15 Subtle Signs Your Coworker is Threatened by you

11 minutes read

Let’s talk about some signs your coworker is threatened by you. You might have had experience, in the past or currently, with a coworker who treats you somewhat negatively. It may be by their actions or comportment, or maybe through the words they say to you, especially when you’re excelling at work.

A coworker or group of coworkers may act irrationally toward you and treat you as if you were a plague. You may begin to wonder what you’ve done wrong to deserve such treatment. Calm down; it might not be your fault. It may simply be that they are threatened by you, or maybe they just don’t like you.

People react to others for a variety of reasons that may or may not be factually correct. It could all be an illusion caused by their bad thinking.

If a coworker feels threatened by you, they are likely to behave in a certain way. This article will show you some of the indicators that could help you determine whether or not your coworker views you as a threat.

Signs your Coworker is Threatened by you

Let’s dive into the 15 subtle signs your coworker is threatened by you.

1. They Seem Overly Competitive

In a work environment, there are some co-workers that might never get along with you, no matter how friendly you are, and try to win them over. When they try to talk you down in staff meetings or prevent you from contributing to a discussion, this could be a sign that your coworker is threatened by you.

If you are a new recruit doing so well and always getting commendations from the boss, this might provoke them. inducing them to work hard to show you why they’re superior and gain your approval. This shouldn’t bother you. With a warm smile on your face, gently tap the person and say, “Hey, relax; I’m not your enemy; we are a team, you know.” This might help them loosen up a bit, but only if the person(s) involved are reasonable enough.

2. They Avoid Direct Eye Contact with you

Signs-Your-Coworker-feels intimidated-by-you

One of the easiest telltale signs that somebody is uncomfortable around you and feels threatened by you is when they avoid making direct eye contact with you. That’s because when someone makes eye contact with a person, it goes to show that the person is either attracted to you or just genuinely likes and feels comfortable around you.

Eye contact with a person also goes to show the person that “you have my respect and I am paying attention to you, so speak on.” Consistent eye contact stems from a place of familiarity and comfort.

If you notice that your coworker avoids eye contact with you on purpose, it is safe to assume that he feels threatened by you. But if you look at their body language and how they interact with other coworkers and find that this is how they treat everyone, it could be that they are just shy or lack self-confidence.

That being said, in a case where it’s clear that they maintain a regular candor or rapport with other coworkers, but when it comes to you, they just bolt away, change their demeanor, turn their back on you while talking to you, and maintain a harsh disposition towards you, then it could be a sign that your coworker feels threatened by you.

3. They Try to Undermine You

If your coworkers go out of their way to let people know that your ideas aren’t good enough and that you are not the best staff ever, they could do anything to thwart all your efforts to be a good employee, that’s a huge sign that they are threatened by you.

It’s not always hard to tell what the undermining behavior is about, especially if you’re working on something or have been given a big project to handle. You shouldn’t be surprised by how they act, because that’s what happens when people feel scared. That should serve as an indication that your coworker views you as a potential threat.

4. They Try to Steal Your Credit

Discrediting an individual’s hard work can be mentally draining and extremely painful. How do you explain someone working so tirelessly on a marketing model that finally pushes through and sells for millions, only for the team leader to claim the credit? What a despicable thing to do.

If this has happened to you at work or is happening to you now, it could be a clear sign that your coworker or even your superior at work sees you as a threat.

5. They Get Other People to Turn Against you


When your coworkers gossip about you, talk about you in a negative way, and build some sort of case to make sure that other people view you in a bad light, it could be a clear sign that they feel threatened by you.

Apparently, it can be frustrating and emotionally draining to be in such a position. To improve your mental health, you can form relationships and network with other people who will provide you with support and a sense of worth as you work to overcome their stunts, and your community will shine brighter as a result.

If you’re faced with such a situation, instead of trying to get back at those individuals, you should be focused on becoming a better version of yourself.

6. They Give You the Silent Treatment

As childish as it may sound, this happens in reality. If you notice that a specific colleague or group of colleagues does not talk to you, snubs you when you say “hi,” or ignores you when you ask them a question, this is an indication that your coworker may feel threatened by you.

