Ask the Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all of your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I recently stumbled on this article of “signs your coworkers secretly hate you,” and the unease I’ve been feeling at work finally clicked. I realised that I’m the person my coworkers don’t like.
I’ve been in the same office for two years. There are about 10 women in their late 20s/early 30s and we all work collaboratively with outside clients.
For the first year or so, I loved being a part of the office. My coworkers kept me in the know and we did things like potlucks and happy hours together. Personal and professional lines tend to blur, and the owner of our business is just as involved in the social scene as everyone else, meaning I don’t feel comfortable going to her.
I’ve noticed in the past year no one will make eye contact with me and they will talk about the fun times they had that weekend without including me. They also leave me out of important meetings and projects. At my reviews, my feedback is good, and I even got a raise. But I can’t shake the feeling everyone hates me.
I’m really stumped as to how this happened and spend hours analysing why. I’m the only girl with a husband, so maybe they just figure I’m at a different place in my life and don’t want to invite me? I feel sick with dread at the thought of going to work. I’m afraid confronting everyone will make them like me even less.
Secretly Hated By My Coworkers
Dear Secretly Hated:
I’m sorry this has been your experience at work. It’s a horrible feeling to face glares, exclusion, and silence, and have no idea what you did.
First, you need to stop making yourself sick analysing the reasons. It’s impossible to know why this happened. Maybe there’s a bully who decided she didn’t like you, and lobbied for everyone to exclude you. Or it’s possible you had too much to drink and made a comment that rubbed people the wrong way. You could speculate all day and probably never know the real reason.
Your best bet at this point is to start looking for a new job. There’s no reason to stay in this toxic environment. Start exploring your options now.
And to stay sane until you get out, keep things as brusque and professional as possible. In the past, I have tried harder with people who obviously don’t like me, and it only seemed to intensify their disdain. Don’t bring up any personal topics with your coworkers. Keep your necessary correspondence short and to the point. Don’t show them weakness or give them room to criticise you.
When you get a new job, consider limiting the amount of time you spend socialising with coworkers. Focusing on friends, family, and hobbies instead will make you feel more happy and secure. If you keep your work relationships professional, it reduces the chance you’ll end up in this situation again.
Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all of your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to [email protected] for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.
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