Skip to main content

How to Deal With Backstabbing Coworkers

These days keeping yourself safe requires more than simply checking to make sure the door is locked before you go to sleep. Sadly, it's often necessary to keep up a defensive guard at the workplace as well. As an example, consider the case where a subordinate exhibits as much or more capability or productivity than the supervisor or other established "experts" in the establishment. Human nature being what it is, if this employee persists in outshining or in any way rankling the harmony of the establishment, he or she can become susceptible to harassment, ostracization, demotion, and possibly even dismissal. While talking things out is a much better way of sorting out differences, the outsider too often can become targeted. In this hub we'll look at a few things you can do if you find yourself, for the example reason cited above or any other reason, having to deal with backstabbers at work.

First, let's paint a broad picture of difficult people in general. According to Bobbie Raynes, a consultant at Employee Testing and Development, Inc., "difficult" behaviors are typically attributable to low work interest and low self esteem. The expression of this difficult behavior in testing could be grouped into two categories. The first category consisted of aggressive behaviors, such as disagreeing, complaining, yelling, being sarcastic, and gossiping, to name a few. The second category consisted of passive behaviors, including indecisiveness, unresponsiveness, and simply agreeing with everyone all the time. This shows that difficult employees are apt to display multiple negative behaviors, not just one. The tests also did not reveal that people with low self esteem were correlated in the passive group or the aggressive group.

So what can you do? Backstabbers are often familiar faces who are friendly in public. If they are successful, you may not even recognize them as such until the damage is done. Here are a few things you can do to shield yourself:

Think before speaking. Pathological backstabbers are constantly trolling for information, secrets, dirt. They may initiate a conversation in which they seem to give out some personal information which may or may not be fabricated in order to get you to reciprocate as is common in friendly conversation. Remember, with backstabbers, anything you say can and will be held against you. Some warning signs are overly friendly smiles or gestures. Don't be paranoid, just be observant.

Don't get involved, but don't disconnect either. Backstabbing is a habitual offense. Some do it primarily because they believe it will serve their purposes, some do it because pulling someone down makes them feel better (or, more accurately, less bad) about themselves, and for some it's simply become a part of their personality. While keeping your distance is certainly a good idea, the last person to know is usually the one being talked about. Keep your ear to the tracks.

Backstabbers love to keep up appearances. If you want to confront the backstabber, do it in public with witnesses and, most importantly, stay in control emotionally. This way later the backstabber will be powerless to spread lies to the effect that you flew off the handle with wild accusations at him or her.

Moving on is essential. Say the backstabber has really gotten you. You probably feel mad, frustrated, and vulnerable. If the backstabber has really done some damage, you could have some real setbacks in your career or reputation.

Grieving is healthy. Of couse you don't want to- nobody wants to spend time in sadness. Try to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of saying "no big deal" when something has truly hurt you. Don't let these things get pent up in a bottle. Depending on the severity of what has happened, this may warrant anything from venting to a trusted friend to an all out cry. Alternatively, if some other healthy reaction helps you to get it out of your system, like running, swimming, or pounding a punching bag, go for it! You'll be glad you did afterwards.

This last piece of advice comes from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook by Glenn R. Schiraldi: "To forgive is to release resentment, hatred, bitterness and desires for revenge...We choose not to hate the offender, even though we hate what he or she did." When you forgive, you don't literally forget about the existence of the offense, and you don't have to ignore the fact that it did cause you pain and hurt. Forgiving doesn't mean you approve of the offense or allow it to happen again. You don't have to become friends with that person or trust them to show that you really forgive them. Trust is something that takes a long time to earn, not something given as a token of forgiveness. Remember this in case the backstabber tries to tell you the lie, "You obviously didn't forgive me because you don't trust me!" Very likely, the backstabber may someone it could never be possible to trust.

Good Luck!


Armando Diaz on August 27, 2017:

Make a backstabber your friend. Try to understand the person . Maybe a personal crisis at home was not ldealt with at home. Misery loves company. Cancel that persons misery with your understanding.

Johnd875 on October 06, 2014:

I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really great D. Good job, cheers ecafkfedabdk

Heervavedlowl on March 06, 2013:

When i utilized to receive on top of living nevertheless these days I've truly established a new resistance.

