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7 Things You Should NEVER Say to Co-Workers

Given the amount of time we spend at work, it's understandable that a lot of us get pretty comfortable there. It's a good thing when you can really be yourself at work, and it's nice to have friends there, too. But, no matter how much your workplace feels like a home away from home, the truth is that it isn't. Your workplace is a professional environment, and there are some lines that should never be crossed. Let's take a look at a few things that you should never say to your co-workers. Really. Never.

Given the amount of time we spend at work, it’s understandable that a lot of us get pretty comfortable there. It’s a good thing when you can really be yourself at work, and it’s nice to have friends there, too. But, no matter how much your workplace feels like a home away from home, the truth is that it isn’t. Your workplace is a professional environment, and there are some lines that should never be crossed. Let’s take a look at a few things that you should never say to your co-workers. Really. Never.

mad monkey 

(Photo Credit: jinterwas/Flickr)

1. “Who are you voting for?”

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Save the political discussions for your personal time. It’s inappropriate to discuss your own views at work, much less solicit the opinions of others. Political talk is divisive and it can hinder collaboration. Additionally, the person you ask could feel cornered or even bullied by your question. In the office, it’s safest to avoid political discussions all together.

2. “I’m soooooo tired.”

We’re all tired. Talking about it really isn’t helping anyone, is it?!

3. “I have to tell you something about the boss, but don’t tell anyone, okay?”

Sometimes, office gossip can be a good thing, and sometime you need to talk about important things that are going on. But, getting everyone all fired up when you don’t have a plan for improving things simply isn’t helpful. When trying to make a difficult situation better, act thoughtfully and intentionally.

4. “You always…” or, “You never…”

These types of phrases are a bit overly dramatic and probably also inaccurate. Very few people “always” or “never” do something. Blanket statements like these can make people feel defensive, and they aren’t the best way to work toward finding solutions to problems.

5. “That’s not my job; it’s not in my contract.”

A lot of people do things that fall outside of their job descriptions. If you start to be seen as someone who is unwilling to help out when things get busy, it could hurt your professional reputation and maybe even your career in the long run. Plus, you might want to ask someone else for a little help at some point, right?!

6. “Well, actually….”

Prefacing a correction with, “Well, actually…” is just plain obnoxious. Simply leave it off of the beginning of your statement when you need to issue a direction or a correction. What you have to say will be received much better if you do.

7. “I hate this stupid job.”

It’s understandable that you need to vent once in awhile, but the office isn’t the right place to do it. Negativity isn’t constructive. People are trying to get through the day with a good attitude. Don’t bring them down.

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34 Comments on "7 Things You Should NEVER Say to Co-Workers"

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A comment that I’ve heard many times that I find non-productive is “I’m so busy!” Everyone is busy. If you have enough time to talk about how busy you are, you’re not that busy. Also, I’m in a position where people will come to confide in me about personal as well as work related concerns. The secret is to never, ever repeat what they have said.


Eh, If people have to worry about what not to say, then they are probably not well educated or in a profession that matters. If they’re not more worried about their clients or their work product than the bullshit water cooler banter, then let them chit chat to their peril. More money in the payroll for the employees who don’t. Let them enjoy their worthless contribution to the world, we have better things to worry about than this stupid list of unimportant suggestions for unimportant people.


How about, “YOU’RE not my boss…” when you have to say that to someone who actually thinks they are…

Obviously saying “It’s not my job” is inappropriate but at the same time you need to discuss requests that DO go outside of your job description with your boss, ie, don’t just be “yes man”. Being the goto guy/gal is great if you’re a super motivated person and very organized to do your daily work with the additional “special” requests every so often but it’s very easy to get taken advantage of. I’ve always bee a go to person in just about ever job I’ve held and it can wear a person down quickly and you usually don’t notice it… Read more »
agree with Kathleen #9 re: needing a diff approach to saying no to the boss. all too often I’ll hear “i would normally assign this to person X since it falls under their description, but i really need it to get done. I know i can trust that you’ll take care of it and don’t have time to follow up with X to ensure it’s correct. then later: “it’s too bad your position is salaried and is not eligible for a bonus, because youi’ve done a very nice job this year. i’d love to recommend you for the max increase.… Read more »
I'm dieing!!!

I’m a course instructor teaching tech. I swear, make dirty jokes, flirt, tease, throw things at people, etc… they pay $3000 a week for this abuse and I’m fully booked months ahead. I doubt I’ve gone 5 minutes in the last 3 years without making highly inappropriate comments.

