Helping You Cope With & Stop



Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic

Think of a time when you were ignored. Think of how you felt. Hurt, sad, puzzled, stressed… Did you think, “What’s wrong with me?” or “How come I was left out?” Or how about when you were brave enough to reach out and ask ‘why is this happening?’, and were met with a polished answer from the person that left you with more self doubt and no answers?

Now think about being ignored, left out and pushed aside…day after day…after day…after day…This repeated ignoring is one of the worst types of bullying known.

Social or interpersonal rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from an interpersonal or peer relationship. A person can be rejected by an individual or by an entire group of people (mobbing). Furthermore, rejection can be either overt, with acts of aggressive bullying; or passive such as ignoring a person, shunning or shaming.

Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic: Being overlooked can feel distressing; we’ve all felt this from time to time. Being perpetually ignored feels rotten. To the degree a person is important to you, or to the degree you have expectations of that person that are not met, the more pain and rejection you will likely experience.

Being perpetually ignored is a bullying tactic and it involves what might appear as slight brush offs to the target in order for the bully to gain the upper hand. Remember, when these ‘slight brush offs’ happen over and over again, they evolve from slight to deliberately drastic from their continual impact of isolating the target. Examples are:

  • Not making eye contact with you in a meeting, but making eye contact with everyone else;
  • Walking into a social situation and reaching to shake another’s hand but brushing by you; not giving you the same level of interaction;
  • Engaging with others in conversation, asking them questions, perhaps joking around, then being tight lipped, formal and professionally polite for appearances sake, but by no means displaying the connect-ability they have toward others, toward you.
  • Leaving you out of email loops, formal information sharing and informal information sharing.

Have you ever been the last person to find out about the holiday schedule or have you ever been going about your work happily and you see a flock of co-workers discussing something in an unofficial capacity, but you were not asked your opinion; you were not invited in the first place?

But Wait, There’s More: How the Bully Further Isolates a Target:Skilled charming bullies will quickly double up their social interaction and attention they pull away from you and deposit it into others in order to gain favor with others…against you. Has this ever happened to you:

  • You have friends at work and you see the bully talking to these friends; joking around, really connecting and you are not invited.
  • The bully starts to create social situations, even talking casually at work, but always with you absent.
  • The bully shares ideas, jokes, social time with everyone else but you. There is an event; everyone is invited except for you. Everyone else thinks you couldn’t make it, but you know differently.
  • The bully starts to spread false innuendos about you to this group, further isolating you.
  • People that don’t even know you, start to believe what is being said. Ever heard of ‘group think’?
  • These new people start talking about you to others based on what they’ve heard and think to be true.

Why is This So Painful? Rejection is emotionally painful because of the social nature of human beings and our basic need to be accepted in groups. Abraham Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy.

Psychologists believe that simple contact or social interaction with others is not enough to fulfill this need. Instead, people have a strong motivational drive to form and maintain caring and respectful interpersonal relationships. People need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients are missing, when they could easily be present or they are present for others then most people will begin to feel lonely and unhappy. Thus, rejection is a significant threat. In fact, the majority of human anxieties appear to reflect concerns over social exclusion.

The experience of rejection can lead to a number of adverse psychological consequences such as loneliness, low self-esteem, aggression, and depression. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and a heightened sensitivity to future rejection.

So How Can You Cope?
 Many people will advise you to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. Most of the time, people say this because it makes them feel better to say it! What about you? Your feelings are real; the bullying is real. It can be very difficult to ‘just get over’ being ignored, isolated and abandoned from expected social interactions.

But your big question might be ‘but why me’? Excellent question. It is not fair to be perpetually ignored.

So, here are my top 5 suggestions for coping with being perpetually ignored:

  • First of all, practice acceptance of the reality, not necessarily the behavior. The more resistant you are, the more pain and anger you will feel. If you accept the fact that you are being ignored no matter how good of a person you are, it will make it easier. Even if you don’t agree with it, acceptance is the first step.
  • Put a time limit on the time you devote to trying to figure out ‘why this is happening to you’ and then have something else you can focus on; this really works!
  • Know you are not alone. This can help one feel connected to the 1000’s of others who have suffered as well and to know that you are not being isolated because of anything you did…it has more to do with the bully. Every negative feeling the bully has about others is really a reflection of the negative feelings they have about themselves. What drives bullying? A need for control over another, rooted in envy. This is about the bully, not you.
  • Seek out a community or group that you can feel love, acceptance, kindness, generosity, tenderness and support. You might wonder if such a group exists. Try We are all in recovery as human beings!
  • Stay plugged in and protected. Keep learning so you are empowered. If you haven’t walked through the Bully Free at Work exercises and self-tests yet, be sure to do this soon! What gets measured gets treasured; you are a treasure; don’t forget!

I’ll leave you with this: some things we will not understand. Some things we will be unable to change. One thing we can change, protect and empower is ourselves. Keep protected. The truth will rise to the top and keep shining.


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251 responses to “Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic”

  1. dw says:

    Leandria HE sounds like a text book narcissist, i am going through something similar to you right now and it is similar type of work i.e coaching. The narcissist dislikes and doesn’t tolerate anyone who 1) he perceives as a threat to his plans/goals 2) anyone who is better than him at something 3) anyone he cannot control or manipulate 4) anyone that is able to uncover his secrets one by one and blow his cover. You are right they need mental treatment, it is also reminiscent of how cult mentalities work as well, the whole stealing your words and ideas is a typical narcissist thing however i do wonder if he is more than that. Please per my advice if you can get these two books for free please read them: “art of seduction” and “48 laws of power” by Robert Greene; there is also the chance he is using these tactics in these books to abuse his power and control people through mental and emotional abuse. If you really think about how terrible these books are anyone who uses the tactics in them would have to have issues to begin with to think they were acceptable, such books attract people with criminal minds. I really hope you “screw” this guy over and i hope those who got tangled in his web of BS can be freed from his disease which obviously is brainwashing and mind control. The worst thing is that those who get tangled in his web will often imitate the “cult leader” figure and your right to be concerned about others working there, i would be too, in fact i am. I wish you luck

  2. Connor says:

    This is really helping. At school I used to be very popular but now I feel like a nobody. JR High has really changed my life. I hate it. I feel like nothing. I lost my girlfriend who is best friends with the cool group. The leader of that group is my cousin. They are all rude jerks and for some reason all I want to do is fit in again. I am a great athlete. Quarterback, Point Guard, Pitcher and they still reject me. I don’t know what to do.

  3. Katie says:

    Are you being bullied, Anti Bully?

  4. Es says:

    Hello, I am a primary school teacher of year two students (7-8 year olds) in Australia. I find your website very moving and it really touched my heart. I am currently bullied in my workplace by another teacher for over 6 months. (I have been at my school for 3 years and the bully teacher has been at my school for 7 months). I have tried to seek help but my principal has repeatedly ignored me and has made excuses for her serious misconduct. She has on numerous occasions stood over children in my class to discipline them in front of me and said to them “i am an adult your a child you listen to me”. I have been told by my principal “to get over it.” It has had a devastating effect on me. While my principal was on holiday i heard another rumour going around about me and i broke down crying. Some of my teaching colleagues demanded the assistant principal support me. She pressured me into going to the hospital trying to have me involuntary admitted. I was very confused and didn’t understand why did i have to go to hospital for crying at school. Since then the school has been under an investigation. I had to take time of work on my return to work some minimal protective measures were put in place. It took two days for the bully to break them and harass me at work again making me terrified. I had more time of work. No disciplinary action was taken and I was blamed by the school for not coping. I returned the second week after i emailed head office who was conducting the investigation telling them i felt isolated as everyone has been ignoring me all leadership would not say even a hello anymore. The person doing the investigation told me i had to maintain a professional relationship with my colleague (the bully) and there were no more protective measures in place. I was again confronted first thing in the morning by the bully undermining me again. All my students reading levels (confidential information about my students) were on the board. She (the bully told the casual (relief) teacher the day before to ask my students their reading level and put them on the board so they can sort classes out for next year)I imagine some of my students being highly embarrassed with all the other kids knowing their level. I ended up going home early that day as i was traumatised. Ever since i have been off work. The investigation covered up all the bullying and no disciplinary action has been taken even though every event was found to have taken place. Their reasoning is the bully said she did not do those things maliciously. This is happening in a school that has anti bullying slapped all over its website. I have been asked not to go back and not to seek employment there next year. All I ever did in that school was be the best teacher I could and help improve the school. I have many parents supporting me as i stood up to help their kids when they were being bullied in the playground. Its really hurtful the lack of organisations in Australia that stand up for bullying in the workplace. I have been given the run around by many organisations and feel desperate and no one is helping. It is hopeless and it appears that bullying behaviour is accepted practice which is shocking in a primary school.

  5. Brandon says:

    Document the abuse. Document the abuse. Document the abuse. Keep a notebook with date, time, what was said and what happened. And RECORD ALL MEETINGS. Name what is happening. This will become the foundation to hold the bully to account, whether it’s informing his supervisor(s), EEOC complaint, lawsuit, public exposure.