Kitten on June 05, 2012:

I am working in a male dominant run building for the military. I am good at my job get good marks on my performance. I changed buildings and the building manager is the facilitiy manager from hell. The treat women bad and been undermining me since I got to this building. I got to move to the office of the building manager and he went in my old cube. He will still micromanage me check to see when I come and go to work. I went to do some work and his co-worker he shared the office with locked me out of my office! I told the dude do not lock it when you go home my purse is in my desk. I got a bad feeling went back before he left sure enough the door was locked. He acted like I never told him to keep it open and he said "I thought you went home" He knew enough about my persoanl life that I lived alone and would have been screwed if everyone went home. I can't believe anyone who do such a thing. If I would have arrived ten minutes latter I would have been locked out of my car, house and no money! I don't know who locked it minnie me the facilities friend or the facilities gay. I don't like everyone at work, but I would never do someone harm like that it is simply heartless. Needless to say I will never get close or trust anyone ever again. I would been locked out of my house, car with on body to help, just stranded until the next day when everyone appears. This backstabbing behavior is so high school. When you get out of high school it does not change just more trickier because you have bills!

wanda on May 15, 2012:

I actually helped my friend get a job where i work, and she ended up being my assistant. All went well for a few weeks, then, she got jealous of me making more money. I tried to trudge forward and be the same but she started talking about me to others. I try to stay to my business and not gossip or ask personal questions, but it was if i was the one prying because she would say that i was the one wondering, so i heard. One thing led to another and she went to our supervisors and lied.I was fired, and i dont know the reason, other than she lied. I got my things and left. I learned the most important thing, DONT HELP FRIENDS! She told me that i was weird,because i believe when you are at work, you work. I can tell you one thing, i will not have women friends anymore, who need them, and i am a woman.

Scroll to Continue

sc on May 08, 2012:

thanks... i badly need this one...

Mike on May 07, 2012:

It's the making up of lies about you(or in this case me)that concerns me the most because once the group buys into this character assasinating behaviour, it's very hard to win back office credibility.But the upside I've found is that such Top Dog bullies eventually get caught up in their own web of lies(To quote the great George Castanza). If they tell too many stories to the wrong people they effectively lay a credibility trap for themselves, because outside of the coerced group these outsiders know what the bully is saying is bullshit. I've found the best way to deal with these obnoxious, less talented little shits is just to be all superficial courteous and civil with then, but then say nothing about them behind their back. You must not give them any ammunition. They have a belt-fed Psycho-Emotional Heavy-Machine-Gun at their disposal CUT-OFF their ammo supply. It's worked for me recently and I've watched the group dynamic shift in my favour, or rather in generally everyone's favour. Yes, power might well abhor a vacuum, but our offices don't have to be Europe in the lead-up to World War 1 if we don't want them to be.

Saqib on April 30, 2012:

I am 30 years old male and working on a managerial position. My female coordinator is spreading fake and bad comments about me to our boss that I intentionally try to touch her while moving. My Boss and my department colleagues know that its lie and what kind of girl she is as she is a jealous girl and whenever you speak with other female colleagues she start getting jealous. She is also speaking such with her few female friends in the organization and I am really frustrated how to handle this??

lynn on April 17, 2012:

I started working in an office 3 years ago and all my co-workers have been with the company for 10 plus years. They all know the company procedures well and do there job well but the attitude of these co-workers are off the wall. They make me feel like I'm the outcast all the way up to the Vice President of the company. I have been passed over for raises for 2 years now and have heard through the office chatter when raises were given. My immediate manager even gives me an attitude. I say good morning and good night and no one knows my personal business. I do my job and go home. But I take these attitudes very serious. Sometimes when I say good morning I don't get acknowledged, it's like their noses are up in the air and I'm not good enough to work at their facility. When I asked about getting a raise the third year I was employed, I was told that I did not need the money cause my family was well to do. I told this person that just because my family is well to do that does not mean I am. Because they know nothing about me personally they assume that I am well off like some of my family. When in the interview for the job they asked me questions about my family and I was not going to lie to them about family members owning their own business. What do you do in this situation? Do I look for another job? I like what I do. Anyone please give me some ideas.

