How to Deal with Toxic Coworkers in the Office | 2023

Here is the best place to find out how to deal with toxic co-workers.

Co-workers are individuals you work closely with to come up with better results. Generally, our co-workers are not our friends due to our jobs; you are a friend and closer than just a friend. In a scenario whereby you find your co-worker acting selfishly or/and they often ridicule your work or are taking credit for your entire work.

This can be depressing and also make working difficult. It rains everywhere, and every workplace has at least one or more toxic workers who can be difficult to work with.

But you should always keep in mind that you’re not the toxic worker in the office. The presence of a toxic co-worker can affect your blood pressure or ruin the work atmosphere for the day.

With a toxic person being your co-worker, working can be depressing and frustrating. Since we can’t control or adapt to their behavior, we must look for how to deal with the situation before it makes a toxic person.

Truly, our co-workers can inspire us, but if you work with a toxic colleague, inspire yourself by not allowing them to affect you negatively. Letting a toxic co-worker walk over you can as well turn you into a toxic person, and you wouldn’t want that.

Toxic co-workers can make your professional life unprofessional if you’re not careful enough, especially when working with greedy, rude, and annoying co-workers, and some are office gossipers bent on tarnishing your reputation at work. You wonder how you’ll be able to deal with them.

Well, you have nothing to be worried about, as this overview will give you an insight into how to deal with toxic co-workers in the office.

Ways to deal with toxic coworkers

Who Is a Toxic Co-Worker?

Our co-workers are our teammates and supporters when an issue arises. But who are toxic co-workers? Toxic co-workers are colleagues with some negative traits, like rudeness and disrespect.

Sometimes they become greedy and aggressive and act like they know it all. Generally, they are toxic, and you might become like them if you’re not careful enough.

Just like how we inherit some wonderful traits from friends and families, we can also inherit some toxic traits from our co-workers.

They are usually bitter victims of evil society, childhood trauma, and other unfortunate circumstances that could’ve created such people.

Like being positive, negativity is contagious, so you have to deal with a toxic co-worker earlier than your initial plans.

A toxic co-worker makes working look like unpleasant stress. Due to their negative nature, they can make you feel like you’re not doing enough since they’re often good at undermining other co-workers’ work credibility.

Only one toxic co-worker is enough to destroy a positive working place; toxic individuals might have experienced some toxic behavior from other co-workers, and it might not be obvious to the fact that they are toxic and might end up inheriting some toxic behavior from them. Still, you know better, which is why you’re seeking answers. 

How To Identify a Toxic Co-worker

Some co-workers can be pretentious, making it difficult to know how toxic they can be. Regardless of some of the toxic traits explained below, you should know there are other traits that a toxic co-worker has.

A toxic co-worker will always try to take credit for jobs they didn’t do. The slackers, the office gossiper, and the bully are usually the ones. They are also aggressive and rude. They undermine other co-workers thinking they are the best.

They blame others for their mistakes and are often extremely defensive when confronted. If you work with a toxic person, always strive to avoid inheriting their negativity and surround yourself with positive vibes only.

You can read this: 15 Smart Ways on How to Deal With a Difficult Boss.

How To Deal With Toxic Co-workers In The Office in 2023

Coming across as a toxic co-worker in any industry is not something new. In every industry, there will always be one or more toxic co-workers, but the major deal to look out for is checking yourself always to know if you’re not the toxic one in the company.

The toxic person in your company could be your co-worker, boss, clients, friends, or anyone at work. You should learn to deal with toxic workers before they influence you with their toxic energy. 

Here are a few lists of toxic co-workers you might come across at your place of work and how to deal with them:

#1. The Passive-Aggressive Co-Worker

A passive-aggressive co-worker expects you to know what is wrong with them through their negative actions.

This type of toxic co-worker won’t open up about what truly bothers or discomfort them. They transfer their aggression to you by being hostile or undermining your efforts at work.

They often know you are unaware of what is wrong but expect you magically understand.

So, the best way to deal with a passive-aggressive co-worker is by talking to them directly and conversing with them to know how to improve the situation. You mustn’t pay evil with evil in this scenario.

In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.

#2. The Rude And Disrespectful Co-Worker

Rude and disrespectful co-workers are one trait a toxic co-worker has. We all have things we consider as being rude and disrespectful. Your co-worker might be the type that walks over you because they feel they’re better in a way, are not always considerate with their actions, or are simply offensive towards you while making bad remarks.

Nobody appreciates co-workers that disrespect them. It is a toxic trait you don’t want to inherit. Ignoring a rude or disrespectful co-worker might be the worst thing to do, as they will continue to be rude to you, and this can affect your self-esteem, address the toxic co-worker head-on so such things won’t repeat themselves.

In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.

#3. The Co-workers That Blame Others For Their Mistakes

This type of toxic co-worker never takes responsibility for their actions. They are usually good at blaming everyone around them for mistakes they made themselves.

Their toxic traits can affect other workers close to them, depressing the workplace.

A co-worker who blames everyone for their faults always tries to ruin the reputations of other co-workers.

You can easily deal with this toxic person by avoiding them or reporting them to the HR department.

You shouldn’t confront them about their activities because they can easily paint you as bad. In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.

#4. The greedy co-workers

We all desire to work with unique co-workers but ended getting greedy. A greedy co-worker can be someone looking for promotions at the cost of another co-worker’s downfall.

Greedy co-workers are selfish and manipulative. Their greed always clouds their judgments. Avoid associating with a greedy co-worker. They can influence you negatively or engage you with unhealthy work competition.

