The Dismissive Avoidant Employee

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I am cool, calm, and collected.

I keep my emotions in check.

In general, I like my colleagues. They are more or less intelligent people. Are they smarter than me? I might keep quiet on this point.

That all said, I keep my distance. I don’t believe in creating close emotional bonds with people. Doing so at the workplace causes me much misery. What is the point of talking to people and asking them about their lives or telling them about mine? It is not like they will solve my problem or come through to help me when a need arises. Being intimate with colleagues or listening to them talk about their emotions chokes me.

Do I care if my colleagues like me? Not really. I don’t go to work to be liked. I am a self-starter who prefers working alone. I can keep working without receiving praise or encouragement. I am a bit like an AI machine – no frills are needed. As long I have my independence, I am at peace. Try to micromanage me, and I detonate.

Some of my juniors have complained that I have made their lives miserable. They crave reassurance in their lives. That is just so weak. Why do you need someone to tell you that you are good? I always feel like I am better than everybody else. Soothing someone and giving them emotional support – this is a skill I honestly don’t have. It is my kryptonite. It drains me and makes me feel very uncomfortable.

This is why I am your man when it comes to a crisis. You will get actions from me without any emotional baggage. I am decisive. I move with confidence.

I have been told I need to appreciate other people’s viewpoints more often. Show more empathy. I try, but it is not something that comes naturally to me.

My independent ways of working can irk some people who attempt to micromanage me. They think I need to be more capable of deciding what is essential. It is the worst way to work with me. If you want me to see your point of view, then argue with me. Debate. Don’t impose.

Do I want to open up to people at the workplace? Maybe. Everyone craves safe and secure relationships.

But is it achievable? I don’t know. At least, I haven’t personally experienced a relationship like that. In my entire lifetime.

Hence I keep my distance and go about doing my work. In my own way.

Food for thought: Have you managed to get an avoidant colleague to open up? What worked?

This post is authored by Tom H. If you would like to get in touch with Tom, please drop an email at

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