Eric Benson on April 01, 2012:

Hello all viewers,

My name is Eric Benson i'm from United Kingdom, my purpose of coming to this site is to testify the good work of Dr, Efe. Dr, Efe help me to go back to my former work where i was sack before. My manager sack me from work before and i was at how for 1 year. So one day a friend of my Sammy introduce me to Dr, Efe. Sammy told me the man i a powerful man that he can do all things, i told he how sure are you? Sammy said try he and see. So i email Dr, Efe via email address ( i told he all my problem, he said i should give he 2weeks and after 2weeks the company will call me back. So after the company that sack me for 1years started begging for my attention.

So that is the the good and wonderful work of Dr, Efe.

For those who have the same problem my advice to you si to contact Dr, Efe via email ( he is a powerful man.

Once again a big thanks to Dr, Efe and a bid thanks to Sammy who introduce me to Dr, Efe.


Mr. Eric Benson.

Natalie on March 30, 2012:

I tutored and helped a young teacher at my school for 13 years only to have her seriously backstab me to the principal to gain more money and an administration position. Very sad and disturbing - wish I wasn't feeling the need for revenge...

CreateHubpages on March 22, 2012:

Love reading it. I love the thought.

Michele on February 29, 2012:

I too have this issue. My backstabber started a rumor thru the workplace that I was a drug addict! And all the while, engaging me in conversation at work and putting on one big act. I chose to take the road of avoidancc

akash on February 28, 2012:

Really good article..

liquidsapphire on February 26, 2012:

Not bad but your final notes on forgiveness, while well meant, are condescending. This is found in similar well meant articles. It has become a popular saww to end advice about bad experiences, but since you have no idea how bad any one person's experience is, it's best to leave it out. Some people's back-stabbing experience was a minor inconvenience; others was rife with life-changing personal and financial losses.

The quote you include "To forgive is to release resentment, hatred, bitterness and desires for revenge" is highly subjective and inaccurate. Historically and culturally forgiveness was something earned by people who felt genuine remorse and had made restitution.

The word people are often looking for in these circumstances is "forsake", to give up all claims on restitution and sever all contacts. Problem is "forsake" doesn't make people feel as warm and cozy as the word "forgive". This is emotionally dishonest as we still speak of things that are "unforgivable".

It would have been much more respectful to people's varied experience to SUGGEST they might consider forgiving/letting go the situation, but in a way that doesn't imply there is something wrong with someone for not forgiving.

I will also make a note to never buy or recommend "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook" ; I cannot conceive of the arrogance of a writer who would imply to victims of PTSD[war, rape, incest, etc] that it is their responsibility to forgive in their situation, by whatever definition.

A choice to consider, yes.

But something they should "work themselves up to doing" or fail in their recovery by this writer's arrogant standard? Never.

chad on February 22, 2012:

What can I do if I have physical evidence of 4 co workers making fun of a my dead relative...?

Emily on February 16, 2012:

What do you do when a coworker has an affair and involves you against your knowledge as an alibi. When you find out and ask her not to, she starts making up lies to look like a victim and then gets you fired saying that you threatened her. I barely know this person, have never gone out with her and really had nothing to do with her with the only exception that we worked on the same floor.

mr m on January 28, 2012:

hello this is a very good article. be careful guys, it happened to me i worked in a company for five years. the first year it was ok. Im so lucky that i quit that job finally yay. never ever trust anyone even if it is your friend. i learned a lot from it some people are trying to be friendly and backstabb you some are jealous when you got a bonus or overtime some are trying to get some information about you and use it against you. so be careful never ever trust someone but yourself.

mr m on January 28, 2012:


Lee Sinclair on January 28, 2012:

Your article is sort of okay, but you need to learn about sentence structure. Your paragraphs are too long, making it seem that you are rambling on and on and on.

Lee Sinclair on January 28, 2012:

Testing testing

jenny on January 28, 2012:

I bought a house as a single woman, there was a niebour who tried to befriend me a female single woman.

