I work in a small team, this guy had recently joined, like a month ago and I love to teach/mentor and my manager sees me enjoying and good at it, the colleague is of my age but he smirks a lot e.g. If I want to confirm something that he ask, he smirks in a taunting way.

I try to ignore it but today we ran into a problem where I had to make quick changes to code to fix a broken image, while I was during the fix quick (for not getting CEO's attention of broken image), my colleague constantly smirked in a taunting way. Which distracted me because after my manager I see things and know in and out

While I was doing the fix, he was constantly smirking and asked me what went wrong, when I told him, he smirked again like a way to say "how foolish of u". Later when I was leaving, he smirked in a way which really really offended me and felt like "ur gonna get fired looser".

In the evening I was so upset that I had an accident today when I bashed my car into another car.

I can tell my manager in 121 but it will like whining. so I want to address it myself but do not know how? I help him countless time for his naive mistake and don't smirk but he is like a silent bully with a smirk.

I have noticed his constant chatting and smirking has affected my work pace.

  • 12
    Are you reading way to much into it perhaps? It might be worth looking at ways to deal with your anxiety. People will make facial expressions, it's natural. It doesn't mean that there's malicious intent.
    – ChrisFNZ
    Sep 19 '19 at 22:08
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    Perhaps he means nothing by it? Some people just have a smarmy way about them. Sep 19 '19 at 22:13
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    Without wanting to be too harsh here, you seem to have a problem with an unspecified employee on your floor, a sales agent and your coworker. There comes at point at which it's not the other people's fault any more. Sep 19 '19 at 22:36
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    This might sound harsh but I think you might have a bit of a victim mentality. I would recommend some counselling or other professional guidance.
    – ChrisFNZ
    Sep 19 '19 at 22:51
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    If he looks like that all of the time maybe that's just the way he looks. Additionally, and I mean no offense, you sound a bit too sensitive. The work place is full of different types and personalities of people. You need to be able to navigate the work place without letting every smirk upset your equilibrium.
    – joeqwerty
    Sep 19 '19 at 23:29

It's certainly possible that you are reading the situation correctly, your colleague is intentionally being highly offensive to you, and you need to stand up for yourself. Based on your question history, though, I would tend to suspect that it's a cultural miscommunication or the result of some other source of stress.

Yesterday, you thought you were being personally mocked because of a cultural miscommunication. Earlier, you were worried about a spy. Before that, you were receiving comments from coworkers because you were accidentally being rude again due to a miscommunication. Mixed in to that, it sounds like your company recently had layoffs and your aunt died leaving someone in your custody. That, combined with the fact that an interaction that lasted a relatively short time (not sure what a quick fix is to you but I assume a few minutes) lead you to be so upset that you crashed your car, which is a hugely outsized reaction, leads me to believe there is a good chance that you're not reading your colleague's intentions correctly.

If you are reading your colleague correctly and he really was enjoying your mistake, that's terrible. But I would question whether there was potentially another cultural miscommunication taking place. You said that your probation period is almost ending so I assume you haven't been there more than a few months. Your colleague joined a month ago and is the same age so you have maybe 2 months more experience than he does. And you say that you've been mentoring him which is an odd thing for someone with only fractionally more experience to be doing. Is there any possibility that something you're doing accidentally, like the finger pointing from the prior question, combined with this odd dynamic has lead your colleague to feel like you're constantly condescending to him? If so, that doesn't excuse taking joy in your bug but it might explain it.

Is there someone at work that you trust that you can talk to about some of these issues to check your interpretation and to help you navigate the local culture effectively? It's obviously very difficult for random folks on the internet to understand interpersonal interactions we can't see. I would hope a friend at work or a professional counselor could help you navigate the personal and professional issues you're facing effectively.


The problem with someone else's face and expressions is that it is their face and expressions, and there is nothing you can or should do to change that. Some people have what is called "resting bitch face" but that doesn't mean that they are always angry, it just means their face is their face. Your co-worker appears to have what you interpret as as a smirk, and it may be one, or it may just be their face.

The only thing you can change is yourself, and your reactions to that.

One way to do that is to not take it so personally. Pretend that their expression has nothing to do with you (as is so often the case anyway). When you should be working, don't look at them, and thus, you can avoid seeing their smirks. You don't really know if his smirk means "how foolish of u" or "I think I have gas and need to contain it", so don't try to interpret his face based on how you are feeling.

In addition, he may be reacting to your reactions to his face. You're acting what appears to him to be agitated, he asks you what is wrong, and you see the smirk. But what started the miscommunication? If he is taunting you, then he did. But if it's just his face, then your reactions to him are the starting point. Since you can't change the past, all you can do is move forward, telling yourself that it is just his face.

If you are confident in your work, then don't be so easily swayed by how you THINK someone else is reacting, especially if the reaction is a facial expression. Instead, just be polite and professional, and let him smirk all he wants. Because it's his face and not your problem.

If he really is mocking you, but your work is good and your reactions are professional, your co-workers and managers will not consider you the problem.