  6. Brandon says:

    Document the abuse

  7. Brandon says:

    Your list of things-to-do is all about internal self-manipulation and does nothing to hold the bully to account. Meanwhile, the situation is deteriorating and will lead to job loss–for you, not the bully.

  8. Saty says:

    My girlfriend is ready to take on day to day work challenges but office politics is something she hates, she really finds it shocking when people who aren’t so good but play mean politics to move forward. She has been grooming herself for new role had earned the teams affection but lately her supervisor has been causing big trouble for her. He fears that she may grow and not the one he wants to grow. He is talking about her to everybody in the team and asking people to not to interact with her or ask anything to her and has warned the team that no one should be deviating from that, somehow he has managed to get the team against her but still pretends to my girlfriend that he cares for her as a supervisor.She kept telling me about these issues for sometime. Now it seems it is affecting her quite alot, she doesn’t feel like going to work anymore, feels sad when I ask her how was your work, today she called me and was crying, it really hurts me and is upsetting that I’m not able to do much for her.

  9. M says:

    I am just now seeing your website and I am grateful for it. In 2011, one week after my father passed away, I was terribly bullied by a cast member I was directing in a show in Chicago. As a result, I was isolated not only by the majority of the company, but also by its leader. I claimed my part in the mistake (I had a outburst-in private but was caught!- due to what I thought was an unnecessary hissy fit by the actress; no excuse, I was physically drained and not at my best; I should have practiced more self-compassion but did not). Here it is 2015: and the group still treats me like the plague. Though I have spoken with the leader of the company, who verbally apologized for seeming callous at the time, the words have not been backed up with made-pubic action; the isolation and ignoring continues. Furthermore, this is a company that praises itself for compassion! Well, empathy can be selective, not universal as it is in this case. What hurts more is that while I was hurting, cruel things were said to me, such as: “You freaked out.” “If you weren’t a company member, I would fire your ass” Kind things of the sort. I am now recovering now that I know exactly what happened: I was and have been bullied to the finest degree. So, now it is up to me to better protect myself and find the people who deserve my loyalty, kindness, intelligence and commitment. Finally, I am mid-age woman with a lovely child and wonderful husband who carried me through this awful, awful spell.

  10. Annette says:

    I can so empathise with this. I received 2 awards in my company and my line manager didn’t even mention it in a team meeting. It is sad but the most important thing for me is to stick to my values and my standards and manners. I went to lunch with colleagues a while ago and they totally excluded me from conversation so I left early. I got so bored, naturally, with no one to talk to. I am glad that I don’t do stuff like that to others and I pray that a better opportunity opens up for me so I can be with people who do have manners and who are inclusive and caring. It does not make me doubt myself at all that my colleagues treat me like that, I just feel like I am in the wrong place, and I am powerless in the situation and this kind of bullying is very subtle. Always keep hoping for better things to happen and to make happen! And stay strong!

  11. Jsakva says:

    Excellent thank you for sharing

  12. anonymous says:

    You know, I have been a target of bullying in many workplaces as well as my family treats me this way. I have come to learn about psychological disorders such as narcissism and psychopathy which I knew about psychopathy. Anyway, targets need to study these two disorders and see/think about if they were family scapegoats as well. There are lots of great videos out there on youtube on this as well. The healing has to not only be from workplace bullying but family bullying as well. I think that is the root cause and makes us somehow attract these monsters. But education and resilience are spot on … and the more stories you hear about the more you understand the depth and validation for your own story, that you are not alone.

  13. Anti Bully says:

    Working out and eating healthy makes a person feel better about themselves and keeps depression away. It has a lot to do with being bullied. If the bully sees you as weak and depressed, they will see you as prey. Love yourself first! Then others will follow.

  14. Ash says:

    You have no idea what it’s like to be ignored and left out like your a virus or dangerous criminal.It so so hurtful and especially to the person you like and care for is doing this to you.The person you like hates you with there soul, gets a kick out of ignoring you like you don’t existAnd that person is trying to isolate you from everyone to hurt you more and watch you closely like your dangerous stalker. And in actual fact your the sweetest person and caring for the person that hates you my at it’s so painful. It’s painful that you don’t get a greeting very morning when the person comes in to work and greet all your friends except you.It hurts it’s so painful. I feel like crying everyday because of it.It’s not a joke it’s the most emotional pain you can face in this world.

  15. Ash says:

    I am in the same boat as everyone here but even worse, I had a crush on a Cute Asian girl 19 years ago at work and she didn’t like me very much and didn’t respect me at all and because I had a fat tummy and from a Christian middle-east background. I found out that she disliked me and respected that and distanced myself from her, she got involved with many guys from work and outside work also got married and divorced too over the 19 years I’ve known her I’ve got married and with kids and still happily married to my wife that I love so much and never cheated on her with anyone. I’m a very simple easy going down to earth guy. One day out of the blue in 2011 the Asian girl asked for my help in many things she needed and issues she faced and I helped her as a friend, as we work in the same company but different departments, but that was all about to change. I helped her for a year, she got close to me and I was doing her favours for a whole year and she told me she got divorced to her husband with a stupid reason that didn’t make any sense to me, half way through helping her.People started to tell her to keep away from me as I’m dangerous and someone made up a story that I stalk ladies. I found out years later about all this. She was advised by her female friend to keep away from me as I’m a dangerous stalker and I’m a big mouth at work, but in actual fact I’m very kind person and would not harm anyone. She became suspicious and paranoid of me and told a guy to watch me as she felt I was stalking her because her jealous friend told her a lie that I’m a stalker which I’m not and never done it in my life. She got close to the other guy. And was very distant from me and started believing her friends that was taking advantage of the situation and making the issue much bigger and she believed anyone that said I was a bad and dangerous person as she disliked me for no reason many years ago.It’s a very puzzling situation I’m in and I’m very confused, why did she come to me for help?A year went passed and she didn’t talk to me and it started a Cold War between us she refused to look at me and talk, she would laugh with her friends and socialise with every person but me I was left out, she was one of the organisers at work to socialise and there were bbq’s after working hrs I was never invited as she told her management friends not to invite me. She is very popular at work the cute hot Asian lady that can manipulate, charm her way out of anything and bully me by telling other people I’m a dangerous stalker and she’s trying to control me with her male friend by telling people I’m dangerous and to never talk to me, asking my team leader to watch me and to tell her my day’s off. Isolate me by forcing co workers to not talk to me and if they did talk to me she would isolate them too. She hates me to the very highest degree, her male friend ignores me because he wants to get into her pants. She never looks at me and makes good friends with my friends to isolate me.I have been bullied for 4 years.Ignoring me Isolate me Tell all the ladies at work that I’m a stalker and dangerous Controlling my team leader Tease me behind my backSocialise with my friends without me everyone is invite but me.Comes close to me, to see what I will do and if I say hello she runs off and ignores me and has a laugh with her male friend and gets a kick out of it.She doesn’t want me to leave the company as she likes to watch me close and gets a kick out of teasing me mentally. I want to cry sometimes it’s very stressing and hurtful and I don’t know what to do. She makes me get angry and I have an outburst by texting her and she uses my texts to hurt me with her friends. She recently moved to my section and doing more damage to me. I’m bullied mentally everyday and it hurts, she gets a kick out of hurting me and converting all the females against me or she is trying so hard to do so. I’ve never harmed her or done anything bad to her only good and she frustrates me to a point of hurt and more hurt.It’s consuming my life I’m stuck with a mortgage l need this job. I have some friends left at work that are supportive of me and I wish to move to another section and I wish so so much I never met her.She is so so so cruel in the highest degree. And I believe she loves tormenting me. We have no HR at work and I’m asking for help.She has no respect for me and if someone told her I’m a good person she would not speak to that person.she believes I’m followed her home which I found out from a friend years later. It’s a mess. I’m a mess mentally. I have a dash cam in my car as proof I’m not a stalker. I have told most people at work that I have it so she stops hurting me. I’m lost. I trying to move to another section but it’s slow and painful.

  16. Ann Hirschmann says:

    Rejection and being ignored is indeed very painful for someone who is ultra sensitive and believes that peace and harmony is the key to an happy life. I believe that some people who are bullies use their disguise under the umbrella of religious beliefs and feel that it is Godly to ignore even their own siblings.

  17. mickey says:

    Bullying is crazy making. I have lived this for years. Years. I cry every week. It has literally ruined my life, sucked the joy out of everything. I come home miserable, and isolate at home, because they don’t understand. I need the money, benefits and pension. I support 6 people. I can’t just find another job, sell my house, move. It is not that easy. No way out, for the next 20 years.

  18. maureen says:

    I can complete relate to this article as it is currently happening in my new job. I have tried to engage in conversation with the individuals I work next to, but I am just responded to with a snip of an answer or even just crickets, and then if another person asks the same question its like a gaggle of geese just came through. I don’t mind the personal social aspect of it, I’m new I don’t expect to know your full life story, but the same course of response is applied to when a job is given to me. I try to ask more about the task at hand and I am met with the same abrupt answers and simply told to reference our database. That’s where it affects me the most is the lack of communication for expectations, when my first or second day I was told to that they wanted to be able to pass jobs back and forth & at this current moment I just receive a cold shoulder & its like pulling teeth just to get a response. I recently worked on a job, designed it based off of a combination of previous jobs, the clients specks and my taste and was tossed aside when it came time to present. Then I find out indirectly that my design was well received especially for the first round and was never told that directly by the people I work next to, and the rest of the design project fell onto the person that I’ve been told “doesn’t really design” I just find it unprofessional when someones gripe affects the overall outcome of a project or the company.