Over the next few years she caused me hassle with complaining about my fence, my barbaques, my outdoor shed and the police about tree cuttings.

Now im facing horrendous problems revolving a planning permission from the council, SHE works in this OFFICE????

how do i behave in this one???? its very Difficult, every obstacle i jump they make it higher?

Giant on January 27, 2012:

This is all common sense. u obviously find out about someone back stabbing after the fact.

Gos on January 25, 2012:

All nasty two faced bitching backstabbers are evil satanic devil lovers

Judy on January 21, 2012:

I am a boss and I was backstabbed by my employees. I am in a high position and they went to my boss, the CEO and made a complaint. They even told him they were worried about retaliation and retribution!!!

I'm afraid I'm being set up by poor performing employees. Their comments to the CEO now inhibit my ability to manage the behavioral issues in my department.

What do you do when some one viscously tells lies about you?

Judy on January 21, 2012:

I am a boss and I was backstabbed by my employees. I am in a high position and they went to my boss, the CEO and made a complaint. They even told him they were worried about retaliation and retribution!!!

I'm afraid I'm being set up by poor performing employees. Their comments to the CEO now inhibit my ability to manage the behavioral issues in my department.

What do you do when some one viscously tells lies about you?

mothra on January 21, 2012:

Good post. It's funny, I work in an office with a lot of these types of people. Fortunately I was prepared for it this time, having dealt with back stabbing idiots at many of my past jobs, I have come up with a basic guide to keep me protected from these types of things.

1. Never tell anybody anything you dislike, or talk about anything that is passionate to you.

2. Keep co workers at an arm's length. I mean, be friendly, but never try to be really close friends with any of them. Just do your job the best you can.

3. Cover your ass and document your work

4. Don't pay any attention whatsoever to office rumors or gossip. For example, one of the backstabbers at my office told me she was going to the bosses Christmas party because if we didn't go, we didn't get our bonus. I really had no interest in going to this party. I didn't go, and I still got my bonus.

5. Never tell co workers your personal beliefs on politics, religion, or experiences with the opposite sex. If they pry on things, answer as vaguely as possible, and sometimes even lie and say you're not really political.

6. The key is never to expose any emotional side to them whatsoever. This is what backstabbers/social-paths latch onto.

7. Always be friendly, and ask your co workers about things about themselves. Just let them talk about themselves, they always like that.

Someone on January 15, 2012:

I recently found out a long term co-worker of over 10 years (who also happens to be a person in charge), made a derogatory comment about me to a 20 something year old part timer who recently joined our workplace.

And as if twisting the knife further, I was told of the comment by said part timer. This floored and deeply hurt me as I have always looked up to this particular person for over a decade of working side by side with each other. I had absolutely no idea this person thought of me in such a derogatory way.

Not only the fact that the comment was made, but that it was made to someone more than half her age and to an employee only there a couple of months. It shows where her loyalty lies...and doesn't.

I quietly & politely confronted her about it after keeping it inside for over 2 weeks as I tried to just let it "blow over".

But it gnawed at me and I was deeply hurt by the remark. When I asked her about it, she admitted the comment but instead of simply apologizing and just saying it was wrong, I got some lame story how it was all taken out of context and she didn't "mean it" as badly as it sounded.

So now i'm getting my intelligence insulted to boot. Just ram that knife in deeper why don't ya?

So I "accepted" the story she gave, but things haven't been the same. And this is a 10+ year work relationship. Undone by a simple derogatory comment. Words CAN hurt. Deeply.

My trust for this long time co worker has completely diminished. I politely say hello & goodbye. She makes absolutely no effort either to say any more than greetings to me.

I suspect that's her guilty conscience at work there. Would an apology have erased the comment? No. But it would have had me forgiven her and attempt to rebuild the damage that was done.

The fact that no effort was made to apologize tells me the derogatory comment made was genuine on her part.

I am hurt, sad, angry, and yes even grieving the "loss" of this coworker whom I thought had as much respect for me as i did for her all these years.

It will take time for the hurt to subside and believe me, there are times when I walk into work and see her, that I want to turn right back out and head for my car.

Especially when I see her chumming it up with the part timer who she spoke the comment just reopens the wound all over again.

