Haters gonna hate, right?
In our personal lives, it’s easier to dismiss people who don’t like us. But at work, being widely disliked can pose a larger problem.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” says:
“Most coworkers won’t overtly show their disdain for you so as not to cause trouble or jeopardize their own careers. They may make life difficult for you, but they will probably try to stay under the radar. Still, there are subtle red flags that they’re not out for your best interests.”
You’ll want to know those signs, says Taylor, so you can spot them when they’re present and turn things around before it’s too late.
“Of course, it’s impossible to be liked by everyone in the office,” she says.
But you should always strive to be sensitive to the needs of your fellow coworkers, remain upbeat and friendly, communicate openly, and give colleagues the benefit of the doubt.
“Those who do this have a far brighter career future,” she says. “Plus, when [we] have strong, healthy workplace relationships, you will be more effective and accomplished in your job.”
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “The Humour Advantage,” agrees.
“When your coworkers like you, everything becomes easier,” he says. “People have your back when you need it the most, you can ask for and get favours more easily, people will volunteer to help in times of need, and you can get far better cooperation even across departments.”
Being well-liked will boost your morale, which in turn will make you more productive, focused, creative, and successful in everything you do, he says.
Here are 22 subtle signs that your coworkers secretly hate you. Keep in mind that you may just be misreading their body language or tone — the workplace is certainly not immune to human misunderstanding and no one’s a mind reader.
But if you notice that you’re the only victim of these behaviours, then it probably means that they don’t like you.
If you feel like your coworkers don't like you, then it could just be in your head, but it could also be true. If they treat you differently than everyone else, then you're probably not their favourite person. Trust your gut and continue looking for other signs if you have a strong feeling about this.
These coworkers could just be 'glory hogs,' says Taylor.
But if they go out of their way to steal the limelight from you and only you, then they may be trying to drive you out.
It's difficult to look someone straight in the eye when you don't like or respect them, says Taylor. If you notice that your colleagues avoid eye contact while speaking with you, then those are probably the reasons.
'They're afraid that you may be able to detect hostility, so the path of least resistance is for them to look away or avoid being around you wherever possible,' Taylor suggests.
Alternatively, a prolongued, intense stare can also be a sign of rudeness, aggression, or hostility, CNN reports.
Whether or not someone avoids your gaze or gives you a hostile glare depends on their personality and whether or not they're comfortable with coming across as aggressive.
Then again, it's possible that the starer is just awkward or zoning out.
We're not talking about the occasional bad day or mood swing. If your coworkers make a conscious effort not to smile when you're in the room, then something isn't right.
If you ask 'How's it going?' and they always respond with 'OK' or 'Fine' -- or if their emails always get straight to the point and never begin with a friendly 'Hello' or 'Good afternoon' -- then this may be a sign that they're not a huge fan of yours.
'If they sound like a moody teenager, then that's a pretty big red flag,' says Kerr.
'Joking around is a key way that relationships become cemented in any workplace, and not inviting you into the inner circle of bantering is a sign your coworkers may not feel comfortable around you enough to think of you as 'one of the team,'' says Kerr.
Writing for the Muse, Kat Boogard gives quite a striking example of the lengths someone might go to in order to escape the presence of a disliked coworker: 'When it's just the two of you waiting for an elevator, he decides to walk down the stairs -- all 14 flights.'
If you notice that your coworkers take the stairs when they see you waiting for the elevator, or they wait until you return from the break room before they head in, then those are good signs that they're avoiding you.
This is childish and unprofessional behaviour, but it happens in workplaces all the time: Someone doesn't like you, so they spread rumours.
Sometimes coworkers who want to muscle in on your position will play boss even when they have no authority, says Taylor.
If your colleagues don't say 'Good morning' when you arrive or 'Have a great night' on their way out, then they may be telling you that they don't like you, says Taylor.
If you never make the cut for lunch, happy hour, or project meetings over coffee, then your coworkers may be trying to send you a message.
Whether it's a subtle eye roll or constantly assuming a closed-off position with arms folded across their chest, or they don't look up from their computer screen when you enter their office, your coworkers' body language will often reveal their true feelings toward you, Kerr says.
'If they often and immediately get defensive around you, it could indicate that there's a lack of trust, and possibly deeper dislike,' says Kerr.
If your coworkers don't like you, then they will probably try to limit their in-person communication with you. If you notice a shift toward more digital correspondence, then that's a sign.
Continuously gunning down your ideas is a sign that they don't like you.
'If it feels like someone shoots down every thought before you've even finished a sentence, then it's often because their dislike is so strong that they are biased against anything you suggest, even when it's a great idea,' says Kerr.
If you feel like you're in a scene from the movie 'Mean Girls' and you're not invited to hang out or sit with any of the office cliques, then your colleagues probably don't like you very much.
If you notice that your colleagues speak with each other about their kids or hobbies, but never bring up these topics with you, then they're probably just not interested in hearing about your life, says Kerr.
Another big sign your coworkers despise you: They never make your concerns or problems a priority, and they don't treat your work with the same level of urgency that they do your colleagues', Kerr says.
Do your coworkers throw you under the bus when something goes wrong? Do they tattle on you for saying or doing something against company policy? Do they run to tell your boss any time you make a mistake?
Then they're probably trying to get you fired.
If throwing you under the bus doesn't do the trick, then your coworkers may try other tactics for getting rid of you.
If they start sending you job postings at other companies, offer to put you in touch with contacts elsewhere, or tell you that they think you'd be 'happier' or 'more successful' in another environment -- when you're perfectly happy and thriving where you are -- then it's probably not because they're concerned about your well-being.
Chances are, they just don't like you and want you gone.
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