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Non-Responsiveness Can Be a Workplace Bullying Tactic

Feeling ignored? Have you ever tried reaching out to another and you do not receive the same rapport back? While it is true we will not all connect brilliantly with each other, bold non-responsiveness or being ignored outright may be a bullying tactic. At work, a certain level of responsiveness is required in order to be productive.

In society, being responsive to one another is what we call humanity. The key is to not feel thwarted by the fact that some people use non-responsiveness in order to control how they relate to others.

Non-Responsiveness (repeated): Not willing to hear the needs of others.


Efficiency and quick problem solving for their own needs.

What They Do:

When you are vulnerable or try to share your feelings and concerns, this person avoids the responsibility “to you” by being cold, direct, non-empathetic and overly bold.  Refusing to be caring and empathetic towards others when it is possible to do so is immature, and an act of self-absorption.

What Happens:

They have a secret hatred toward themselves and they can’t quite take responsibility for this self-loathing.  It is easier to project this critical spirit on others.  As a result, they end up by behaving in such a way that the target or others feel completely ignored and thus invalidated.


They do not have the desire and values for others’ needs to be met, therefore they do not display caring behaviors needed for community and connection.

Why Do They Do That?

They are so absorbed in their own needs that they have no energy or even awareness to put forth an empathetic connection.  Some may call it narcissism. Some call it a low desire for intimacy. Some people who act like this are called rejectors – they reject the connection as they feel more energized being distant and alone.

What They Can Do:

Decide to care for others.  But first, they need to explore why they cannot truly take the responsibility to care maturely for themselves while honoring the needs of others.

What You Can Do:

Realize this can be a bullying tactic. If you share how important it is to to not be ignored and the other person chooses to ignore you, this says a lot more about them than it does about you. Even though your desire is to connect, with this awareness, lower your emotional expectations.


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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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