I confronted, got my answer, and have to remind myself daily to just move on and continue to do the badass work i've always done at this job.

As for that part timer, I believe he'll eventually accumulate enough rope to hang himself.

The best i can do all around is continue to hold my head high, respect my other co workers, refrain from going down to their level, no matter how seductive it feels...and keep the faith.

Good will always win out over evil. I firmly believe that. Keep the faith in yourself no matter WHAT is being said about you.

just me on January 14, 2012:

I have one particular person on my team that starts a conversation with me giving out about 2 other girls on our team. Making fun of their weight and calling them a clique. But yet I've recently found out absolutely everything she's been saying to them about me and they now agree with her and think they're all best friends. Funny how people all seem to think these girls are nice. Such a toxic environment. Get me out of here.

Aylane Ramos on August 25, 2011:

Well this employee has sent a letter to a friends house saying we're having an affair. How our lunch hours are spent and even my weekends. This all happened because we terminated a tenant that was friends with this at the control tower. Jack Ass sent this letter to get back at me and is not giving up he wants me fired. I don't have anything to do with his friend, he couldn't pay his rent.

strawberryfields on August 25, 2011:

I recently went through this backstabbing drama. I am the only female in our group, other than the boss who is female. My 3 male coworkers went to her and told her I was always in a bad mood, rude, and bossy. This really blew me away when she called me in to discuss the accusations. 2 of the coworkers invite me to lunch all the time (and I go when I can), have invited me over to their house (they are a couple),although I declined, and are constantly "chit-chatting" with me about work and their life outside of work. We seemed to get along great. Due to cutbacks, they eliminated 2 positions and put both positions on me, in addition to my job duties. I made the mistake of asking one of my coworkers if he could please take on one of my tasks, and it was the easiest and least time consuming. This started a whole snowball effect of them getting together and creating these lies about me. Now my boss sees me in a different light and I feel like I'm walking on eggshells. I am always upbeat at work, friendly, and never rude. I get along great with people in other departments, and thought me and my 3 male coworkers were a great team. Now this. I am so baffled and hurt, not to mention scared that this will happen again. How do you defend yourself against lies??? I used to love coming to work but now, when I walk through the door in the morning, I get this sick feeling in my stomach.

Tyler on August 19, 2011:

I have been going through the same abuse everyone on here is. My coworkers are so fake. You cant even approach them. When you do talk to them, they just smile and act like nothing is going on. I just want to quit and get my mind right. any suggestions?

The_Idea_Gal on August 11, 2011:

Wow, I've seen this on so many levels it's dissapointing, especially as the economy and job security descreases. This makes the game players and the passive aggressive backstabbers even worse. Having a good, trusted friend at work always helps, as well as keeping interaction with the culprit brief but pleasant. If you focus more on staying busy with job initiatives and have little time to hang out in the coffee room, it will be to your benefit.

had a gut full on July 14, 2011:

I didn't realise how wide spread backstabbing was till I got home after a crappy day today and at my witts end typed into the computer "how to deal with a backstabbing co-worker". I guess I just don't know how to handle it, it's cost my fiancé his job and now their turning their sights onto me. I work in a male dominant workforce, being the only female worker for years in our area. This person in particular used to be our friend, getting together on many occasions outside of work, but about 8 months ago found out through a couple different people he was trying to get my fiancé fired behind our backs and the worst part was the things he was accusing him of, this person was the worst for it! such a hypocrit! anyway it then turned onto starting rumurs about our relationship was in trouble and we'd broken up on two different insidences, which had no truth at all to it as at around the same time was when we got engaged which we kept quite because of all the gossip, then once things had settled down, he started all his crap up again he just can't give it up. After I told my other half to not lower his self to the BS standards and just ignore him and it'll settle down, it just got worse-after confronting him he denied it of course, then my other half got moved to another crew for being a trouble maker-where's the fairness in that? Of course our boss stuck up for the BS i don't know weather he's extremely cleaver and staying on his good side so he doesn't make trouble for the boss or just blind. Anyhow it all just got to much for the fiancé and he ended up quiting, he went quietly as to not stir up more trouble for me, he's been gone a few weeks now but today I found out that this BS now has me in their sights. I have just got a promotion and don't have much to do with him a work now but he is still determined to cause trouble for me. The worst part is he suck holes to the bigger bosses and they all think he's wonderful as do most of the other influential workers in his pack. The ones that see what he really is like don't want to say anything as they don't want to bring trouble to themselves and I don't want to get them involved for the same reasons, and of course I don't have anything written down because I'm not that sort of person and also none of it is ever to my face. I'm just lost at what I can do about it and I don't want it to get to the stage that I have to quit or even worse he somehow manages to get me fired which is what he's trying to do, because I really do like what I do and I don't want to leave. I don't feel I can trust many of my workmates to go to them and ask for advise as I know alot of them like to gossip and I don't want to be seen as the wingy female who can't handle the blokes world, which is not true as i can handle the jokes about females and all those sort of things i get at work with good humour and I've never had any other problems in the years I've been there. At the end of the day I just want to be left alone to do my job. So any advise would be appreciated.