  19. Leandria says:

    Thanks for this article. I too am dealing with this at work. My supervisor is the ringleader. He purposely leaves me out of meetings and talks about me to other team members and managers and spreads lies. I am the top performer in my unit. I’ve only been at this job for 8 months. He told me very early on that he was using me as a “jack rabbit” to get others on our team to try to perform better by flaunting my numbers to them. I asked him to please not do that as it was going to cause issues with jealousy and back stabbing. He continued and sure enough my teammates are jealous of me. During my weekly coaching sessions with my supervisor (which often ran for 3 hours or more) he only wanted to talk about none work issues and became offended when I would try to wind them down and end them. It got to be draining. Long story short he now ignores me. He will go days without answering my emails. I applied for a job in a different department to get away from him. He never told me the head of that department requested an interview with me until 4 days later. I’ve come to detest this man and have considered filing an EEOC outside of the company against him. He steals my words (verbatim) and passes them off as his ideas and thoughts. I tried to speak to him about these issues but he denied any issues between us. I’m already looking for new employment because of this. I’m strong. This is not going to break me but I must confess that I wish there was a way to weed head cases like this out of the work world. These people need mental treatment. Good luck to all dealing with this. Hang in there. Things can only get better.

  20. Leandria says:

    I’m wondering the same thing Katie. Normal, well adjusted people don’t want to be feared either. Just respected and accepted.

  21. Karen Parker says:

    this person is sick and its not you !!!! if you need to talk, you can email me, Karen

  22. Loreal says:

    Glad I read this as I’m obviously bullied at work the team I joined refused to let me in they are let by a manager with a very bad management style, belittling in public, constantly slagging people off because I would join in with belittling I am ignored on a daily basis the “team” and my manager, they do not talk to me, no eye contact nothing it hard being silent all day

  23. L says:

    Oh K, wow I honestly thought I was the only one going through this. I used to love my job, I reported my senior manager for sexual harassment and since then NO one talks to me, I sit in an office by myself, they all sit next door laughing and giggling. I walk in and all goes quiet. I never used to have sick days, but now I walk up in tears thinking Christ I have to go through it all again today. and before I know it I’m on the phone calling in sick. I lay in bed like you thinking why can’t I just die, I wish I could just get so sick I die because I just can’t mentally keep going through this. There is virtually no employment opportunities in my area, so like you I feel trapped

  24. carmen says:

    Ask Jesus into your heart. He is a friend to the friendless. Start with Him and watch your life change.. I promise, He is just waiting for you to ask Him into your heart. Just say ‘Jesus’ I heard and am going to believe that you are a the ultimate friend. Come into my heart. I believe you are the Savior of the world and I want you to save me and change me now. I accept you as Lord and Savior, forgive me for my sins, come now.’Take it a day at a time, find a Christian church and I can just envision the many new friends you’re going to make. 😉 Everything happens for a reason. Change for LIFE..

  25. says:

    When you work out and eat healthy your self esteem rises. When you have control over what goes into your mouth and how good you feel after a work out, helps. Just feeling good about yourself because your taking care of yourself is satisfaction. Also, looking good and feeling good is great for the ego.

  26. lee says:

    Hi I am being bullied at work. I am 53 year old female. Been at my job 23 years. I made a mistake and went over my bosses head because of the bullying now everyone is treating me like I don’t belong. I am glad I found this website

  27. geo says:

    Awsome advice, thank you for sharing your story!

  28. Katie says:

    What does working out and eating healthy have to do with being bullied?

  29. Dark Knight says:

    I suggest of all the people being bullied, work on yourself, work out and eat healthy, and dont take any gruff from nobody.”It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both”Niccolo Machiavelli

  30. says:

    Change the word at “work” to any other situation and it’s exactly the same……and it’s horrible

  31. Rani says:

    hi, i wanna be your friend. I know exactly how you feel. Been through it.

  32. Rani says:

    please don’t even think about suicide. I’m in the same boat as you. I am a female. Email me:

  33. Jerry says:

    I found this article on Google. Very uplifting, thank you. I am a foreign teacher and I am being ignored by my boss. I would recommend everyone to remember the reason why they work in the first place. You don’t need to make friends at work, you just need a salary and/or a career and/or a daily reward of some kind. My father used to say: if you like your job 70% of the time, that means you love your job. Think about it. Don’t show your feelings, don’t become emotional. Try to be polite and let people read between the lines if you dislike them. Remain in control: you can always work elsewhere, people should be aware of it. In my experience, the bullies are the ones who are too lazy or too scared to do anything new or exciting. They will envy your freedom and courage as they bully you. I must add something, at this point: I also have myself to blame. You see, I am autistic. I come across as too polite or rude or weird. I have never ever mentioned my condition in the work place. Everybody seems to know there’s something “special” about me, and most people either leave me alone or want to take care of me. Others are just mean. My current boss, for example. The way I see it, if you have power you should not use it to take advantage of people’s weaknesses. So I take the moral high ground here. And you should too!

  34. Melissa F. Brown says:

    I’m very happy that i found this. This solved some of my problematic life problems. I’m really grateful for the creator of this article! Thank you.

  35. Sam says:

    I am in my 20’s and I have had this problem my entire life. My cousins have always ignored me, they never not even once invited me to any of their birthday parties growing up. Now they all ignore me on facebook and none accept my friend requests or reply to my messages. Same with all my friends. I have met many different people since 9th grade and they have all been this way to me. In high school I only had friends who used me and ignored me if I had nothing to offer them. They even said a small get together with friends was cancelled but then later I found out it was not. I am now in college, I have met many different people of all ages, including older people in their 30’s and 40’s who act this way with me too. The worst part of it is how they acted so nice with me in the start and then after being my friend for a little while they ignore me as if I never met them. ALL my facebook friends ignore me too. Some are my friends from college, they ALL ignore me. On my birthday, not one person said happy birthday to me. I spent my birthday alone as I usually do since people say they are “too busy” but when I see how busy they are they post on facebook about what an awesome time they had with their other friends. My relatives want no part of me, my mom prefers to chat with her friends online more than talk to me either. If we actually are talking about something and her phone makes a sound, then she instantly dismisses me to talk to her friends. When I call someone they never pick up or they say I called at a bad time, which is not true. If I text they usually don’t reply or they reply with short one worded replies once or twice before disappearing from the conversation. I have this one friend who sometimes replies to me with very short replies but whenever I bring up anything to do with hanging out with him, he instantly leaves the conversation. I am now a loner in my current classes. One class does not have too many people in it but its awful because everyone engages in friendly conversations and greets each other with hi’s and hello’s and asking each other about their weekend but I am completely ignored. No one even looks at me unless I am in their way and they need to get through or if I walk passed them but they never say hi to me or anything. My teacher also ignores me too, one time I raised my hand for a question on a project we were doing in the class which was in the computer lab. And The teacher was about to walk to me when someone else raised their hand after me and the teacher stopped walking to me and went to help that person instead which took 20 minutes and when I raised my hand again he went and helped someone else again. I never got the help I needed that day which actually affected my grade, but luckily I got a B but I wanted to get an A as I usually get A’s. I had a time when I was so lonely hat I resorted to online dating but the thing is I only wanted a friend but most people there only wanted sex. I met a few people online who claimed they also wanted friends and we hung out once or twice and they too would ignore me after hanging out with me once or twice. Some people even blocked me. I try to be nice to everyone I try to be friendly, and I am very clean and take care of myself so I don’t kno why everyone keeps rejecting me and ignoring me all the time. Those online people, when I hung out with them I was the one to buy them coffee or lunch, I was always the treater. Yet they would ignore me after. Everyone I have met has ignored me. I am never rude to anyone I try my best to be polite and nice and friendly and talk about what others like. The last time I tried to interact with people was when I signed up for a depression support group, I thought things would be different. I thought I would actually meet people who understood. But NO, it was just like all the rest. A man in the group was nice to everyone, even me. But when I suggested we could hang out together he did not want to and he dismissed me right away and left. He accepted other people’s invitations to hang out but not me. And when I messaged him online he completely ignored me too. I am not going to go to anymore of the depression support group’s meetings anymore because I am tired of being ignored and rejected by every single person I meet. I feel so completely alone in the world. No matter who I meet they put on an act like they like me for a short time then they throw me away. Its always like that, the worst part of it is the act, how they act like they like me at first then they throw me away after a short time. I don’t think I have ever had a friend or person like me truly. I don’t know what to do, I often consider suicide because not one person ever wants to give me the time of the day, it has been like this since I was little, it has never stopped. I can’t take it anymore. I tried being a hermit but sometimes I feel so lonely I feel so alone and I think I am better off dead.

