What To Do When You Feel Excluded by Colleagues (With Steps)

Getting used to a new workplace can be awkward, but feeling excluded from the office has never improved. Although there was no hostility, my attempts to establish a rapport seemed to fizzle out. Every day I woke up anxious and started to consider excuses for working from home. I eventually began wearing earbuds all day, and I knew I had to leave.

Feeling left out at work; Dealing with gossipy co-workers

What to do if you feel excluded by colleagues

Consider these four actions you can take to resolve the situation if you feel excluded by your coworkers:

1. Process your emotions before responding

Processing your feelings before confronting your coworkers is crucial because it enables you to control emotions like anger or sadness and to comprehend how to communicate those to others. Controlling your feelings prevents you from responding to the situation in a irrational or amateurish manner. Because strong emotions can frequently impede effective communication, a more measured response can be significantly more successful. Prior to speaking with your colleagues, take some time for yourself to process your feelings.

2. Express your feelings to your colleagues

You can let your colleagues know that you’re feeling left out once you’ve had some time to process your feelings. Your coworkers may occasionally be unaware that you are being left out and need a reminder that you are a part of the group. For instance, if you’re a new hire, your coworkers may not be accustomed to working with you yet and unintentionally leave you out of certain conversations or activities. Describe your feelings of exclusion in a way that is both respectful and compelling. You might try communicating in person, sending a group email, or writing a letter.

3. Suggest some ways colleagues can include you

Consider suggesting some ways your colleagues could include you more after you’ve expressed your feelings to them. Instead of relying on your coworkers to come up with all the ideas, it is frequently helpful to contribute your own ideas that everyone can add to. This demonstrates your dedication to the team and your refusal to rely solely on others to carry out your tasks. Think about regular activities or discussions you’d like to participate in, and then brainstorm some ways your colleagues might include you.

4. Participate and interact with your colleagues

It takes both your cooperation and their willingness to include you for you to request greater inclusion from your coworkers. It’s crucial to carry out your duties by participating with coworkers so you can establish a relationship. Building stronger bonds with coworkers can narrow the gap between you and lessen any exclusionary feelings. As coworkers get to know you better, they can recognize the actions or practices that make you feel excluded and stop doing those things.

Why you might feel excluded by colleagues

You may believe that your coworkers are keeping you out of discussions, activities, or workplace advancement for a variety of reasons. Here are some common reasons:

Unintentional ostracism

When coworkers don’t intentionally exclude you or ostracize you, it’s called accidental exclusion. This can happen when coworkers unknowingly exclude others by creating social groups at work without realizing it. Even though it’s not the intention, it still has the potential to make you feel left out of the group. Some of the negative emotions that arise when you feel excluded can be moderated by being aware that it might be unintentional ostracism and realizing it was just an oversight.

Affinity bias

When people gather and interact with those they have a strong affinity for or who are very similar to one another, this is known as an affinity bias. People are attracted to one another by their similarities because they can relate to one another through shared parenting, work habits, musical preferences, and other traits. When you can’t relate to a conversation because of your different interests or abilities from your coworkers, you might feel excluded. If you don’t follow sports, for instance, you might feel left out when your coworkers brag about the winning team and important plays from the game.

Different communication styles

Some people may unintentionally alienate themselves from coworkers due to their various communication styles. For instance, you might feel left out if your coworkers are boisterous and outgoing while you are quiet and reserved. A healthy relationship requires both verbal and nonverbal communication because it enables us to connect with others by accurately communicating the message we want to send and the true meaning of our words. Social groups can sometimes be formed based on communication preferences, which could lead to a desire to feel included in conversations.

Social challenges

Certain social challenges can also create feelings of exclusion. Before you can connect with coworkers, you may need more practice if you experience social anxiety or are generally reticent around new people. If you are from a different social or racial group, you might feel excluded from your field of employment. Politics or other viewpoints may also cause a rift, but you can get around it by steering clear of them or changing the subject to something more appropriate for the workplace.

Consistent criticism

When criticism is constructive feedback, receiving it at work can be beneficial. Saying something like, “You performed really poorly this quarter,” as opposed to, “I think you have room for improvement in this area,” is a significant difference. By concentrating on the negatives, criticism or unfavorable remarks from superiors or coworkers can produce an exclusive feeling. Good bosses and coworkers emphasize each person’s strengths while addressing flaws or shortcomings in a considerate, respectful manner that encourages development and change.

Tips for including colleagues at work

Here are a few quick ideas to help others feel included at work:


What does it mean when your coworkers exclude you?

Exclusion is a very general term that can mean many different things. Social exclusion from the workplace is the most common type. It includes actions like: Being avoided or ignored by coworkers. Not being invited to employee social functions.

How do I deal with being left out at work?

First, seek social support. Spend more time with the people who do value your contributions to the team or who value you socially, aside from the conversations you have with coworkers to figure out what is going on.

Why do I get excluded at work?

What to do if you’re experiencing FOMO at Work.
  1. Look at the situation objectively. What would you think if you were someone else evaluating the circumstance?
  2. Put yourself out there. …
  3. Focus on developing one or a handful of relationships. …
  4. Observe and learn from the company culture.

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