Caz on May 16, 2011:

I have exactly the same problem as Shanna (except that my colleague is not more experience ed than me). I'm finding it incredibly difficult as she has become my boss's newest drinking buddy and undermines me at every opportunity. I used to love my job, but I'm getting fed up with having people bitch and criticize me behind my back. My problem is that I'm only 24 and she's a few years older. How do I deal with this in a way that doesn't make me seem immature? It's affecting my social life, my relationship and my job.

lass_on_web on May 09, 2011:

very good and informative article. thanks a lot.

maryum on March 23, 2011:

thanks dude. . its very informative and well compiled. .

matthew on February 09, 2011:

Love your enemy - end of story.

Rene on February 05, 2011:

Confront and don't mean be confrontational, just confront the person with what's being said and ask why they are saying it. They might not admit saying anything, but they will know your aware of what's being said and this is important. Keep a log. Many times it's unintentional and a talk might clear things up. When someone says something about another behind their back, they are someone who can't handle their relationships and they're backstabbing to isolate and control someone - basically they want others to fight their battles. If their action is not seen for what it are, then your in wrong job because birds of a feather.

liss on February 01, 2011:

I'm currently experiencing backstabbing. Simply.. the backstabber has no confidence, low self esteem and terrible social skills, breed into her by her parents.I remind myself of my happy life, my ample amount of lovely friends and family, my ability to make the boss 3x the amount she does and my tactfulness of implying how pathetic she is when she makes awful comments about others. I'm nearly ready to print out this information underlining the relevant parts and giving the backstabber and the boss a copy. my motto is to not speak about people behind their back unless you can say it to their face. Don't take crap from anyone, happiness is most important...and karma is wonderful. x

Joe on January 13, 2011:

Forget about all the new age bullshit advice. Never under estimate a backstabber. Do everything in your power to eliminate this individual. Don't play the game. This person is an enemy. You are out of your league. If you can, terminate them immediately and if you can't, isolate them, make them irrelevant. You play this game at your own peril.

mom-to-be in canada on January 09, 2011:

This all sounds very familiar. I get along well enough with my co-worker, we even used to take the odd drink on weekends. I announced my pregnancy to the office, and all of a sudden I am "not the same person that was hired, or that she wants to work with" and is going around telling people I got "knocked up" on purpose, and to not expect me back after my mat leave. I can recognize jealousy when I see it, and it makes me a little sad for her, but I feel like she is attacking my personal life now, and is somehow looking to push me out the door... it's a very difficult situation. I am thinking of talking to HR about it....

andrew from tuaran on December 15, 2010:

I have 2 sales executive that is my superior, but both of them is not using their brilliant brain..i wonder how their gonna survive in these competitive situation...and then i realize that they are both what I do?...I just do my daily jobs and try my best to achieve monthly sales in my department with good performances...our manager keep asking whenever i take annual leave just for attending other company interview.

Happymm on November 26, 2010:

I understand what is it to have one expierence backstabbers. Unfortunitly one will encounter people that are not honest to themselves and with others.Honesty is about knowing how to approach the other person,type of envirnoment and the situation needed for discussion. The advise that one can benefit from is to talk it over with a friend that will support and provide you advise .Excerse and meditate to help one release the tension. Once you have done those items , clarify with the person on what the issue is and resolve. Leave your emotions out of it.