  36. M says:

    Thank you- this is just what I was looking for. I didn’t want to think of what I was experiencing as bullying but this has made me realise that it is. I know there may be reasons or circumstances which have led to this but I also realise that the situation is not within my control. Being able to let go and find the sources of positivity and connection will now be my strategy as I am lucky that it’s only coming from sections of my workplace.

  37. silvia says:

    I am an assistant principal. I conference with a staff member about bring more organized. That person is my principal best friend. Since then, I have been ignored and bullied. My emails are ignored, I’m ignored, my ideas are ignored, …it’s not fun any mOre. I got written up for “making the work environment negative”. I’ve talked to the director and nothing happened except the ignoring got Worse. I hate work now, I cry, I am sad and stressed. Nothing I Do Is good. My moving up in my career seems hopeless since I need a recommendation. My family, friends tell me to ignore it. I can’t sleep at nights. Why do people like this exist and seem to be in positions of power?

  38. Samantha says:

    I am being bullied by my entire department. Three women go out of their way to make sure I know they dislike me. We are supposed to be a team, but we are not a team. I will be purposely excluded, talked about behind my back, and even they won’t inform me of what is going on in our department. Three months ago the team requested a department meeting with our boss. The whole meeting the three put me down. Saying I’m the one not being a team player, saying that I’m too professional and that I’m trying to do their jobs. My boss just sat their the whole hour letting them pit me down. After that meeting, I have tried so hard to make myself a part of the department. When the three of them would be in ones office, I would go and try to include myself, but then all of a sudden they can’t talk anymore and have to get back to work. This had happened way too many times since that meeting. They will all talk professionally and personally making sure I’m not included. I cry everyday and the job I used to love I now hate. I tried talking to my boss who is a male, but he thinks that since our meeting we are all getting along. I don’t think he wants to deal with it. I I feel that no one understands what I’m going through, even my husband. It’s work, your not there to make friends, easy for him to say. I’m in verge of deep depression because of this. I had to deal with bulling in high school, I didn’t think I would have to deal with it at work too.

  39. K says:

    Thanks, Denise. That really made me feel better.

  40. Jenna says:

    I am being severely bullied by a professional colleague who was my best friend. She became very angry with me because after she shouted at me over something small I had done I vented to a trusted colleague. What a mistake! The trusted colleague then reported everything back. I am now being shunned. She never makes eye contact or speaks to me, never meets with me anymore – we were best friends. Our kids were best friends too and now it is all over. She is a psychologist so it is all very calculated.

  41. denise says:

    I feel your pain. Just pray to God and everything will be ok. It is only for a season and God loves you. Remember that.

  42. stuart says:

    I hope you are okay now. People are very strange. I’m a 22 year old lad and I have people treating me the same. Don’t let them get you down.

  43. K says:

    Every day I cry at work because of all the bullying I have been dealing with for the past two years. Nobody talks to me in my office but is super friendly to everyone else. They avoid eye contact, never invite me to lunch or outside activities, ignore my emails, exclude me from meeting, it’s never ending. My bully has said loudly enough for me to hear her that she acted like she was allergic when around someone who had my position previously. I know she was making it clear she acts the same way towards me, coughing every single time she walks by me or knows I am at my desk. It is becoming unbearable, and I have been calling in sick more than I ever have before. The bully has even turned people who used to be friendly to me into the same way she is towards me. I just keep to myself now and don’t talk to anyone. It is making me miserable, but I can’t afford to quit. I cry myself to sleep knowing I have to work the next day. People have said in a group exercise that I have an attitude and think I’m better than everyone else. This came as a total shock to me since I have started to absolutely hate myself since getting this job. There have been nights when I pray to God to let me die in my sleep so I don’t have to deal with this anymore. For some reason, I’m still here dealing with all of this. I am lost as to what to do besides ignore it. It is becoming too much for me right now.

  44. Anne says:

    I just confronted a coworker today about ignoring me, looking through me, treating me as a non person in the hallway. He said he hadn’t said anything rude to me, and it his right to say hi or smile at whomever he wants. Then sent me an email to tell me he didnt want to discuss the matter further.

  45. CeeingEye says:

    The bully at my place of employment is one who thinks she is so smart in her deceptiveness and actually believes no one can see the poison she keeps spreading. I’ve seen it since day 1. Ever since I started working at this job she has been trying to get me fired. She is obviously a very insecure person and has very low self-esteem. My former manager (1’st management job) was manipulated and also bullied by this evil woman into harassing me for thing that weren’t true. She teamed up with another male coworker to bully. He was harassing me a lot via the female bully. My belongings were stolen from my desk. My things were moved around and broken. She’d laugh about it and denied it was her. There were times when she would sit there and laugh out loud & say things in subtle ways to let me know she was making fun of me. Then when a new coworker transferred into our department, she targeted him and left me alone, for a while. She said he didn’t belong on our team. I saw her steal things from his desk & do all the those things she did to me. She spread lies about him. Accuse him of things. Isolate him. Then she tried to get him fired. Asked me to team up with her & her bullying teammate & report him to our manager for things that were untrue. Her goal was to get him fired! I refused, so I became her target once again. Our manager ended up quitting. So she ended up becoming our manager. She pretended to be a caring and concerned manager, but it just a manipulating game. Everything she has said to me has been one lie after another. HR proved this. She refuses to put anything in writing. She has no management skills. She is incompetent. She plays mind games all day. She has gone on a smear campaign too & isolated me and the other coworker, the one she has been bullying too. She has said & done things that’s against the law because she thinks she’s above the law & also thinks I’m to stupid to figure that out. Now we are experiencing deliberate mobbing. Not only is she & her bullying teammate doing it, her boss has joined in on the bullying too. They are obvious and deliberate. I see but I refuse to give into it their petty games and let it get me down. These are old people too…female (almost 40 ys old) (2 males 50 ys old & 65 yrs old) SMH ….I just keep working and documenting, documenting, documenting and praying. I do have family and friends I talk to about this. They don’t care how much they damage the company we work for as long they accomplish their goal because these are self-absorbed narcissistic selfish people.

  46. annie says:

    I started a new job at a nursery as a nursery nurse and the staff there are very rude, they ignore me I tried to get to know them but they didn’t try to welcome or get to know me the only time they speek to me is when they want me to do something, this has gone on for a month it’s like I’m being bullied I feel upset and cry when i get home i cried at work once and no one asked if i was ok i feel I’m loosing my confidence, so I tried to focus on my work and now they are telling me I haven’t done a good job which is a lie, they told me I have to have a meeting to review my work and my contract might be terminated but I am going to resign because I cannot feel like this anymore making me feel down and when I tried to tell the manager how I’ve been feeling she told me to man up she is not very nice either and told me not to talk about her staff it’s hard because I left my old job for this new job a job I wanted to get back into doing and it tured out like this they also haven’t payed me yet but I’m going to have to leave without pay because I feel so withdrawn and I feel it would be better for me.

  47. Jessica says:

    I have a co-worker who is technically my manager and she and I have been good friends (or so I thought) from the start several years ago. I mean, she came to my wedding, she always tells me about her personal problems and asks for advice. Last week a new co-worker and I went out to a shop together. We basically just carpooled there, didn’t shop with one another, bought what we needed and left.Apparently the Manager got mad she wasn’t invited, we both apologized but she kept saying she wasn’t mad. She outright said she’s not mad, that we’re just co-workers and not friends which was hurtful enough. Now this week she walks by my desk (I sit by the front door) and doesn’t say hello, doesn’t talk to me except for by e-mail, tries to avoid all conversation and avoids the lunch room. It’s very hurtful to me, because I feel extremely isolated now. Makes me want to quit my job but I can’t. She’ll be gone next week for vacation and hopefully that gives her some clarity. I know she holds grudges but she should be professional, I didn’t do anything to her.

  48. L says:

    You are not a nobody Katie, its their problem, that is how I have learned to deal with it now, and as frustrating as it is the situation is what it is. I have spent so much time trying to figure out why someone would act this way, and there is no acceptable reason for it. Keep your head high.

  49. Katie says:

    Totally understand how you feel. I am always really tempted to tell my coworkers off, but I can’t afford to lose my job or quit. If I could, I would have done it a long time ago! Just ignore them. I’m sure it’s nothing personal. People are rude, immature, and petty. It’s annoying and frustrating, but just focus on yourself and doing your job well. And always remember to be happy and smile-it drives people crazy!

  50. Katie says:

    I guess I would really like to know what I ever did for my bully to treat me like this. When I first started my job, we went to lunch one time. Things really changed a few weeks after that. It makes me feel like nobody likes me here, and it’s so frustrating to try to figure out why.

  51. Justa Mom says:

    I am tired of not being invited to meetings until it’s posted on Facebook. I hate it that after serving four years in an unpaid volunteer position that they joke around the table that anyone could do my job as board secretary. Do they even know what I do? I created their email system with contacts, newsletter, website, etc. No thank you’s. They all talk about meeting up later but I’m never included. I volunteered to help my autistic son; hoping they’d see I was okay and that their kids would give my son a chance. It’s been four years and not one invite. I have had them over to my home for fundraiser meetings, Halloween and Christmas parties,etc. They claim to be “Christians,” but they treat me with indifference and malice. I am so tempted to tell them all off, but that would only further isolate me….I have another six years at this school. If I stop showing up to my other commitments for the other four fundraisers I continue to serve, it will reflect only badly on me. I am so angry and hurt.

