Communication at Work :
Stressing Out Over "the Cold Shoulder" from a Coworker


Communication at Work: When No One is Actually Talking

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never been good at breaking the ice when it comes to getting the cold shoulder. Funny how those two expressions go together!

I have experienced the cold shoulder in the past from a co-worker for reasons unknown to me. And how have I, the trainer-of-all-things-conflict-riddled, handled it? I simply trusted that whatever “it” was, if it was really important, would be brought to my attention. I just kept working and being polite and minding my own business. After a time, things went back to normal, and I was none the wiser.

Now the question that is begging to be asked is, “Is this a good way of going through life, dealing with co-workers and loved ones?” Well, I would say “yes” since that’s my way. But let me tell you my rationale for 'communicating' in this way and then see if it fits for you too.

I see it this way: I can’t read your mind, though I will admit I can read your body language. But if you are angry with me, or judging me, why do I have to go further out on the ledge and take the risk and actually ask for more discomfort undoubtedly at my expense? Why shouldn’t the discomfort be on YOUR end by having to have that difficult conversation where you present your contention to me, and we hash it out, and hopefully resolve the difficulty or difference of opinion?

I realize that what the cold shoulder is supposed to achieve is my taking the first step and saying, “Gosh, is something bothering you?” therefore opening the door for the upset person to relieve himself of his tension or distaste. But I gotta say I think it’s unfair.

To be both mad at someone and show it physically and then make them get it out of you is a double-whammy. At least meet that person halfway. After all, you’re the one who is steaming. It’s your pot that’s boiling over, why do I have to move it off the burner (ah—am I a genius with a metaphor or what?).

So, what this advice is suggesting is instead of stewing, take on your issue with the person directly and soon. I know that the longer I let something fester, the worse it becomes in my head. I think this does a lot of damage in the end. Better to just get it over with, like pulling a thorn out of your palm.

As always, I ask that you look at the applications for this both at work and home. Spouse and kids can’t read minds either!

“Get mad, then get over it.” —Colin Powell




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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Don't make me ask : stressing out over getting the cold shoulder 
If I am stressing out over getting the cold shoulder - wondering what I have done to deserve it - then I NEED to approach them - for my own sanity. …

Cold Shoulder? Who cares? 
This is an interesting topic. To the best of my knowledge, I've only experienced this once. It happened with a colleague who encouraged me, mentored me …

But? 
I feel like the person already KNOWS why I am mad at them, and resent having to tell them. Why can't people see that a simple apology goes a long way …

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