Cardio on November 24, 2010:

I recently started a new job in the medical field after working as a Paramedic for 20 yrs. I have accelerated with my new position, helped reduce medical mistakes and made constructive suggestions to streamline documentation and simplify things. Although I have not increased the workload and have made working conditions better I have discovered that the colleagues in my department have been coming off with the "who does this guy think he is" attitude when speaking about me to other departments. I am keeping the faith, moving forward and doing the right thing. I chalk the resentment up to the fact that my colleagues are not interested in change nor their job....

Shanna on November 11, 2010:

I work in a very laxed office. My boss thrived his business on everyone gets along and a very friendly environment. The thing is my coworker hired after me and has more experience but doesn't do the same job as me now for somereason is turning my boss, who btw is also a friend, against i love my job!!!

Kate on October 12, 2010:

I started a job several months ago and from the moment, I turned in my paperwork it has been a nightmare. The bitterness that pours out of these people, is unbelievable. It is as if I walked in the door with a target on my back. I have always been a person that strives to get along with the people I work with, but this place is ... I'm not sure but I think it stems from one lady in HR. I took the place of her best friend; and they paid me a lot more than her friend was getting (that was part of the first office gossip I heard). She tried to set me up several times in the first month. Apparently, she and her friend use too rule the roost.

I have dealt with several co-workers talking about me often. They get in a pack and go at it several times throughout the day talking about me. When that settles down another woman I share an open workspace with gets with her friend, and talks about me and several other people; However, the main topic is me.

What makes this so hard is, I work out in the open where I can see and hear 90 percent of the gossip. No cubical walls, no office… I am at the corner of two hallways where I see and hear more than I want to. I am a single parent and I only took this job because of benefits. Although the pay is great, the stress is a killer. With the job market, being what it is I’m afraid to leave but fear if I don’t they are going to drive me insane.

To add a twist to this story, The CEO, who I worked for and was a wonderful person, died a couple of months ago and now it seems the backstabing has gotten worse.

Any suggestions?

Mary on August 21, 2010:

Backstabbing is just the pitts. There is a lady in my workforce, a colleague who has so much ambition and wants to get to the top that she doesn't care what lies she tells to get there. She makes me look bad, has told lies about me and questions my work even though she is not my boss. I am confident that I am doing a good job but her lies about me bother me so much. Should I confront her? I am the kind that gets emotional quickly and am always stuck for the right words.

Lora on July 07, 2010:

Thanks very much for the article. It is my current situation at work. My colleagues gossip a lot, want to make me feel bad and say I am a stupid because I am correct and work to much...

It is a great frustration for me. I don't trust anyone there, and they lie as well... Always making you feeling bad by saying that they are much more intelligent and they live such a perfect life...

Thank you!

j on June 01, 2010:

thanks for the article

Betrayed By a Co-Worker on May 23, 2010:

This article is exactly what I needed to read.

whoknows on April 10, 2010:

I had to deal with a backstabbing co-worker. I started the job in the summer. Everything started off fine for the first few months. She seemed nice, so I was willing to share information about my life outside of this little job. Then the way we did our job changed (from mostly paper work to computer work). That is when things changed for the worse. I am very skilled with computers (just because I have been using this technology for over a decade now) and my co-worker (not the backstabbing one) is an older person that is slow with computers...not her fault, just the way it is. When I started the job my co-worker that I do the same worth with was able to do a lot more in a day then I could. But when we changed to computer based work, I was able to triple the amount of work I could do in a day and her work load when down by over 50 percent. They just keep her on board because she is an older person that is ready to retire. That is when the backstabbing coworker started calling me names, going behind my back to my boss getting me in trouble for any little mistake I would make. It got to the point where she would call people stupid, idiot, etc, in sarcastic comments. This backstabbing co-worker is divorced with three children and the husband is the one that asked for the divorce. Over time, as I got to know this co-worker, I learned that she is an evil person and hates her life (she will get in fights over the phone with her children and use foul language). I told my boss twice about what the backstabber was doing, but the co-worker would still do the same crap. I just gave up, applied to a job that fit my work experience very well, got hired for the new job, when to HR at my current job with a detailed listing of what this backstabber was saying, and I left that place. Now my mental health is good again and everyone I work with now is professional....on top of it I can work from home very extended periods of time since this new job is writing based.