  52. L says:

    I agree Katie, this is a grown man of near 60 doing this and its so obvious its in purpose. I just ignore it as well and sometimes have a little laugh that someone is so petty to act this way. You are just right to ignore it.

  53. Andrew says:

    Hi,So I am actually on the other side of this wall. I have been called bully to my supervisor and program manager, not directly. So here is the story:One Friday my wife and I were out at Lowes picking out paint colors for our soon-to-be born son’s nursery. It all went well and we went home. The next Monday I come into work and find a note on my desk. It reads: “Just Saying…Would you want someone to treat YOUR mother the way you treat others?Remember:Sitting in a church every Sunday does not make you a good person any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”I was baffled by this note. It was hand written and not signed, so I didn’t know who wrote it. I proceeded to show the note around the room in an attempt to solve this situation on my own. My supervisor has enough to deal with. The first 2 coworkers I get to are shocked by the note and help me figure it out based on handwriting style since they both deal with a lot of other coworkers work. They tell me I need to show it to my supervisor, so I do reluctantly. It’s petty but, still offensive. Supervisor takes the note and my coworkers and she figures out who wrote it. She has a talk with this lady in the office to figure out why she wrote it. She pulls me aside to the hallway, respectively, and tells me what was said. Apparently I ignore her in the office spaces. And me ignoring her at Lowes put her over the edge and caused her to write the note… Wait… what??? I ignored her where? Yeah, apparently she was at Lowes, too. Never saw her. So now I’m a bully. Blind-sided.Anyway, she says to my supervisor that I bully her. I rarely speak with her, she’s very introverted, I’m slightly introverted. Only difference is I sometimes make an effort to join in other peoples conversations in the office. It’s not my job to hold her hand in social situations, right? Right. I am here to do my job, this is my priority and what I get paid for. My supervisor says that she is on my side, (also backed by my other coworkers who are aware of the situation) seems like she has some underlying issues, but now things are awkward in the office and I’ve been told to not speak with her. I go out of my way to avoid her. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells now. Also, I’m 27 and she is in her mid 50’s… I pride myself in being a good fair person to everyone I work with. I just want this situation to be resolved.

  54. Katie says:

    My bully also has to make noise every single time she walks past me-coughing, snapping gum, laughing, talking loudly, clearing her throat. It is very obvious this is done on purpose. I can’t believe a grown 35-year-old woman would act like this and make it a point to actually remember to do all these annoying things every day for the past two years. Sometimes I want to get back at her, but I ignore it. It’s getting very distracting and almost to a point that I feel sorry that she chooses to act this way as an adult.

  55. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    You seem to have a good grasp of things here – and it doesn’t always make all the pain go away for sure. The key is really digging down deep to make sure you are being the person you are to be – strong, loving, caring, confident. And yes, it sounds like he is acting “out” in order to protect himself. In a win-lose way. That is unfortunate and sad isn’t it, but very common. You are wise to reflect upon this and he sounds hurt. He will probably not be this hurt forever and this will likely get better – even resulting in a possible reconciliation some day one emotions have passed. In the meantime, you are doing the right thing 🙂

  56. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Yes, very true and the reason for developing strong boundaries…not easy, but well worth it.

  57. Mark says:

    So sad to read this. I hope things have changed in the last week for you. There are some petty individuals in the work environment who don’t deserve a moment of your conscious thoughts.

  58. Sarah says:

    I don’t know what to do. I’m being bullied by a person that I dated over 3 years ago. We have worked together really well since we stopped dating, but in the past few weeks, he has really turned on me. He got some paranoid delusion into his head and now he is actively ignoring me. He says hello in the corridor, but it is an angry and aggressive ‘hello’. He comes in the canteen at work and talks to people I am talking to without making eye contact and asking them questions directly to them. Its so awful and I hate coming to work now. Never date a work colleague is my advice but especially not an aggressive, paranoid colleague. Thankfully, I have a lovely, loving partner now, I guess you just have to focus on things outside of work when work is being made hell by a colleague.

  59. L says:

    I am so glad that I found this article. For the past year I have been ignored in work, and also bullied by two of the other male office staff since 2012. One of the men’s son came to work for the company and he started showing nothing but disrespect and very bad manners toward me. The father tried to be a smart guy in front of his son and his son has done the same. I did tell my manager but he always sided with the bully boys as I call them, until every single person in the company commented about about the bully’s manner towards them too. The workforce are all male. I am the only female. The son quit being such a wise guy for a while and his father still continues to this day and even ignores me when I ask about work. The other man involved used to be a friend. Last year he shouted at me about something I apparently had done outside of work – stood shouting at my office door, very threatening in his manner in front of the other bully boys and my boss, totally put me down as a person and they all sat and did nothing. My boss claims he didn’t hear anything, but we work in a small office area with open doors so he did hear but chooses not to address their behaviour. I ended up off work due to this and went to hand in my notice, but my boss said that he had done nothing to me and to stay. I have worked for the company for the past 13 years. So, now no one speaks to me, it suits me fine now as I believe that their mask will slip someday and they will all be exposed for what they are. They have started to exclude information from me to do my job and my boss has noticed this as well, but again refuses to address the situation. The three of them also make derogatory comments towards me, they think I don’t hear them. The one who shouted at me enters the office and ensures that he makes an entrance by whistling or singing very loud to make himself heard and to try and intimidate me, quite sad really, he doesn’t do this when my boss is present in the office. A few weeks ago I was excluded from getting my lunch again, but my boss brought me my lunch to my office. I do think my boss spoke to him but it didn’t last long as he is now back in the office making as much noise as possible when he comes in to make himself heard, again I get excluded from getting tea. I get my lunch and sit at my desk anyway so as to not be near their toxic environment. Sad that it’s more of a victory to him to let someone sit without their lunch really true colours being shown. So the how can you cope was very helpful to me.

  60. N says:

    This happens to me on occasions and now currentl, with just one co-worker who sits right next to me. We often get on so well and have so many laughs – including another co-worker of mine too – but last week she just went stone cold on me. She’s an intelligent person and I expected her to be a lot more forward with me, not passive and cruel. After one casual conversation, her tone changed and she put on her headphones and carried on … Next day ignored me. I know she’s going through a tough time in her personal life and I totally respect that so thought an email of “hey, are you ok?” wasn’t out of place … But she ignored it. It’s not the first time either. That whole day I was ignored and I could see her purposefully (or what it felt like) having a good old laugh with other co-workers, even one’s she usually wouldn’t make an effort with (one’s I know she has strong opinions about). She went to lunch with our other close co-worker and I was left out. It felt orchestrated, like one leaves the office first and the other follows. It left me feeling sick to my stomach, rejected and pretty lonely. Another co-worker gave some advice but it was along the lines of “be the better person, etc” and when you are a sensitive person trying to be the tough guy, it really doesn’t work. Scared to go back to work tomorrow. I’m backing off. Annoying thing is, she also has something of mine at her house and I need to pick it up … Can’t think of a way to approach the situation!

  61. k says:

    Don’t care too much. She knows you care. Just do your job for the money that you need and deserve. Take the high road though you could blast her to the moon. The tables will turn one day… Or, leave

  62. Amanda says:

    Kay, I admire your attitude. You sound like you have a very mature perspective. I am a temporary employee working with about 5 people who ignore me all day. 2 are best friend. I wish you well and I hope to learn from people like you who are sharing.

  63. Amanda says:

    Hi Kyle, I am going through the exact same thing. The anxiety I had about having to face another day caused a sleepless night last night and I am home sick today. I hope things will get better for you. Take care of yourself

  64. Katie says:

    This has happened to me for the last two years at my work. One person in particular has excluded me from every conversation she is a part of, has gone to every in our office to see if they wanted ince cream except me, when I was sitting in the cubicle right next to her. I have overheard conversations about gatherings outside of work and never been invited. Lunch time is the same way-she organizes where she and a few other coworkers will go to lunch and never ask me if I want to join them or want them to pick up anything for me. It’s like she purposely doesn’t ask me in case I might actually say yes and she wouldn’t want me there. I don’t get it at all.

  65. Me too 2 says:

    I have the same issue at my job. I work in a small office that consists of my boss (the bully), another woman (who he has befriended, let’s call her Jane), another lady (who is sweet and the only saving grace of that place) and me. Boss and Jane have a very close and inappropriate relationship in my view. It’s to the point where some others in the building who do not work directly with us, but who we interact with, have asked if they’re sleeping together. I don’t engage in that kind of gossip, but the fact that others have seen their relationship and wonder about that speaks for itself.My boss has massive issues and I’m not the first person he’s frozen out. There used to be another woman in the office who he did the same thing to and it really bothered her. She wasn’t able to accept it. Given that I’ve seen his tactics, I’m aware of what’s going on and I accepted it for what it is. Frankly, I’m glad he ignores me. I really don’t care to have any interaction with him beyond what is absolutely necessary. Jane also ignores me sometimes and I think it’s because she’s so tight with the boss, she wants him to see her not interacting with me as well. It’s all bizarre. I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to accept it for what it is. That comes from a lot of previous work experience and also from working in the mental health field. I know what this is, I accept what this is, and I just don’t care that much. Sure, it gets rough sometimes, I won’t deny that. I’d like to have a congenial, fun atmosphere at work. But that’s not what I have and I got OK with that awhile back. I can interact with people in other departments who are much more friendly. It’s almost as though I work in the morgue and then I go and visit the pediatrics floor, where the walls are colorful and the staff try to make it as pleasant as possible for the kids. So there’s that. My recommendation is to do anything and everything to better the situation – befriend others in different departments, take up a hobby you can do on your lunch hour, something that takes the sting out of not being included at work. Remember too that you are there for a paycheck so you can live the life you want to live. Keep that in mind and let go of making friends at work. Keep your head down, do your job, and send out resumes if it becomes too much. Good luck to everyone else in this situation, it’s not easy, but you can survive it!

  66. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    A betrayal of trust is a tough thing to name and then manage. Perhaps you are still navigating through “how could he do this”. A thought for you in wondering “why” he did this and “wondering about his current behavior”: For now it looks like he is trying to save face. You will gain more power by naming what happened as opposed to asking him what happened, why it happened or why he isn’t responding to your communications. Take the lead. Decide what you want and what you don’t want and make direct requests for inappropriate behavior changes that you need to see happen in order to perform your job. He is also probably embarrassed and is projecting that onto you as opposed to owning his behavior (saying sorry). I would not look to be Friendly, Firm and not Familiar – lower your expectations. It can be hard as there is a loss “of what you thought was there”. When you feel strong enough, you could approach him with what happened, how it made you feel and what you want instead AND I would add, if you could do this with strength and also not judgment this may then have a better chance of being heard. If the relationship is still important to you, then you could suggest a mediator “for the betterment of our working together” and that mediator would be able to help you get though what happened for you both, put it behind you and design a future set of expectations in order to build trust once again. The ball is in your court 🙂 Lastly, if you still feel confused, I would recommend reading the Bully Free at Work book which you can purchase in our store on the website mainly for the step-by-step plan to help you avoid the mental gymnastics from having suffered through a betrayal. All the very best as you heal.

  67. Confused says:

    I had the most wonderful boss…or so I thought. He mentored me and was helping me advance in my career. I then began to experience subtle things like him winking at me. When it happened I didn’t quite know what to do so I ignored it since it never happened before. Then thinks began to escalate and when I went to his office he would noticeably look at my body down, then up, then down, and up again. I had known him for about 7 years and nothing like this happened before. I felt self conscious and I didn’t know what to do…he was my boss and it was something he could just deny. He began to do the elevator eyes quite frequently and he could see (at least I think) that it made me uncomfortable. One day in the middle of our work conversation he made a sexual innuendo and again I was shocked and again I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid of retaliation if I said something because he is very intelligent and I was afraid of his “master mind”. Thanks to his help, I got a promotion reporting to the same boss that he reports to and thus making us peers now. In my last meeting with him about transferring my work at the end of the meeting he said that me leaving his team just means he can mess with me more and then as I left his office he did the elevator eye thing again. Now that I didn’t report to him any more and he made his intentions clear I avoided his office so as not to give him an opportunity to mess with me, but we still talked and joked around with our peers when we saw each other. Then I guess when he saw what I was doing he began to bully me. He began to copy my new boss on emails that she didn’t need to be copied on making it seem like he was waiting on things from me when he wasn’t. He began leaving me off of emails and not sharing information with me that would help me do my new job. He began to ignore my emails. He ignored my meeting invites. In meetings he would look at everyone when speaking, but he would not make eye contact with me. He would joke around with our co-workers and never acknowledge that I was there. Going from someone who was my mentor to what it is now is extremely hurtful. I try to engage in conversation with him, but he is short with his words and hurries off. I finally got the courage to confront him and I asked him if he was mad at me. He said no, why would you think that. I told him because he hasn’t been responding to my meeting requests (about work) and he said that he must have accidently overlooked them. Keep in mind he never overlooked them before no matter how busy he was. So reading this article was so helpful because I was so confused as to what was going on and I can put a word to it now called “bullying”. The bullying is still occurring. I don’t know how to make it stop. I sometimes feel like saying ok…I’ll start coming back to your office so that you can look me up and down just so the bullying and alienation will stop. I asked him again if there was anything that I did because I get a feeling he is angry with me and again he said why would you think that. In the meantime, he comes up with new ways to torture me each week even though I’ve accepted that he really wasn’t my friend or mentor.

  68. kyle says:

    This is going on with me right now we’re I work. Its making me hate my life , my job and even getting up everyday. I want to quit but I can’t afford it…I hate this

  69. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    What a wonderful response! Thank you for sharing your resilience plan. Yes, you are not alone and yes, this was wise of you to get back on your feet and see the truth. Keep shining and once again, know there are many people who are in your corner! You might want to read our other article with regard to “really good people” getting bullied at work. All the very best to you and may you stay protected. Click Here to Read the Article

  70. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Exclusion is one of the hardest things to face and feeling hurt is very understandable – especially if you value team work, connection and harmony. It’s hard to say “why” this is happening, but gently nudging can sometimes help as opposed to a direct confrontation. You (could) try “Hey, do you have a minute? I was wondering if there was anything I could do differently in order for us to work together?” This (might) help and it (might) at least let the person know “you know”. It won’t likely help if someone is envious of you – they will usually did their heals in even more. If this is the case, start protecting yourself and remember to be “friendly, firm and not too familiar” … and lower your expectations (as hard as his might be; it seems to be the best boundary plan). All the best to you and know it says a lot more about others when they choose to exclude than it does about you.

  71. Lin says:

    Wow this has hit home. I too have been recently ignored completely at work by 3 female colleagues. The worst is that we used to be friends but it seems I have done something awful directly to them which I have no understanding of. It makes me feel awful as I am not used to this. I also don’t like confrontation so I have been avoiding asking them if I have done something to offend them. I just try carry on and do my work. I recently moved my desk to a quieter office that was not occupied which I think upset them even more. My husband works with me and they started off ignoring us both but now for no set reason they are starting to include him in the conversations again. I don’t want to think it is because they want to isolate me futher but it’s hard not to. This article has made me feel a bit better about it all but it still hurts.

  72. Tess says:

    Isolation was one of the tactics used on me by a bullying co worker and exacerbated by a couple of ‘wannabe’ types she recruited to back her up. They focused not only on ostracising me but on conducting whispering campaigns against me with other colleagues in other departments. Suddenly, people with whom I have worked happily and successfully for years were being distant and unfriendly. The only link I could make was that they had suddenly become friendly with my bullying co workers. I had to have time off with stress due to the nastiness of what was going and on, and it was only then that I managed to research what had happened to me and to get a handle on why. Oh, the relief of finding out that I wasn’t alone! And knowledge is power: now I knew it wasn’t my fault I was determined to stand up for myself. These inadequate people had dented my confidence so much and I was determined to get it back. I decided not to take official action though I was told by my union that I had a case. It was obvious to me that the bullies wanted me gone – our department is under financial pressure and there are rumours of redundancy. But I decided that I had a right to do my job, and the best way to deal with it was to go back and do those things they really hate me for: being good at what I do, and being a friendly, happy person. No support has been forthcoming from line managers – they know what is going on but are too reliant on the bully to act – but while I was off, a couple of other colleagues got in touch, said they had seen what had been going on and now they are my wing-women! This has made all the difference. They make sure I am not alone on breaks, and occasionally, we whisper and burst out laughing together. This visibly discomforts the bullies. No nastiness – I am not going to sink as low as my tormenters. But the bullies have got the message – and if they try it again, I will know how to deal with it. Having said that, they could well scupper me professionally if they really tried as nobody is perfect, and no one can do a good job in the constant fear of being professionally undermined. So I am about to start seeing a counsellor, and am also job-hunting – but I am searching for a job that is better than the one I have, so that when I do go, I move up while they stay put. I have no doubt they will turn on someone else when I am gone. I can only hope it is on each other! I am not quite recovered, but I do feel lucky that my friends came to my rescue, and I am on the road to recovery.

  73. Bev says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful article. I no longer feel alone! I will now purchase your book which my co-worker has read twice!

  74. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Good for you and it sounds like you’ve got a good sense about this. Sending you support!

  75. Judy says:

    My boss is a nice man, but I have no intention of coming between the two of them. I have my own husband to deal with. She is 20 years younger than me, so I don’t know why she would be intimidated by me unless it is my work. All the other employees are young men (20 somethings) and they talk to me. Maybe that is her problem…she likes to be the Queen Bee.I do know that just putting this on paper makes me feel better. I know it’s not me and I don’t intend to let her run me off if that is her intent.

