How to Deal With a Narcissist Coworker at Your Job

How to Deal With a Narcissist Coworker at Your Job
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Narcissists behave badly because they don’t see themselves as having flaws. They believe everyone else sees them as perfect and should treat them accordingly. This makes them very self-centered and arrogant.

Narcissistic coworkers can cause problems at work because they often try to take credit for other people’s accomplishments. They also tend to be difficult to deal with, especially if you are the boss or supervisor of the coworker. If you find yourself in this situation, here is how to handle it effectively:

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1. Avoid Taking Things Personally

Narcissistic people are often very good at masking their true feelings behind a veneer of charm, confidence, and charisma. They’re masters at pretending to care about what others think about them, even though they don’t give a damn.

When someone says something negative about them, they’ll either ignore it completely or come up with excuses for why it doesn’t matter.

A lot of us have been guilty of being narcissistic in our relationships. We take things too personally because we feel like we’ve done something wrong. But this is only sometimes the case. If you get upset over every little thing your partner does or says, chances are they are just trying to make you happy.

The key here is to remember that narcissists aren’t interested in making you happy. They’re simply looking out for themselves. You’re better off focusing on your needs and desires rather than worrying about theirs.

2. Learn How Gaslighting Works

Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists to control people. It involves making victims question their perception of reality, especially when it conflicts with what others tell them. This technique works because most people don’t know how to recognize it, let alone identify its signs.

Narcissistic gaslighters often use subtle verbal cues to manipulate their targets into doubting themselves. For example, they might tell their victim that they are irrational or delusional about something or suggest that they’re crazy or paranoid. They’ll do this by saying things like, “You must want me to think that,” or “I’m just trying to help.”

3. Don’t Engage in Gossip

Gossip is one of the primary ways narcissists get ahead in business and social circles. They love nothing more than spreading rumors about their coworkers, friends, and family members. While gossip may seem harmless enough, it can quickly turn toxic if it becomes public knowledge.

If you notice that your coworker has started talking negatively about another person, call them out on it immediately.

4. Set Firm Boundaries

If you are being mistreated at work, it might be because you must clearly define acceptable behavior.

Others often push us into uncomfortable situations when we don’t know where our limits lie. If you want to feel safe and respected at work, you must make clear expectations about how people should treat you.

For example, you could say, “It’s important for me to feel comfortable around my colleagues. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk about me behind my back, and if you have any questions or concerns, please bring them to me directly instead of going through my husband or partner.”

Set firm boundaries early so you can avoid constantly reminding your coworkers to avoid crossing them.

5. Maintain Realistic Expectations

When we think about our coworkers, we often picture someone who acts according to certain qualities. We might imagine a person who is selfless, compassionate, or honest. Research suggests that we idealize others based on how well they match our expectations. And because of this tendency, we sometimes hold ourselves to unrealistic standards.

But while it’s normal to want to see certain qualities in those around us, being too critical of others creates problems. When we judge others based on whether they meet our expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment. If we accept people just as they are, however, we won’t experience this frustration. Because acceptance isn’t limited to positive traits; it also includes negative ones.

6. Remain Assertive

Narcissists are drawn to those who are weak, needy, and dependent. They like to take advantage of others and use them for their gain.

When you remain strong and confident, it makes it harder for them to control you. You become a threat to them, and they don’t know what to do about it. So rather than fight against you, they try to find ways to co-opt you into becoming one of them.

The best way to deal with narcissists is to understand how they operate and why they behave the way they do. Then you can learn to identify warning signs and avoid being taken advantage of.

7. Consult With Your Boss

If you’re having trouble communicating with your manager about a problem, consider consulting them directly. This tactic could help diffuse tensions and prevent issues from escalating into something bigger.

When addressing a concern with your supervisor, try to keep things civil and avoid making personal attacks. Instead, emphasize the issue and make sure your statements are based on facts.

For example, let’s say you notice that one of your coworkers isn’t doing his job properly. You might start by saying, “I noticed you didn’t complete my project on time.” Then describe what happened and how it negatively affected your workflow.

Be careful not to accuse anyone of anything, though. Instead, please stick to the facts and explain why you think he’s slacking off.

8. Document Offensive Behavior

One of the most effective ways to handle workplace conflicts is to document everything that happens.

Doing so helps you get an accurate view of the situation, which allows you to be more objective when dealing with the conflict. It also gives you proof that you were right all along.

In addition to documenting the behavior that bothers you, record conversations with the other party. That way, you’ll have a written record of any promises made during negotiations. The notes will give you evidence if you need to go back to your boss later and discuss the matter further.

9. Talk to HR

If your boss doesn’t respond appropriately to your complaints about unethical behavior or poor treatment, consider speaking to human resources. Keep track of conversations with your manager and HR representatives to ensure you’ve covered all bases and documented everything.

You’re entitled to fair treatment at work and have certain rights under federal law. Your employer must follow specific rules regarding discrimination, harassment, compensation, benefits, privacy, and many other topics.

As an employee, you have some basic protections, such as the ability to file a complaint against your employer without fear of retribution. In addition, you have the right to speak up about issues like pay, working conditions, or anything else that affects your job performance.

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10. Avoid Sharing Personal Details

Narcissistic people tend to want to know everything about everyone else. They crave attention and often feel threatened when someone doesn’t respond to their advances.

To avoid being put off by narcissists, keeping personal information to yourself is important. If you find yourself sharing too much about yourself, consider whether there are better ways to connect with people. You might even benefit from seeking out a therapist or counselor.


Keep your calm mind on the task at hand, and avoid any unnecessary interaction with your narcissistic coworkers. Avoid getting into fights or disagreements unless necessary. Instead of letting the narcissist divert your attention, concentrate on the tasks.

Document all of your interactions with this person. Then, you can decide what to do to fix the problem.

With any luck, the advice above will come in handy the next time you deal with a narcissistic coworker. Also, remember that you can always bring in the experts to assist you if you find yourself completely at a loss.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; our professional resume writers have experience working with difficult clients.

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