following strategies can help you get out of such a scenario.

1. Keep Playing Your Part:

Although you know that your boss won’t help you, don’t withdraw from this relationship.

You must keep playing your part in this working relationship so that you can find the reason behind such behavior.

Signs Your Boss Cant Help You
Keep Playing Your Part

When you don’t let your negative thoughts take over you, you’ll learn how to handle this difficult situation.

Also, more qualities like strength, resilience, and confidence will instill in you.

2. Look For Other Sources Of Support:

Know that your boss is not the only person in the company who can help you in your difficult times. There’ll be many other people with whom you’ve worked on different projects in the past.

Find those people and connect to them for a better and positive outlook on life.

Let’s be clear with them on the topic of how they can help you and vice versa. Maybe they can help by offering you to work on new projects with new teams.

3. Let It Absorb In:

If you had a bad interaction with your boss, don’t waste time thinking about why you asked for help in the first place.

Avoid Taking The Matter To Your Nerves
Let It Absorb In

You should shut down that incident and try moving forward with your life.

If you keep on venting, remember that it won’t help you bring help from someone else.

Avoid focusing on your boss and seeing what they have been doing. If you do so, you’ll be handing over your control to them.

4. Move Forward:

If you’ve decided that you must leave this organization, then focus your energy and time there.

Signs Your Boss Cant Help You
Move Forward

Avoid paying attention to what happened and instead focus on making relations with other companies.

When you feel guilty about this relationship not working, you should relax because it’s normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Know Your Boss Doesn't Like You?

A boss that doesn't like you will ignore you whenever he sees you in the office. But simultaneously, he'll micromanage your work. Such bosses will question your work even if you did your best. He won't include you in important assignments and treats you differently.

How Do You Know If Your Boss Is Struggling?

If you want to see that your boss is struggling and know the reason behind it, arrange a one-on-one meeting with him. You can talk a bit about your struggle to tell him he's not alone. Ask right away what's bothering him and suggest a solution.

Why Won't My Boss Give Me More Work?

If your boss is not giving you any work to do, that might be because he's ready to fire you. He doesn't need you and already passed your work to others. Another reason can be his caring nature; if you're going through a rough phase, he'll lessen the workload to help you.

How Do I Complain About Favoritism At Work?

First of all, gather the courage to stand against favoritism at work. Speak up in front of the authorities and say No where needed. Keep things professional, and never accept the benefits of favoritism if you're getting this treatment.


If you’ve found any of these signs to be relevant to your case, you should keep your calm no matter what.

If your boss can’t help you because of his own reasons, you need not open the doors of a war.

Do whatever you can to keep advancing in your career, and don’t let your boss’s behavior influence you.

However, if it’s bothering you, you can directly ask your boss why it’s happening. If he responds well, it’s good, but leave this matter and move on if he doesn’t.

You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad

Assma Riaz

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