  76. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    It sure can be tough and especially working in a small company. In my book, Bully Free at Work, I talk about envy being at the root of most bullying. And even though this hurts (I can’t imagine anyone enjoying this type of dynamic), it says a lot more about them then you. However, you are probably wondering what you can do to help change this. The “wondering” what you could do to change the situation or have this woman like you might be tough to change – envy is hard to change if it is that. What you could do is be very clear as to what you want instead. IS she threatened by your abilities, competence, even good looks or connection with her husband? The only thing I can suggest there, and you are probably already doing this is to honour their union wherever possible. YOu could consider approaching your boss and sharing your thoughts and then asking his advice. Does he acknowledge this is a challenge for you? BE sure to have “what you want instead” clearly outlined before any chat to not risk putting your future plans in someone else’s hands. All the best to you and so sorry this is happening – stay plugged in and supported – you (might) find it will bother you a (little) less.

  77. Judy says:

    I work in a small company. I work directly for one of the owners. His wife works in a different part of the company and formerly had my position. I don’t know when I offended her but for the past 2 years she has ignored me and excluded me. For the last 2 years I haven’t been invited to the company Christmas party. The office was painted….all of it including a bathroom in the warehouse, but not my office. There was a picture hanging on my wall that belonged to the family so she came in and took it out…that is fine…if you need it take, but she waited until I was gone and took it. When I receive a phone call and she answers..she will buzz my phone and hang up. I try to be pleasant and professional because I love my job and my boss is good. He doesn’t seem to have any complaints with me…at least he hasn’t expressed any, but I can’t go to him and tell him what she is doing…she is his wife…and I have to think he has some idea of what is going on. When the office was being painted he told me to clean off my desk for the painting…when I came in the next day I asked what happened…he said they were there so late they ran out of time and would be back in later to finish…which I knew was not right since he had me pay the bill for the painting…which you wouldn’t do if the job wasn’t finished. I can deal with some of it, but it’s getting to the point where I’m having a hard time dealing with. I’ve had to put a reminder in my office to be kind.

  78. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Good for you. And yes, it’s not easy for sure. A great movie that gives some hope is “The Pursuit of Happiness”. Seeing what one man goes through – gives one the feeling they are not alone.

  79. RP says:

    I understand fully how this can be a pain in the neck. I am definetly the target of this at my work place. The very things I am accused of is tranferred to me. I have tried to be friends they talk about me and have convinced others to the same way. I was told to ignore them. I go a couple of days and when I return to work its the same toxic environment.I have a great job and will not be leaving. I agree accept and do not give relevance. HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. These people have felt these same feelings that is why they are comfortabel making me feel bad. My rule is if you throw a punch be prepared to take one.

  80. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    It sure can be tough when we do not understand “why” and I am so sorry you are experiencing this exclusion – especially when you are not sure what your next step might be. A few thoughts for you might be to: 1. Continue to study exclusion, being ignore and bullying. Be sure to sign up for our weekly message on our website. It can serve as a form of not only information but inspiration and implementation as well. 2. Assess who you feel you can trust at work and who you might not be too sure of who you can trust. Align more closely with the trusted and be “friendly, firm but not familiar” with the others. This means not sharing and even lowering your expectations of connection. I’m not saying this is easy, but perhaps know this happens to many people (you are not alone) and that it doesn’t feel good and in fact feels unfair. If you could decide the boundaries rather than thinking some people will come forward, this will give you some empowerment. Reality of the situation will help you instead of hoping and waiting. 3. There is the notion of “why is this happening to me” – this makes sense to want to know. You (could) attempt to ask “have I done anything to offend you?” to one of the people ignoring you. Be sure to do it alone and not when they can scoot away. If you are standing and they are sitting – even better. They may or may not answer you directly – expect that. May you be protected!

  81. Marie says:

    I’m being bullied at work. I’m in an office with five others. My male co-worker and I were friend for 6 months, talking, laughing and sharing, we were all a big family. Then we all had off for Christmas holiday and when we returned, his attitude and persona change and he was ignoring me. I kept calm and confronted him and he got aggressive and raged about all these things I apparently did, that he’s decided he don’t want to take any longer ex: talking about my sick mother-in-law, making jokes, managing the assistant. So I tried to apologize and asked how I could change (I apologized to keep the peace and for unintentional effence or confusion) and he said he didn’t want to accept my apology and from that day til now it’s been one month of non-stop silent treatment. I’ve been nice and thought I was giving him a cooling time but it’s gotten worse. He appently told the other co-workers his side and even rallied everyone of a group lunch that completely excluded me. Which makes me feel outcast and hurt because I thought this issue was between us (I haven’t told anyone or acted differently) but now, it’s the elephant in the room between me and my 4 other coworkers. The only one that doesn’t know is the 1 boss and she’s in and out. I cried all day today, I’m so hurt. My back story at work is I’m a top performer and this guy was bottom and the boss always uses my work as what to aspire to. We got assessed right before Xmas break and I think that has something to do with his change. He’s now Mr. On-Time and I get all my work done now. He’s redecorated his room and brings cakes and whistles because he’s so happy at work now…while he’s also bullying me and turning the others into a mob. I feel helpless. I see him and want to throw up. I sit quiet and do my work while everyone is laughing at his joke in the hall in front of my door. I feel like I want to quit but I have a contract and a work visa that I need to stay in the country. I live outside of the USA. My work is suffering, I’m trying to be a rock and get on with it but I feel alone and depressed at work. Do I tell my boss? When he finds out will he act worse? Do I ask him to stop? Do I talk to the other workers?

  82. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    It’s tough going to work when we do not “click” with others in a way that would energize us. Perhaps more difficult for some more than others. If you are wondering if you should leave or not, it might be an idea to get as informed as you can with regard to what is possibly happening around you. Studying “workplace bullying” what it is and what it isn’t (but one can still feel hurt/sad/angry) might be a way in which you can then make a “great” decision that if you go there are no regrets and if you stay, perhaps there might be something you can do to lead the facilitation of a change. I’m not sure if you’ve had the chance to order “Bully Free at Work” from our store. It has a step by step process of making a great decision so that you won’t look back or carry the hurt. Here is the link (just in case) and in the meantime, sending you support.

  83. Jane says:

    I am a teaching assistant and when i first joined that school i was a very pleasant and polite individual. The bully at that time tried to get me to gossip about the entire staff which i didn’t, except for a few people who were mean to me at that time. The bullying really started when i took over her class and the children grew to like me more than her. She started gossiping and turning people against me. Co workers who weren’t my boss were dishing out work for me to do and ordering me around. I just stopped interacting with everyone altogether and kept to myself.The principal was very ineffective and did nothing to resolve the issue. it’s so demotivating to go to work there. i have six more months to work there. not sure if to stick it out or leave.

  84. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Yes, being ignored can be a bullying tactic and sometimes it is the “style” of some people to be less responsive. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell. You might want to refer to our article “Workplace Bullying vs Difficult People” in order to determine if it is intentional or not. Nevertheless, it can be difficult for those who are more responsive to be around those who are not. Here is a little video of encouragement that might help a little and in the meantime, know we are in your corner. Click Here

  85. Kay Jaye says:

    The two people I sit between do not talk to me at all during the day. If I say something, I am totally ignored. If they want to talk they will engage me which is rare. I am very upbeat, but it brings me down and makes me hate going to work. I know one of them is being moved and I will be glad. I did not realize this was an actual bullying tactic. It makes me feel much better now that I realize that. They can go an entire day and not say a word to me, barely make eye contact, etc. I was training a woman and she noticed it. She said, “don’t they ever talk.” I said, “Not to me.” She then said, “That would drive me crazy.” I told her that I am not use to that other places, but it is what I get sitting beside the two people. I noticed that they don’t talk with each other either. It is weird to me.I decided that I have to scale back my friendliness. When they engage I should not. I like my job, but often feel ignored by some people. It is sad that people who are grown act so immaturely in a work environment.

  86. Edna Horn says:

    Hi, nice article. I really like it!

  87. Darol Dean says:

    I always take the bus to work dailey I do get frustrated at time but I sacrafice my time going to work as I enjoy working there. This is a turn around what I have to say, for I have been an employee for 15 years in 2011 now it is 2013. what I mean by turn around is what happened to me in 2011 my 15th year at my work place I have been acused of bullying. Nothing has happened to me all these years. Not only bullying for on the paper it also mention I said “tick-toc”. I asume what some of you are thinking; what’s tick-toc? I am a quiet person a little fear in me. Here’s how it started. This new employee has sasked my how long I worked there , I answer 15 years. ” do I enjoy working there? have I thought of looking for another job?” she asked me. I took it as just talk. but then it has been mentioned to me again from the same person as time went by. I got a little frustrated but just went on to not let it bother me. But then came a time I had to use help for of we were getting busy, when she came in the area I hear her say “I can be in here and not ask for help.” When I heard them words I had to step out of the work area go into the office I could hardly talk I had to almost speak with my teeth shut to control myself. I asked just talk to her and leave me alone, I tell the office I don’t want her in trouble, just talk to her please. 2 months later I am asked to the office to sit down and read a paper, on it mentioned I bullyed fellow employees, said “tic-tock”. the tic-tock still bothers my mind, it is a words a 5 year old would say. As I ask my question of who have I bullyed and what did I do. They tell me the victums I bullyed don’t want their names mentioned, I think to myself if I bullyed them I should need to know, “refresh my memory” I think to myself. And not being told what I did. I am told by someone it is called a payback for when the moment I asked for help. I’ve been working there for 15 years and suddenly it happens. I get wondering who is outhere as I see other employees in the break room or in other areas. Who is it I wonder. It has been 2 years now and it still gets on my mind at times I went to the EEOC for answers, I’m told they poisoned my mind. Who’s the one who was bullyed?

