How do you tell if coworkers are intimidated by you? This is a question that you may have especially if you are new to a job or a department and aren’t being welcomed the way you anticipated. This article will present a list of 19 obvious and visible signs coworkers are intimidated by you.
So, you’re excited about joining a new company or have recently moved into a new department within your existing company. Your goal is to be the best coworker you can be and will go that extra mile to get off on the right foot.
That excitement of a change in your working environment doesn’t last very long because your coworkers aren’t treating you well and you’re not sure why. What is strange is that you not worried about dealing with a toxic boss, you’re concerned about your coworkers.
Could it be that they don’t like you for some reason? Do they feel threatened by you? How do you tell if coworkers are intimidated by you? Apart from your coworkers, are you also seeing signs your boss is threatened by you? Here’s a list of some obvious signs your coworkers may be threatened by you.
19 Signs Coworkers are Intimidated by You
1. Limited Eye Contact
In meetings, or even walking down the hallway, coworkers avert their eyes and don’t make eye contact with you. This is one of the tell-tale signs coworkers are intimidated by you or they just plain don’t like you.
2. You’re Left Out of After-Work Activities
On occasion workers within your department go out for drinks after work. You’ve never been asked to join them and, as a result, you assume they are talking derisively about you at these meet-ups.
3. You Aren’t Included in Coffee Breaks
During the working day many of your coworkers head up to the cafeteria for a coffee break. Just like you aren’t asked to go out after work, the same thing happens during the day at work.
4. Your Creative Ideas are Stolen by Your Peers
At times you notice that ideas that you have shared with some of your coworkers are brought up in meetings but you aren’t credited with those ideas. In other words, your coworkers are taking credit for your creative thoughts and ideas.
5. Coworkers Display Closed Body Language
Body language is an important trait when it comes to how your coworkers feel about you. Some examples of closed body language are limited eye contact, as mentioned previously, arms crossed, legs crossed, or coworkers leaning away from you.
6. Changing Facial Expressions
Oftentimes when you walk into a meeting room or pass by a colleague in the corridor their facial expressions change as soon as you are noticed. You tend to notice these changes in facial expressions occur with most of your coworkers.
7. Silence When you Walk into a Meeting
You notice that every time you walk into a meeting, your coworkers immediately end their conversations. This becomes more and more prevalent every meeting you attend.
8. Rumors are Being Spread About You
You hear from one of your only friends in the company that others are spreading rumors about you throughout the company. You’re not too sure how to deal with it.
9. Your Work is Constantly Criticized by Your Peers
One of the most obvious signs your coworkers are intimidated by you is that they constantly criticize the work you are doing. You know that you are doing exemplary work according to your boss but your coworkers nitpick at the slightest things to denigrate your work. Some examples can be seen below.
“In your presentation this morning you used the filler words “Um”, “Ah”, and “You Know” much too frequently.”
“Your report that you just finished used the wrong font. You need to follow company best practices and utilize the proper standards.”
“That dashboard you developed was a little too busy. You should rework it and give it another try,”
10. All Conversations are on the Surface
Whenever you have any conversations with coworkers they are all superficial. Your coworkers never confide in you or open up on any personal level at all. All verbal correspondence is strictly business.
11. They Compete With You
Instead of working together as a team, your coworkers display their insecurity by being competitive with you. If you are being praised by your boss for a project you recently completed they may downplay your project in a team meeting and highlight a recent project they completed.
12. You are Avoided in Shared Spaces
Whenever you enter a shared common area like a company cafeteria, coffee break room, or mail room your coworkers avoid you and don’t initiate any small talk. You sense this is because they are intimidated by your presence.
13. Coworkers Don’t Share Their Ideas
In a typical department setting coworkers will share their ideas and thoughts based on current departmental projects. Oftentimes you may see others talking to a coworker in your department about a project they are working on. None of your coworkers express their ideas to you and it’s obvious to you that it is deliberate.
14. They Don’t Make an Effort to Know You
You’ve been working in the company for a few months and none of your departmental coworkers have made the slightest attempt to get to know you. You feel isolated and lonely as a result and basically feel left out.
15. They Avoid Having to Travel with You for Work
When you were interviewing for the job, it was advertised as 50% travel. You figured, if you traveled with a coworker or two it would be a great way to get to know them. But, whenever the topic comes up of travel your coworkers go out of their way to avoid traveling with you.
If it happens to be that they must travel with you they will ensure to leave on a different flight and stay in a different hotel.
16. They use Email vs Personal Interaction
You’ve noticed that your coworkers try their best to avoid personal interaction. Most, if not all, of your interaction with your coworkers, is electronically through email. This is just another sign that your coworkers are intimidated by you.
17. Conversations End Quickly
During times when you have any personal interaction with your coworkers, they end abruptly without any warning. It’s obvious that your coworkers don’t want to have any lengthy conversations with you.
18. Coworkers are Nervous in Your Presence
You’ve oftentimes noticed in meetings or just in passing that coworkers appear nervous when you are around. Their nervousness indicates to you that they are intimidated by you.
19. Indirect Messaging
Rather than speaking to you directly, oftentimes a coworker who is intimidated by you will get a message to you indirectly. This is typically done via another coworker rather than having to speak with you in person. This is another sign that your coworker is threatened by you.
Signs Coworkers are Intimidated by You – A Summary
Working in an environment where there are signs coworkers are threatened by you can be a daunting experience. You can learn to deal with it the best you can or you can slowly but surely let your coworkers know that you are on even footing with them.
This should help allay their fears and allow you to become an accepted part of the team. Another option is to move on to another department within the company or interview for a position at another company.
Either way, you need to find a way to work in a more harmonious environment, whether at your current company or at a new one.
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Bob has been blogging for over 20 years and has been an office and cubicle dweller for more than 35 years. He has been featured in numerous online publications such as US News and World Report, Bustle, and Work Awesome (you can read his articles here). He created the popular office website CubicleBliss in January 2011 and rebranded it as WorkspaceBliss in April 2020.
In the office he’s been an IT Manager, Applications Engineer, Systems Analyst, Software Project leader, and Programmer Analyst in his long career. He’s a Certified Microsoft Professional and possesses a Masters of Science degree and two Bachelor of Science degrees, one of those in Informational Technology.
During his career he has worked in the office full-time, as a hybrid remote worker, and has worked from home permanently.