#5. The co-worker that takes credit for other people’s work

One type of toxic co-worker is the one that takes credit for other co-workers’ work. They are often lazy individuals who don’t take part in projects. They love joining at the last minute. This can be annoying because you know how much you invested in the project.

A co-worker who takes another co-worker’s credit can be a manipulator knowing how to steal your work credit without your awareness.

You can deal with this person by confronting them and clarifying that your name deserves to be included in the project.

Avoid making accusations without evidence, but try to be reasonable with them and always emphasize your contributions to the project. In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.

#6. The Unsatisfied Co-Worker

Working with an unsatisfied co-worker can unsettle because regardless of the time and energy you put into the work, you might never satisfy them as they will always find faults in what you.

To create a unique working environment, we always try to put our heart and handwork into what we do, but if you work with an unsatisfied colleague, you might find it difficult to bring the best to work.

When one’s work is not appreciated, it hurts your ego or even discourages you from doing your best. They usually complain about everything or speak negatively about your job.

You can deal with an unsatisfied co-worker by understanding why they are unhappy with your work.

Also, you can ask them for their advice and see if their opinion can help improve your work, be open to corrections, and accept your wrongs.

#7. The Backstabbers 

Backstabbing co-workers are of various types; they belittle other co-workers, make negative remarks, and often take credit for work that isn’t theirs.

If you’ve been a victim of backstabbers, you would know that they are not people to be trusted with important documents.

Most backstabbers are pretentious, they’ll come as friends just to steal your work and take credit for it, and they envy other co-workers’ success at work.

You can deal with a toxic backstabber by avoiding them the best way you can, being open to new friends but always watching what you tell them so as not to be the next topic for the office.

Don’t disclose your ideas when a suspected backstabber is around. In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.

#8. The Controlling Co-Worker

This toxic co-worker always believes they are superior to everyone in the office. They are usually annoying since they believe they can walk over you.

They often refuse to mutually agree on an important aspect of a project. They are the office control freaks that love to order people around with the thought that they are always on point.

Also, their toxic traits can make you feel you don’t know anything or feel unwanted since someone knows it all.

You can deal with this type of people by asking questions about the project. Doing this will make them understand that you are not without ideas, you can offer your advice on a situation, and avoid arguing with a controlling co-worker, as this won’t solve anything. 

#9. The Narcissistic co-workers

A Narcissistic co-worker has an inflated sense of self-importance, a narcissistic colleague who lacks empathy, always feels overly important, feels like they are better than everyone around them, is self-centered, and is always hard to work with due to their toxic traits.

They take credit for other co-workers’ projects. Some are the office flirts that usually feel like they can get anyone they set their mind on. They enjoy making people feel like they are less important.

The best way to deal with a narcissistic co-worker is by ignoring their antics and their manipulative ways, don’t make them feel like they are not important, but try to avoid sharing important details that can be used against you with a narcissistic co-worker.

Also, you can check this: 12 Tips for Dealing with Lazy Co-workers | 2022 Job Tips

#10. The Dramatic Co-Worker 

Working with a dramatic co-worker can be quite exhausting. A dramatic co-worker can easily push your patient button until you react negatively; they rarely care about being professional at their work.

They derive joy from unnecessary attention and can be quite emotional, so you must be careful about how you relate to them.

Sometimes, they are office gossip. They try to be friends with you so they can use your words against you.

You can deal with a dramatic co-worker by not trusting your information or documents with them; although some get easily carried away by their emotions, it is safe you avoid them the best way you can. 

#11. The Emotional Blackmail Co-workers 

Emotional blackmail co-workers are toxic individuals who manipulate others by threatening and demanding them to get things they want. No one wants to associate with this toxic co-worker, but they are always in their lives.

Emotional blackmailers use fear to get their victims to corporate with their absurd needs. Because they know how you react to certain things and probably know some information they can use against you, they always use your emotions for their needs.

You need to first understand how they emotionally blackmail you and their patterns because that’s how you can stop a blackmailer.

You can then approach them and make them understand how their words and actions affect you; some might be oblivious that their traits can be seen as blackmail. In addition, this is one of the ways to deal with toxic co-workers.


How do you distance yourself from co-workers?

Eat lunch from your desk, and take short breaks to get out of the office or walk. Stepping away from your co-workers periodically can give you clarity and calm. If you need more physical distance from a co-worker, ask your manager if you can move to a different office or desk.

Should you tolerate disrespect at work?

Remember that even if they are out of line, they are in control and could determine your fate within the company. Blatant disrespect, discrimination, or harassment at work should never be tolerated. No one should treat you disrespectfully because of your gender, race, religion, age, or cultural differences.

What are toxic work Behaviours?

Toxic employees are typically overconfident, have self-centered attitudes, and are rule breakers. They tend not to cooperate with others or respect their co-workers because they’re always looking out for number one, making them difficult people in the workplace where teamwork is often needed.


While avoiding a toxic might seem like a good idea, you should be careful of becoming one. A toxic co-worker can make working feel like hell, but taking up the courage and confronting them will help you in many ways, but avoid getting in a physical fight with them because doing that will do more harm than good.

I hope this overview gives you the answers to your questions on how to deal with toxic co-workers.


  • Siliconrepublic – How to deal with toxic co-workers
  •  Wikihow – How to Deal with Toxic Co-workers
  •  Zenbusiness – 9 Toxic Co-workers to Look Out for (and How to Protect Yourself)
  •  Scienceofpeople – The Toxic Co-worker Survival Guide: How to Stay Sane & Thrive


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