  88. meri says:

    I never really knew whether what this guy does was bullying. It hurts all the more because I know what a nice person he can be. Basically we have a group of about 4 people and what continuaally hurts me is that with the other two he jokes and stuff and then with me he is super cold, not showing any eye contact, ignoring my attempts to talk to him. When I talk to him about it he bursts angrily, like really agressive and angry. The things he has done hurt so badly – ignoring me when we are supposed to work together, joking with everybody else, referring to me in third person as if i am not in the room. when ever i approach him and ask have i done something wrong he says no blabblaa blaa. I have often thought it is only me being sensitive and that he does not need to like people he simply doesnt like but everyone else in the group has realised it. it is horrible because one day hes nice with me the next day he blatantly ignores me – this is just to me! he doesnt want to stay alone in the same room with me and tags along with other group members who had to go and look for something. any conversation i try to have with him ends up in an argument. the thing is we need to get along because we are meant to perform a play together, yet every practice session we have is emotionally draining an often ends in tears because i feel like a bad person in some way 🙁

  89. Call Me Brian says:

    I have been with a company for more than 4 years, and have been constantly ignored and ostracised.

    Tasks that should have be given to me have sometimes been intercepted and passed on to others less qualified (or not even qualified) to do, and this has become more frequent recently. Sometimes these tasks that I can easily do have been asked of others right in front of me!

    For anyone reading this, take my advice: DON’T waste your time complaining to HR! They are there to PROTECT their company, NOT YOU!

    My complaints to management (even working my way up the ladder to the General Managing Director) have gone nowhere! The only thing that happens after this is that they get rid of you!

    It is much easier to replace a low-level employee than to replace a manager!

    What job do I do there? I’m the only IT Engineer there.

    The same thing happened to me also with a previous company, when I was in a different line of work, where the manager there wanted to give my job to a friend of hers that wanted to quite his job where he worked so he could be given mine.

    I fought tooth and nail to show that every allegation she made about me and my work was false (and I proved it every time!), but in the end the good ol’ HR department gave her the choice of sacking me, which she did.

    Oh, and here’s how: On the FIRST day of my holidays they sent me a registered letter telling me that as of that first day, my position was made redundant. How’s that for nice…?


  90. Michele B says:

    I wish I had known of this site last week, I was hired for a clerical position in a mental health clinic.

    I lasted only 4 days due to the stress of being ignored, isolated, rude comments about patients and one doctor who actually stated in front of me “this is so and so and she knows everything, and this woman (me) here knows nothing”.

    I was floored, that was at the beginning of my shift on the fourth day and I only worked 4 hours per day. Each day at that job was worse than the previous day but I told myself to hang on, it had to get better. That rude doctor’s comment to his teenage patient’s father sealed my departure from that clinic.

    I went to HR about that office and was talked too as if I misunderstood the doctor and was over reacting and very sensitive.

    I handed in my resignation that day with a very sad heart but I have to much stress in my life with a hostile divorce and than I take on more stress with that job.

    I would assume they felt HIPAA was a joke….

  91. mary f says:

    Just found your site this morning. I’m finding mega info on the web about workplace bullying. I was fired Oct. 2010 for the first time in my life at age 62 by a bully boss. Had I not been fired I would have stayed and endured until retirement but it took being fired to realize how stressed I actually was. The relief I feel far outweighs the anxiety of being unemployeed. I am going thru this loss as though I am in mourning. First disbelief, then anger,a feeling of great loss and now I am working thru depression. I intend to advocate for the passage of legislation to include bullied employees in the protected class of harrassed employees.

  92. target-xyz says:

    My experience is like Helen’s comment ‘
    March 9th, 2011 at 6:41 am’. I was falsely accused of ignore, Then bully turns around and amps up social activity with everybody else. Its bitterly cruel. Theres more than one bully and its not the first time. Then I didnt know whats happening so I tried keeping up. Now this time I have shut myself off.

  93. "stronger" says:

    My bully situation was unique; so I can’t reveal all details. I was a clerical assist person in an HR dept. I was well aware of bullying; encountered it two other times in different environments. My ‘bully’ had an office but I did not report to her/him (gender details might be too revealing) I was clerical this one had an office and administrator ‘title’ yet this one who came to dept ‘just a few weeks after me’ would do clerical work. Never asked me for assist (I conclude, that being new – this one did not know her job or why I was there) She didn’t know how to ask; without seeming to ‘not know’ so she simply did filing herself. (this is not the procedure I was told at hire) I spoke to dept. head stating: “if so and so is maintaining personnel files as well, fine, but all accountability for correctness is now off me.” New administrator stopped maintaining personnel files. This bully would enter in a.m. and say
    HOW IS MY BOSS today (to dept head) as I stood in same room. When ‘the boss’ had a birthday the first month for both of us being there, I ‘stupidly’ agreed to sign one card with me and co worker (one card signed by 2 in a 3 person dept? is ‘cheap’… if there were 10 people ok; but 2? Now that I think of it; she may have had others sign card; I never saw card after I signed. Anyway, she presented card in my presence and then ‘the two of them hugged as I stood by watching’ / I didn’t care if I was not part of the hug fest by the new co worker per se; but I saw this as very ‘poor’ in the social grace area.
    2 administrators hugging inn front of ‘the other’
    in a dept? Any comments?

    I could go on…but won’t…it’s been one year since the job ended / ended because of ‘rant’ in face as though I were a ‘child’ or ‘dog’ and not the first time. I ignored many such ‘pick a fight’ baiting to me…this time I verbalized to boss ‘why that tone?’ Dismissal was forthcoming a week later.

    I should note there is an ethnicity difference between me and the other new worker in same dept.
    This shouldn’t matter…but I believe it does.

  94. Mrethiopian says:

    I worked for Timberland the boot company and was bullied by my manager, talking to Timberland HR, I that this had been going on for the last 20 years, Timberland chose to do nothing about the harassment by this manager. Timberland supposedly prides itself on (very publically) on being an ethical company that cares for its employees. Publically Timberlands message is clear that harassment is not tolerated.

    Sadly what I found out the truth that Timberlands ethics policy is nothing more than a marketing tool to trick the consumer into thinking the corporation is somehow better for the world and hence buying their product supports that model that a corporation can be ethical and profitable, and most people in the world fall for it.

    btw- I’m handicapped

    Want more information or if I can help =

  95. admin says:

    I ordered your ebook today and the extra bonuses too. I printed them all out and have read a bunch already. It may be too late for me in my situation but thank-you. I sure wish I had come accross this like about 5 plus years ago. Long story short I need to turn everything around by Wednesday, well from now through the next Tuesday March 15th I guess, otherwise I am not sure what will be going on. Again I wish I had your hand to hold sooner but maybe I can still salvage something out of the mess by reading very very fast.
    I am continuing to read on but wanted to thank-you so far.

  96. Helen says:

    Thanks for this, I am at the moment being actively ignored by a ‘charming’ young woman who is so socially adept it is almost unbelievable! She can be very nasty but because she is attractive an very charming to everyone else it makes me feel that it must be something about me. However, I know it’s not and I just ignore her back. I have thought of saying something to a senior nursing manager but I know that she is the ‘teacher’s pet’. What is the best way forward? I should mention that I am also attractive and intelligent. I am 20 years older than this person. What is really shocking is that she is a nurse!

  97. Cheri says:

    I really liked your article you wrote. The one I received this a.m. I’m going to save it and I may re-post it on my blog at a future date. It is related to what I am trying to do — coach those who are or have been through toxic or discriminatory workplaces. Your work has caught me eye. Thank for your email this morning.

  98. Marlena says:

    Everything I receive from you is
    correct in my personal experience.
    I always am loyal to reading your emails
    Thank you

  99. John says:

    Hi Valerie,

    Thank you for your most recent installation. I have been struggling for about a year now with this precise issue. The bullying survey instruments were giving positive results, but the overt stuff ended at about that same time. . . a year ago. I was struggling to convince myself that being ignored, and the on-going “backstabbing” really qualified. Fortunately, this person is not my direct supervisor.

    I am wondering if we could talk about pricing for doing some consulting. I would be interested in one-on-one and perhaps some group presentations, if my boss buys into it.

    Thanks in advance.

  100. Susan says:

    FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, VERY, VERY HELPFUL! I will use this in my high school classes. SO glad somebody has finally put this down on paper and is doing something about it. Your work is very appreciated and valued. Keep it coming.

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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