5 Signs Coworkers Are Intimidated by You

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

  • Workplace rivalries are common and most people don’t even realize they have people who do not like them in their workplace.
  • This article has come up with 5 signs that your coworkers are intimidated by you. Knowing the signs will help you identify the people that secretly have it out for you and may be holding you back from advancing further in your career.

Workplace rivalries are more common than people realize. A study conducted in 2017 showed that most people are quick to pick up on other people who like them but are really bad at knowing those that dislike them. This means that people in the workplace will often overlook those that see them as competition and are praying for their downfall.

The question then arises; if you cannot judge correctly those who do not like you at work, how can you tell which ones (if any) of your coworkers are intimidated by you?

You can probably guess that you have at least one rival at work especially if you are ambitious, driven, goal oriented, and hardworking. This is because if you have these qualities, chances are that you push yourself and sometimes others to be and deliver the best results – this gives you leadership qualities and people are intimidated by that.


There will always be telltale signs when someone feels threatened by you, you need to observe their body language, how they speak to you and about you, and also how they react to you when you speak, make observations, or give constructive ideas. Here are some signs that your coworkers don’t like you.



One of the first signs of intimidation is when the people you are talking to avoid eye contact with you. If you notice that people at your workplace dart their eyes around when speaking to you, this can be a sign that they are intimidated by you because they feel eye contact is a weakness and they do not want to “submit” to you. It is a subconscious way of shutting you out without saying anything.


If they are constantly folding their arms/crossing their arms together, crossing their legs, leaning back and away from you, or if when you are talking to them while standing, their feet point away from you, they are intimidated by you and do not wish to interact with you unless they absolutely have to. This could also signal that they are not comfortable around you and will not open up to you meaning that you are bound to have short and unproductive conversations with them.


When they have run into a bit of a pickle, you are not the first person they come to for advice. This is because they are so intimidated by your abilities they would rather ask anyone else than risk proving to themselves and others that you are “superior” to them. For them, it is a game of ‘who can get more accomplished?’ and they would rather come on top than collaborate for the good of the company.


Another sign that your coworkers are intimidated by you is when they readily accept all your ideas without questioning them. This is because in their heads, they have convinced themselves that you know better than everybody including themselves and so they just opt to not question you at all. Although this may sound like the best thing to happen to you, it really isn’t because not all of your ideas are going to be effective or productive or even needed at the moment and it helps having people around who can turn down or even modify some of your ideas to best suit the situation.


When you have noticed these signs of intimidation in the workplace from your coworkers towards you, you should also be aware that they are probably passing you up for new opportunities that may benefit you. This is because they do not wish to see you succeed or do better than them so they will jeopardize any opportunities that may propel you forward in your career.


When your coworker or boss feels intimidated by you, there will be signs to show that your boss or coworker feels threatened by you. If your boss or coworker are constantly putting you down with the words they speak to you directly or about you indirectly. Additionally, they will also undercut you in meetings especially if important clients or stakeholders are around in an attempt to make you look incompetent


Sometimes your coworker’s jealousy may lead to them holding grudges and they may start to actively bully you in an attempt to bring you down. When this happens, you may start feeling threatened in the workplace because their actions are no longer passive aggressive. So how do you approach this situation when you feel threatened at work by a coworker? Below is a graph that shows the different types of harassment and bullying people have had to endure in the United States workforce that definitely made them feel threatened and unsafe at work.

Share of US workers who have been subjected to the following (2015)

  • The first thing you can do when you are feeling threatened at work is to seek advice from a person you trust and respect who has respect for you too. Look for someone who has been in this type of situation before and therefore might know how best to handle the situation.
  • Another thing you can do is to confront the person who is threatening you. This may be uncomfortable especially if you are not a confrontational person but it is important to get to the bottom of the problem. Make sure you are respectful and professional still in your confrontation. However, be sure to be assertive and confident enough to stand up for yourself if they try to gaslight you or intimidate you.
  • If you feel like you are being threatened at work, you can also report the people bullying you to the right authorities. If the person bullying you is your boss, take your situation to HR or a higher executive that you trust to be professional about the matter.


1. How do you know you are intimidating?

What makes people intimidating and is this necessarily a good thing? Being intimidating is a double edged sword. People may be intimidated by you because of their own insecurities and lack of abilities within themselves that may make them perceive you as a threat. On the other hand, you may be sidelining people because you think you are better than them, you are often dismissive, harsh, and abrupt with people and this eventually leads to them not trusting you or even wanting to be in the same room as you. So how do you know you are intimidating? Take a look at yourself and ask yourself if people don’t like you because they are insecure or because you are?

2. How do you know your colleagues are jealous of you?

It is very easy to identify a coworker or coworkers who are jealous of you because; they will rejoice at every mistake that you make, they will not offer you any help even when they see you need it, they openly criticize you in front of your other coworkers, managers, or important stakeholders, they will always have something to say about you behind your back to the extent of spreading lies about you, and they will go out of their way to sabotage your work and try and get you in trouble and even fired. Check out this article for an in-depth look at how to identify jealous colleagues.

3. How do you deal with two faced coworkers?

Dealing with two-faced coworkers can be quite exhausting especially when they are actively trying to sabotage your career while pretending to be your friend. So how do you handle this? Well, the easiest way is to collect data on them that proves they have been scheming for your downfall, this way you will have proof when you finally confront them preferably in the presence of an HR representative. Once you have confronted them, it is time to cut them out of your life even after they apologize and say they will be better. Yes, you can still work with them but do not give them access to your life either professional or personal.


It is imperative to know the difference between coworkers who are jealous of you because they feel intimidated by your drive and ambition, and coworkers who are intimidated by you because you are hard to work with. Sometimes people will grow to resent you based on how you have treated them before and if you have been dismissive to them in the past or not taken them seriously when they presented ideas, chances are they will find other people who appreciate them and that cannot be classified as jealous.

All in all, it is quite difficult to work in a work environment where people perceive you as a threat or as the competition because it derails you from doing your job effectively and that can affect the company as a whole – when its employees are stuck in office politics.

It is very important to keep a healthy working environment with all of your coworkers not only to advance your career but also because your mental health might be affected if you are sidelined and feared.





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