Why would anyone ever work for or with such horrible people that would force this PC stuff? I’d shoot myself


The toxic work place, it is really pitiful that a coworker can , in the end have you fired,I thought thats what the owner,lead ,or super were for . If a coworker can spread rumors around and in the end have you fired then why have promotion or demotions honestly if you work in that kind of environment then take what’s coming and be happy making 10 to 12$ an hour I think that’s kindling behind the fire.

I ‘ve hired and trained thousands of employees over my 45 years of employment. Most of those employees have been for someone else to manage so there have been many different policy and employment formats to follow. Anonymous Observer, comment #22 has it all wrong. Come to work with a victims attitude and you will become a victim. I believe you get from life, and work, what you give. Listen well and follow direction. Make suggestions for improvements through proper channels and don’t look for credit, praise or recognition unless it is appropriate or linked to your income. If you… Read more »

Colleague do most of those every day all day it is one or the other.

It’s so very important to realize early in your working career that you DO NOT HAVE FRIENDS AT WORK!!! End of story! You will eventually be devastated if you don’t have this mentality. Your Friends are the one’s you look forward to being with your co-workers are people you have to put up with to keep your job. Either way it’s the best advice that I give ALL of my employees! I quote “You can’t and don’t have friends at work” for those who don’t listen to me they always end up with severe disappointment.

Wow! You people would have a heart attack if you heard conversation in a restaurant kitchen.

Workplace friendships and conversations are so subjective that it is hard to make rules or blanket statements. One persons interesting conversation is another person’s poison. Some things are obvious. Do not discuss your opinion of a job unless you have a great job and want to say so. Don’t talk about much of anything at work that is not job related. Remember you are being paid to be there. Do a good job, do not talk about it. Or much of anything else. Rule one: if it is not work related , somebody IS going to hate your opinion no… Read more »
Annonoumous Observer
Almost anything you say with coworkers can be used in the future to destroy you by another co worker, or other coworkers that want to see you gone. Not just what you say but how you perform can be very tricky as well, if you just so happen to be very motivated and perform exceptionally well, watch out, there are those that feel threatened by your performance, and they may spread false rumours about you, and as in house toxic gossip goes will end up destroying your career, insecure coworkers are very crafty at destroying you and can find the… Read more »

This is the tip of the iceberg- swearing, talking about religion, talking about sex, be careful with what jokes you tell, other persons culture and so many more. It is wise to first observe your surroundings and to be polite until you have worked out what to say and what not to say.


Don’t tell people you vape or else every time you are looked for someone will always say your outside vaping

Oh My

Nice boobs!

Mel N.

No value add. If these surprise you, you shouldn’t be in the workforce.


Sexual orientation.

Med Student

This is the absolute stupidest article I’ve read all year.


Never tell them you have a cat or more than 1 cat. There are cat haters that will see you to the door. Believe it!

Gail Reese

“They don’t pay me enough to…..”


you can avoid all that nonsense by starting your own business


I can’t believe that religion was left off of this list. Religion and politics are my big no-nos.

Lou Anne

This advice is all relative and not helpful.


Never tell coworker’s anything personal. They will always be just a co-worker and will look for any opportunity to either make you look bad to make them stand out, so they think. Do not gossip either.


#5 often needs to be addressed but with a different approach. I’ve experienced coworkers and managers going around a difficult person ( in IT who was thought everything was user error).


Never a good idea to discuss your salary with fellow co-workers as well as bonus etc

Sharon Bourgeois

I would also add no discussions of hot-button social issues, like religion, abortion, the death penalty, etc.

John B

8. Don’t tell people what they can and can not say.

Ged noden

do not try to tell someone, there job if you are not qualified to do so, it can get you into a whole lot of trouble.

army vet

becareful about #5. Learn how to say NO at the right time or ypur abusive boss will keep piling his work on you without giving credit, proper title and proper pay. Time to stand up and unionize. Also #1 and #3 is also helpful if you need to push out a toxic boss and reform the toxic work environment

In England there is a thing called the speaking clock, where you call a phone number and get the exact time. One of my co-workers, who did as little as possible during the day anyway, always seemed to be on a call just before 5pm and the call would always miraculously end at 5pm. He would be talking away like he was on the phone with a client. One day one of the supervisors got curious, and looked at the phone monitoring computer. He was actually on an outgoing call to the speaking clock, so that he didn’t get stuck… Read more »

It depends on your work environment. In my office it’s just 4 of us and we talk about pretty much all of this with the exception of 5 and 7.

Mark Gifford

“So how much do you make?” and “do you like your job?”

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