7. They Act Passive Aggressive Towards you

If a coworker makes a snide remark or acts passive-aggressively toward you for no reason, don’t feel too bad about it. The person may feel threatened by you, and these actions could be a clear sign of that.

It might be behaviorally based for a person with character defects, and if that’s the case, you might cautiously speak to the person or speak with the manager to make the person stop those actions.

However, if you see that the action is continuous and keeps getting intense, then there is something more to it. That is a good sign your coworker is threatened by you.

8. Sabotage your Work

When you’re doing your best to finish and turn in perfect work and then someone comes to your computer and deletes what you’ve done so far, it’s clear that person has something else in mind. If you have ever experienced this at your place of work, please understand that your coworker feels threatened by you.

9. They are Copycats


If your coworker tries to dress the way you do, comports themselves in a way that seems like yours, speaks like you do, and does their job following your model, it could be a clear indicator that they feel threatened by you. That’s not always the case, though. Mirroring can sometimes indicate that someone finds you attractive and feels comfortable imitating you.

10. They Accuse You Wrongly

You possibly can’t get everyone to be pleased with you; however, when it involves false accusations, it is not a small deal anymore.

If your coworkers accuse you wrongly of something you’re innocent of, i.e., spreading rumors that you are flirting with a top member of the committee board, it could be a sign your coworker is obviously threatened by you.

11. They Gaslight You

If your coworkers have ever made you feel unsure about your work, presentation, or suggestions when you were right all along, this could be a strong sign that they feel threatened by you.

12. They Criticize You Unconstructively

Constructive criticism is clearly distinct from unconstructive criticism in the sense that the former is to a positive end, while the latter leads to a negative end.

Unfair and unconstructive criticism can be really difficult to handle, as it inflicts pain in the heart, especially when it’s coming from someone who hates you.

If your coworkers pass rude and condescending comments on your work, like “such a poor summary from an ill student!” or “Even my little baby at home can write better than this,”  not because they can lay their hands on anything tangible but because they obviously want to bring you down, it could be nothing short of a clear sign that the person feels threatened by you.

13. They Revel in Your Errors

“To err is human,” as the saying goes. Making terrible mistakes at work is something that is not totally avoidable. Humans are prone to making mistakes most of the time, but the best part is that the sensible ones learn a great deal from them.

Your blunder at work could be the best thing that ever happened to them, as they’ll be talking about it all the time and putting it in your face with the “I would never have done that, I’m not that dumbass” line.

When you make a mistake at work and your coworkers seem to be happy about it, or worse yet, show visible signs they are happy, that is a sign that your coworker feels threatened by you.

14. Crosses Arms When You Speak With Them

Crossing your arms while someone, especially an elder, is talking to you is considered disrespectful in some parts of the world. That’s a blocking sign. And sometimes it connotes a lack of interest in what someone is saying. It might imply that someone dislikes you and finds it difficult to imagine you telling them what to do. They cross their arms as you speak, giving off these vibes: “What is this fellow even saying?,” “Who are you to talk to me?,” and “When you’re done, let me know so I can go!”

If you observe a coworker or group of coworkers giving you that kind of disposition when talking with you, that’s a sign your coworker is threatened by you.

15. They Don’t Share Knowledge


No man is an island of knowledge. You can’t know everything required in a workplace without having a coworker who has been there before to guide you through.

When a senior colleague at work refuses to teach you some necessary things about the job, that may be a sign they feel threatened by you. If you were directed to the coworker(s) by a superior, it may be wise that you revert and file a complaint. You can’t possibly work with someone who doesn’t want to help you out or see you grow.

Wrapping Up: Signs Your Coworker is Threatened by you

If you observe one or more of these signs in your coworker’s behavior toward you, it is clear that your coworker views you as a threat. You need to do your part by easing their tensions so they can relax around you. Such attitudes usually result from personal insecurities. Get them to understand that you pose no danger through your actions.

If it’s appropriate, have a serious conversation with them about the situation on the ground. Teamwork is needed to reach organizational goals, so do everything within your power to get along with your coworkers at work. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your work and create a pleasant working environment for everyone.



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