I have a coworker that questions my reasons behind every single decision I make and always tells me that he thinks I should do it differently.

Now don't get me wrong, he is a very smart guy, and we actually get along very well for the most part and I welcome questions/suggestions, because sometimes there is something I may have not thought of.

But the constant nature of this is starting to get a little annoying. It's literally every single thing I do, even if he isn't involved on the project at all, he questions my reasons or my logic. How do I politely go about asking him to just trust me on my decisions and reasons?

About us:

  • We joined office the same day
  • We have small office
  • We are in same position
  • How does he even know what your decisions are?
    – Socrates
    Nov 13, 2016 at 3:34
  • It's a very small office, so most people know what everyone is working on.
    – byp878709
    Nov 13, 2016 at 19:22
  • 1
    Does he review your work ?
    – Versatile
    Nov 14, 2016 at 17:44
  • 1
    Always WELCOME questions ! Be prepared to answer each question he asks, and his questioning will reduce the based on your confidence answer's correctness.
    – GC 13
    Mar 12, 2017 at 7:54

7 Answers 7


For some people, this is a way of being helpful or constructive, so you should ask him up front why he does this. After that, you may then be able to let them know you prefer other types of feedback or that you'll ask for constructive criticism when you feel it would benefit you.


It's not so much a matter of trusting you, it's a matter of leaving you alone and not interfering with what you are doing.

The principle is: If you are doing a job, and he is not your supervisor, then you decide how it is done, you take the blame if it goes wrong and the fame if it goes well, and it's not his job to interfere with it unless you are going to do something terribly bad ("don't plug these wires directly into a 220 Volt outlet" would be acceptable interference with your job).

He either doesn't realise that he is getting on your nerves, or he thinks he has the right to do so. That's what you have to change. He also doesn't seem to be very socially aware, so polite hints may not work (or he does it intentional, then polite hints will definitely not work).

If he says to you "You should do it this way", an answer is "Would you like to do it?" When he says "No, it's your job", you can then say "Exactly. So it's done the way that I want". Don't enter a discussion which way is better. It's done your way, because you are doing the work, you are deciding how it is done, and that's it.

There's a nice joke that might explain to him what he's doing wrong. A car mechanic was asked how much he charges. The answer: "$25 an hour. It's $35 if you watch. It's $45 if you give advice. And $55 an hour if you try to help".

  • 3
    Depending on the specific work, and also based on the OP's statement that sometimes there are aspects to the other person's advice that OP hasn't thought of, responding with "would you like to do it?" seems unnecessarily confrontational. Something along the lines of "is there something specific about how I'm doing this that might reasonably break something else?" (adjusted as appropriate for the field of work) may be more appropriate; it keeps the door open for constructive ideas, but at the same time narrows things down to actual or at least potential problems as opposed to merely opinions.
    – user
    Nov 12, 2016 at 18:58
  • You heard the guy is questioning everything. And 99.9% of the time, my coworkers do their job, and I do mine, and nobody looks over the other persons shoulder and gives their opinion. Until someone asks for help.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 14, 2016 at 17:10
  • @gnasher729 You make the assumption that his intentions are to usurp some sort of authority, when this may not be the case. It could be that they have noble, and friendly intentions, but their way of helping is misguided. Being confrontational isn't a good idea, just as drawing baseless assumptions isn't a good idea.
    – RankoChan
    Nov 15, 2016 at 17:38

You could address it directly the next time he does it:

I appreciate questions and suggestions but having this conversation this frequently is starting to impact my productivity. I'd appreciate it if you could step this back/not sweat the small stuff/stick to projects we're both on.

End that last sentence however you want. Those were suggestions but you should state whatever works for you.

If he keeps questioning too often and/or in circumstances where you've asked him to back off, don't engage.

  • We talked about doing this less often, remember?
  • I really need to get back to my work.

In cases where decisions were documented, you can just refer him to that resource. If he insists on making suggestions about what you should do instead:

I'll think about it.

And any variation thereof. I'm paraphrasing Captain Awkward because I can't find the exact quote: It's not a lie because you will think about it. For five seconds before you do what you were going to do anyway.

Go ahead and have the conversation when he has some useful feedback but don't be afraid to disengage when you don't have the time or it won't be a productive conversation.


I would phrase it as he could help you by stepping back a little.

I need to be able to make some mistakes to learn on my own- you aren't always going to be available.

I think you often have great input and perspective. I would appreciate it if I could still come to you when I need help.


Some people are like that, I exactly understand how you feel!

These type of people see work place as an Arena. An Arena that the can only be the winner if they have the last say. They feel good when people are following their commands, and they feel defeated when they are unable to convince..

However, these type of people are often has been having difficulties in their childhood. For example they had few siblings older than them that were constantly ordering him or her thus as the grow up they are seeking for opportunity to command. Or some of them are coming from a marginalized group of people in that society which is being treated like a second class citizens. (example they have different sexual orientation) and because of that they feel subordinated outside workplace, thus they are seeking for an opportunity to command and have the last say!

If I were you, I would invite him for a drink (outside workplace) and tell him that as much as you like they idea of being questioned everything you throw an idea, but this may be counter productive in the long run as it made you to be come to dependent on him.

Tell him, it is sometime better to commit a mistake, and learn from it. Instead of being corrected beforehand.


You don't owe this guy an explanation of your reasoning or your decisions. If you feel like explaining, go ahead. If you don't, just say something vague like "there are lots of pros and cons, but this is what I decided".

Be a little bit humble, and ready to listen. Your attitude should be "this is the way I'm leaning, but I don't claim omnipotence, and I'm happy to listen to other ideas".

Force him to properly explain his alternative ideas. Don't let him get away with "your idea is no good", make him suggest something he thinks is better, and ask him why he thinks it's better. You don't owe him any explanations, but he owes you some, if he's questioning how you're running your project.

If his idea (or some parts of it) are valuable, then you win. If you don't like his ideas, you can just say "that's interesting; thanks; I'll think about it". Make it clear (gently) that, while you're happy to listen to input, the final decision is yours, and you're not obligated to explain your reasoning to anyone except your manager.


"Thanks for your input. I appreciate every one of your comments, ideas and suggestions - seriously. However, the final responsibility for what I do is mine and as long as the accountability is mine, I get to choose which way I want to go."

And if you have as twisted a sense of humor as mine, you add "Don't worry, if I screw up and they're looking to take someone's head off - trust me, I'll solicit your advice on how to point fingers at you. I'll take the fame but not the blame" :)

  • 1
    @TonyK - the least you should do is READ the OP's post: "Now don't get me wrong, he is a very smart guy, and we actually get along very well for the most part and I welcome questions/suggestions cause sometimes there is something I may have not thought of." Nov 12, 2016 at 18:10
  • I do welcome ideas and suggestions, but its the constant questioning about what my reasons are for doing something the way I'm doing the work is just starting to get a little old.
    – byp878709
    Nov 12, 2016 at 19:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .