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What do you do when your coworkers gang up on you?
Career / 4:37 PM - Sunday January 29, 2012

What do you do when your coworkers gang up on you?

My previously friendly coworkers took a turn for the worst last week and started ganging up on me. I handled and mitigated the situation fairly well, but am still angry and puzzled. I have been nothing but nice to everyone and have gotten along very well with everyone up until this past week. Then, out of nowhere it's like I have a target on my back and they are just after me.

For instance, a female coworker told me she was intentionally being condescending towards me and she talked about me over lunch with other coworkers. A male coworker blamed me for getting him sick, accused me of being a suck-up, and threatened to put a picture of musselini on my desk. I know they were kidding, but this was a constant thing for like 2 days. Anyone else would not have handled it nearly as well as I did, but I have no idea why they were behaving this way. I have been upset all weekend and I think it's really shitty that they said this stuff to me. And the managers did NOTHING about it. Just let these kids taunt me for a couple days worth. They even laughed at some of the jokes.


Update: January 31, 2012.
Thanks for all of your responses. So I did a few of the self-deprecating humor things that everyone suggested and it worked, the heat was off of me. Well first I took the weekend and a day to cool off, then when I was back on my game, hit em with my humor. Everyone was my friend again, but unfortunately it resulted in this one guy (who was one of the ringleaders making me feel bad) ended up getting majorly put into a corner and shot down. He was even angry on the commute home - when I had the bad luck of running into him. Now this was not my fight, I didn't start it, wasn't looking for it, it was brought upon me, and I defended myself in the nicest way I could. But I can tell this is not over and honestly I just want to make this guy feel better about himself so he doesn't go picking fights with people but I don't know how.

- Asked by A Player, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

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DO NOT go to HR, this will only cause more friction. Instead joke back with them. If you make a big deal about it, or go to HR or confront anyone you will only be opening up a can of worms, your work environment will be really hostile. Just joke back with them.

If a female co-worker said she was talking about me with other coworkers I would have said "I hope you are saying something juicy about me and not anything bland that would be so boring"

If a male co-worker said to me "You got me sick" I would have joked back with him "Well then why did you grab me and kiss me like that yesterday when you knew I was sick"

And when another co-worker theatened to put a picture of a dictator on my desk I would have responded: "Too late I did that already".

Then I would not even think about it at all. Coworkers at times can be weird, or silly, etc. Dont be puzzled or angry just say to yourself these things happen and coworkers can be silly at times.

- Response by lover454, An Engaged Girl, Female, 56-65

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When it seems there is more than one person having an issue with me, I have no choice but to see what I am doing to cause it... Is there anything you can think of that may have caused this change in attitude to you?

- Response by rumloverreturns, A Cool Mom, Female, 46-55, Glasgow, Other Profession

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Community Rating: Community Star

You referred to these co-workers as "kids" - that could be the problem right there, a lack of maturity on their part. I work with people who are much younger than I am, and see a lot of pettiness, back-biting and gossip going on that should have been left back in high school. There has been many a weekend I've been upset and depressed, and had no idea what I had done to cause my co-workers to react to me in this way. It's a real waste of time, because they're probably going about their lives without giving a rip how bad they've made me feel. I like what TV evangelist Joyce Meyer always says - "hurt people hurt people". Chances are these people have unresolved issues and are reacting out of their own inner turmoil and pure meanness. Going to HR doesn't help - just try to laugh it off and go on. Once they find out that they can't get to you, they'll look for someone else to pick on.

- Response by experience101, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Who Cares?

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I would handle this by finding a pic of Musselini and photoshop me with him and then put it in a frame on my desk. Take the jab and run with it yourself and they can't do anything about it.
I had a boss that joked about how he was a whipping boy so I attached one of those S&L little leather whips to the side of my computer. He stopped making that little joke to down play the fact that he was a bit of a petulant tyrant.

- Response by joybird, A Creative, Female, Who Cares?, Therapist

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See if you can take one of them aside and privately ask them if you may have unintentionally said or done something that led to this behavior. Sometimes all it takes is one little, offhand comment or well-meaning but misunderstood gesture to give somebody the wrong impression. Once that happens, the gossip and rumors can run amock, and you find yourself with a reputation you don't want or deserve. So try to find out if that's what may have happened in your case. If it did, you should be able to clear it up by patiently explaining yourself and apologizing if it's appropriate. No matter what, keep being pleasant and professional toward everybody. Stand up for yourself and take the appropriate action if you feel you're truly being harrassed. Otherwise, just focus on doing your job and try not to let the pettiness get to you.

- Response by uniquelyme2, A Creative, Female, 46-55, Artist / Musician / Writer

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- Response by boxer1, A Guy Critical, Male, 46-55, Self-Employed

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I can understand. Just keep doing your best at work. These kids might be jealous of you and want to tear you down for example, the one that called you a suck up. They're paying close attention to you and are obviously jealous. Your managers will see this in time and put a stop to it. Keep doing your best, best wishes :)

- Response by lady_kryptonite, A Thinker, Female, 26-28

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well, u don't have to like ur co-workers and they don't have to like u. however, they can't make ur work environment hostile. so, go to HR and get it fixed. and yes, i do have to agree with the other poster. if the problem seems to be with everybody but u, then the problem is u. just relax and keep to urself. perhaps they don't like some of ur opinions or something. try and start over if u can.

- Response by A Thinker, Female, 36-45

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