BeeBee66 on March 29, 2010:

I was forced to take a low paying low skilled job and found the place full of back stabbers. People who felt bad about themselves and need to drag others down with gossip and lies. I quit. I tried but I couldn't deal with people who only felt good about themselves when dragging others down.

TEBE on February 24, 2010:

Hi Cheryl:

I too have noticed that backstabbing is common if not rampant in today's workforce - I have always tried to stick to the old rule - do your work - stay away from gossip- confront if you have to or ask a supervisor to mediate a dispute and ultimately ive learned to grieve losing a potential friendship to backstabbing and forgive but never never forget


Cheryl on January 24, 2010:

I recently started a new job and I love it! The problem is over the past couple weeks Ive noiced that everyone talks about everyone. If a person is not in the room, that is who everyone is talking about. If that person walks in the room, then the subject changes and they are given a warm welcome into the room. This is really upsetting to me, because I am thinking what are they saying about me? I know I will never share anything personal, but at the same time, I do not wanna work in a place where I feel paranoid all the time. Furthermore, I dont wanna be part of this, and Im worried that if Im not involved in the "talking" I will be singled out. What to do????

sharon on January 14, 2010:

I have almost the same situation as Mary posted 4 months ago.We are the same age and I have 20+ years of experience in my profession.I was not educated on computers but Iam not computer illiterate. My 28 year old co-worker is constantly pointing out errors and belittling believing her work and customer service is far superior. Many co-workers have come to me and stated they do not know how I can put up with it. She is openly nice to my face but evil behind my back.

robin on January 10, 2010:

well like im 13 and this girl she would always talk bout me behind my back and she 2faced me i hate her now we wont talk to each other. Actually we used to be friends so now were goin our separate ways. Every class i have with which is 3 classes i hate. thanks for the help love robin:)

nbreri on October 06, 2009:

thank you for the article - it is very helpful. i am currently dealing with a staff/subordinate who started as a pushback and now is a backstabber. she even used her friend to speak to our CEO about me. it's true about the supervisors listening to what is said about you. but you just have to have the documentation to prove the backstabber wrong; and be calm.

Mark Butler on September 16, 2009:

There are many ways to deal with a back-stabbing co-worker.

Here is one more!

MARY on September 15, 2009:




WDD on June 04, 2009:

I have an issue with two supervisors that are poor with communication. They are drinkin buddies and I'm in the middle. Severeal of their people look for mistakes and run and tell them to make me look bad because I'm the new guy. What should I do because they have a history of this with other supervisors in the past?? I try to challenge my people and talk to them they just cuss at them because there old school.

Tasha on April 18, 2009:


Hi John remember that you are just there to do a job and not to find a friend. you need to do your job to the bes of your ability mimimizing mistakes. Forget your co worker and the supervisor just do your job. your supervisor will see that person for what they are.Eventualy your supervisor will cling to you because they will see that what they are hearing is not true.Avoid spending too much time with the back staber.

John E. on March 05, 2009:

O K call me paranoid but lately I've noticed that a co-worker who I have also developed a friendship with has seemed a bit "strange". What I mean is that I just can sense that when work is involved, this person seems almost jealous of me. I am a happy, positive person who enjoys my job. My co-worker talks about our supervisor in a negative way and it seems that I'm being dragged into this by always being asked if I agree with her.

She also has more opportunity to spend more time with our supervisor due to our assignments at work and who knows what is being said about me when I'm not there to defend myself. How does one deal with this sort of situation?

TH7 on December 04, 2008:

This was exactly what I needed to read, how does one deal with someone willing to lie? There is no real defense, but this article helped by offering ways to deal with the situation.

Pete Michner (author) from Virginia on August 05, 2008:

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

Trsmd from India on August 05, 2008:

very much informative hubpage.. thanks for the posting..

Related Articles