What to do if you're being ostracized

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 9:00am

Capital Health This Week asked Michael Vallis of the Behaviour Change Institute for some specifics people can do if they’re feeling ostracized. Here’s what he said:

“The latest initiative on creating a respectful workplace* here at Capital Health names three simple “rules” or guidelines to keep in mind. I see them as helping anyone facing a disrespectful situation including ostracism.

“In essence the guidelines say:

  • Notice (respect and disrespect, mine and others),
  • Act (with courage), and
  • Seek Support.

“So I would say if you’re facing ostracism don't ignore it - this is the “notice” part. Second, seek support - talk about it with someone safe so others don't ignore it. And then, with support and courage, act.”

Within the respectful workplace initiative, one of the recommendations for taking action is asking a question that lets the other person know the impact of their behaviour. Such a question could be:

  • “Are you aware that I feel uncomfortable when you exclude me?” (Use a specific example of when you felt excluded.)
  • “Do you know that I am upset because you ignored me when I spoke?”
  • “Are you aware that when you left me out of that gathering, I felt disrespected?”

To find out more about what supports are available to you at Capital Health, please call Sherida Flemming at 473-2313.

*A respectful workplace initiative was piloted at Hants Community Hospital this summer and is staring at Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital in November. It will come to each Capital Health site over time.