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Strategies for dealing with an unfriendly male co-worker

Obbaatt AngadiaMar 03, 2023

Working alongside an unpleasant and hostile individual can be a challenging experience in the office. Regrettably, this occurrence is quite common, and managing it has proven to be challenging.

However, there exist multiple actions that can be implemented to enhance the circumstances for the workforce.

This article will highlight ways to deal with uncooperative male co-workers.  From setting boundaries to maintaining a positive attitude, we will cover everything you need to know in order to get through this difficult situation.

The aim of this post is to assist you in cultivating improved professional relationships with your colleagues and collaborating harmoniously at work.

How to handle unfriendly male co-workers

There is no need for you to conceal or experience shame due to the unfriendly behavior of your male colleagues. Here are tips you can use to deal with unfriendly male coworkers.

An illustration of harassments at workBe vocal: Do not hesitate to express your concerns when something is bothering you.  Speaking up will give you relief and also might solve the issue at hand.

Be assertive: If someone is being difficult or not following through with their commitments, be proactive and take the lead in resolving the situation.

Stay calm: Try to refocus if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated. This will help you stay in control and react in a thoughtful manner.

Avoid getting drawn into a power struggle: Creating drama does not solve any problem, if the situation is heating up, walk away and come up with a better way to solve it later.

Seek out support: Reach out to colleagues and HR to seek the help you need. They could offer you direction and assistance for the path ahead

Tips to increase productivity and avoid conflict

Women have dealt with uncooperative male coworkers at some point in their careers especially the ones in leadership positions.

These individuals can be those who constantly come to work late, always want to be right, non-team players among other things. Dealing with such people can be a frustrating experience. 

The following tips can help you avoid conflict and be more productive:

  • Set boundaries.

If someone is constantly coming into your space, speaking over you, or not following your instructions, set boundaries.

An illustrations of a worker and boss talkingSay exactly what you need and expect from them and be clear about when you'll be done with a task.

  • Stay calm.

Allowing frustration to take over can result in an elevated tone and impede the possibility of having a constructive dialogue. Remember both parties have emotions and feelings, hence it's important to try and evaluate the situation from their perspective as well. Avoid making everything personal.

Organizing yourself will make everything flow throughout your day. You can start by organizing your day, workspace, and so on. By doing this, you can reduce disruptions and effectively handle your workload.

  • Take charge.

Take charge if someone is blocking you from completing your task. State your case clearly and let them know you won't stand for someone not following instructions.

  • Stay positive.

When faced with adversity, concentrate on your accomplishments and endeavor to reverse the circumstance by recognizing the positive aspects. It'll be much harder to stay angry and frustrated if you stay positive.

How to handle difficult conversations

Use the following tips to handle difficult conversations with unfriendly male coworkers.

  • Know your rights.

Everyone has the right to take time off, ask for a transfer, or change of working environment according to Under the Equality Act 2010. If your rights are violated, keep records of incidence for future use.

  • Stay calm.

If you're feeling emotional, your voice will carry louder and your arguments will be stronger. Keep your voice down and avoid shouting.

  • Avoid personal attacks.

Personal attacks will only make the situation worse. Tr to evaluate situations from other people's perspectives and remain objective.

  • Don't take it personally.

It is not your responsibility if your uncooperative coworker is mistreating you. It's important to recognize that they might not entirely grasp how their actions are affecting your life, which is why it's essential to empathize with them while endeavoring to resolve the problem.

  • Document the situation.

If you can, document the incident so you can have a case if necessary.

A man writing a blog on a WordPress websiteThis will help to build a clear record of events and allow you to take legal action if necessary.

Dealing with passive-aggressive behavior

There are behaviors that are considered passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressive behavior is a way to communicate with someone without actually saying anything. Passive-aggressive conduct can appear in diverse forms, causing those who experience it to feel exasperated and uncertain about how to react.

The most common ways passive-aggressive behavior is exhibited is through behaviors such as:

  1. Saying nothing when asked a question

  2. Refusing to help when asked

  3. Making negative comments behind someone's back

  4. Ignoring someone when they are talking

  5. Acting disinterested in what the other person is saying

When you find yourself receiving such behaviors from a colleague you need to step back and assess the situation. A potential solution is to have a confidential discussion with the person and work together to identify a resolution to the issue. If you can't solve the issue, try to involve other people or opt to get a new job.

How to handle hostile behavior

When you're consistently the target of hostility and put-downs from your male co-worker, it can be really tough to take. With time you might get used to such behaviors but that doe not make you less uncomfortable or demoralizing. You can try the following things to help you deal with hostile behavior.

  • Try and understand that it may not be about you. Sometimes people lash out when they're feeling insecure or threatened.

  • Talk to your manager. It is important to report hostile behaviors to your manager for them to be stopped.

  • Find a support group. There are likely others out there who have experienced similar hostility and can offer some valuable advice.

  • Confront the person. Confrontation works well for some people and if it's an option for you, try non-confrontational communication.

How to deal with stress

Inadequately handled stress is a common problem in the workplace that can lead to various issues, including decreased morale, heightened pressure, and diminished productivity in the office.

Angry black man having video conversation via laptopStressed can be handled in many ways, you need to identify what works for you. Below are a few approaches to dealing with stress.

  • Exercise

  • Taking a break to unwind and refresh your mind

  • Talking to colleagues and friends

The crucial thing is to alleviate your stress and concentrate on your tasks. What matters is that the approach you adopt is efficient for you, regardless of the method itself.


Society has classified men as the dominant sex in the workplace but that does not give them the authority to disrespect and be unfriendly to their female coworkers.

It's important for women to maintain professionalism and politeness towards men, regardless of whether their feelings are reciprocated.

Expressing their feelings when men behave unprofessionally towards them is equally essential for women. They ought to be unhesitant in vocalizing their emotions and opinions. Everyone deserves respect and if you are not treated well find a way out. Don't put up with such behaviors.

We hope our blog post was helpful and tips will help you solve the issue of unfriendly male coworkers on your journey to your career. Thanks for reading!