How to retort to a coworker who hates you- The 7 A’s approach

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Those spooky stares, nasty comments, guilty ignores, negative gossip, petty politics and the invisible behavior, all make it very evident that your coworker hates you and you have no idea why…

You’ve laughed, brushed it off or even pretended that they’re dead! After a certain point you realize it really is getting to you. The magnitude of the problem is making its presence known, by impacting your work.

That’s when you know your approach hasn’t worked! Now what? How to deal with this?

Firstly, stop masking your resentment and discuss what’s bothering you, through effective communication.

Coworker hates you

Here’s what you can do: The 7 A’s approach

coworker hates you


Office is a place where people from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and sensibilities come together to work. It is natural that not everyone may share the same feelings with you and about you.

Accept that:

  • It is not realistic to expect everyone to like you
  • People hold on to their opinions based on your behavior too
  • Misunderstandings happen, but ignoring is not the solution
  • If the problem was you, accept it!

Trying to resolve does not harm you. At the most, it may not work. But that’s ok. You’d never regret trying it!


Firstly, be sure that your co-worker hates you. Not sure? Spot if your coworker hates you based on these signs!

  • Your gut tells you! Believe it, because it is the real brain!
  • You are invisible to them, they look right through you
  • Spreading rumors about you is their favorite workout
  • They try to sabotage your career
  • Avoiding social interactions- connecting or hanging out with you
  • They use email when they MUST give any information to you
  • Fighting your views and consistently disagreeing with you, is their only agenda

At work we often feel that the person who disagrees with us the most, hates us!

Indeed the reasons might be anything from having annoying habits, conducting yourself poorly at work, professional incapability, hampering their career propects, or being their competitor and more.

If you’re certain that disagreement isn’t the case, then follow the steps below.

Self-introspect, travel back in time, to know if something you did, or said agitated your co-worker/s. Maybe you unintentionally did not share the credit, or uttered offensive statements, or been an obstacle in their work or growth.

Address with a congenial approach:

Whether you prefer talking to your coworker directly, or request an impartial mediator to facilitate the conversation between you two, initiate it approvingly! Be sensitive to their needs and feelings. Let them know that you’d like to maintain a congenial relationship with them. Ask how and what you can do to improve things between you two.

Also, actively listen when your co-worker puts forth his/her point of view. Ask for specifics. Be empathetic.

Let this be on a light-note and not look like a tussle between you two.

coworker hates you


Take responsibility for your actions. If it’s clearly because of something you said or did, apologize upfront without defending or attacking. For ex: “I am sorry, but….”  This kind of apology does not work. Apologize genuinely, and not as an urge to settle the conflict.


When you need help or offer one! Ask for their opinions and suggestions too, at work. They will certainly feel valued for acknowledging their experience and acumen. This helps you build trust and makes your relationship more concrete professionally and personally.


Applaud on their success! Praise their merits in public. Talk about their positive traits with other peers. Its called positive gossip. When it reaches your co-worker, it echoes well about your personality!


If despite your best intentions, you’ve not witnessed any change in your coworker’s attitude towards you, then adjust your expectations. Give yourself a pat on the back for choosing to proactively address the differences. Now, MOVE ON…for your time and energy needs to be focused on more important things.

Don’t go overboard to please everyone, while afflicting your self-respect. If you’re trying too hard, to ‘fix’ it, with your nit and grit, your efforts might just fling, or you may end up disappointed!


Finally, you may not be able to control the outcome, yet you can control your attitude and how you deal with it. Don’t let their response turn you down!

Holding on to grudges, reciprocating negative feelings will only worsen the state of the situation. Instead, make your presence in the office feel purposeful! Stay friendly, be polite, be empathetic and assertive. Demonstrate to your peers that, you value professional civility more than the controversies at personal level.

Escalate, if the behavior turns into bullying and sabotaging your career.

It is true that being well-liked by everyone, boosts your mental fortitude. However, staying composed, despite challenging situations and people, makes you an evolved person overall. Choose tolerance over disposition!


Rajeshwari Ogirala

Rajeshwari is a writer, Biz Development Manager. Passionate about people and personal development. Believes in sharing her knowledge and instilling positive work culture in people.

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