Welcome to I Should Have Said where we teach verbal self-defense and how to stand up for yourself the easy way. When you’re done perusing this post, learn how else we can help you here.

What to say to a complaining Co-worker

What to say to a complaining coworker who is always negative

Every day in the office we have to deal with the typical workplace personalities like negative Nelly. If you have to work closely with a negative colleague who complains constantly, it can drain your energy.

Some staff love to focus on the negative and the office drama, you’ll see the person talking in hushed tones with the door closed, ranting about some workplace issue. Everyone knows that Negative Nelly has cornered yet another victim and is spewing out her list of complaints.

Shut down the complaining coworker

The sooner you can shut down the complainer the better, they will try to waste a lot of your valuable time with their negative observations. The more you listen, the more it takes away from your own projects and you are just encouraging more complaints with your sympathetic ear.


Our FREE Starter Guide will show you the 3 simple steps you can take right now to stand up for yourself so that you can feel confident. It’s a game changer–get it free for a limited time!

When negative Nelly realizes that you aren’t particularly interested in listening to her and you offer up solutions to fix the problem, she will stop whining to you. Negative people aren’t interested in problem-solving, they just want to rant on to an attentive audience.

Next time someone corners you and wants to complain at work, use one of our professional responses to let them know you’re not interested. Whatever you say to someone at work, you need to make sure you feel comfortable with someone repeating it someone else.

The 4 best replies for a complaining coworker

  1. I’d love to know if you have any ideas on how we could improve the situation?
  2. Interesting, I see it very differently.
  3. Sorry, I can’t talk, I’ve got work to do.
  4. I’m tired of talking about work. Let’s chat about something else.

More you might like

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with an complaining co-worker.  Share them in the comments below.


Ever feel like you don’t know what to say to challenging people? Grab our FREE starter guide, so you know not only what to say- but how to say it.

If you love this resource, don’t miss our amazing resource Verbal Self Defense Made Easy bundle that will teach you how to effortlessly shut down rude people in record time. Learn how to stand up for yourself in any situation, the easy way.

Get in touch:

I created this site to help people with verbal self-defense and to find the right words in difficult situations… Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *