We all know the saying, haters are going to hate, right?
In our personal lives, it is easy 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 Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, said:
“Most co-workers won’t overtly show their disdain for you so as not to cause trouble or jeopardise their own careers. They may make life difficult for you, but they’ll 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, said Taylor, so you can spot them when they’re present and turn things around before it’s too late.
“Of course, it is impossible to be liked by everyone in the office,” she added.
But you should always strive to be sensitive to the needs of your fellow co-workers, 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 said. “Plus, when [we] have strong, healthy workplace relationships, you will be more effective and accomplished in your job.”
Here are 10 subtle signs that your co-workers secretly dislike you. But 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 so communicate.
Your gut tells you they don’t like you
If you feel like your co-workers 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 are probably not their favourite person. Trust your gut and continue looking for other signs if you have a strong feeling about this.
They avoid you
Writing for the Muse, Kat Boogard gave a striking example of the lengths someone might go to in order to escape the presence of a disliked co-worker: “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 co-workers 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.
They don’t acknowledge your presence
If your colleagues don’t say “good morning” when you arrive or “have a great night” on their way out, they may be telling you they don’t like you, said Ms Taylor.
They communicate with you primarily via email, even though you sit close by
If your co-workers don’t like you, they’ll probably try to limit their in-person communication with you. If you notice a shift toward more digital correspondence, that’s a sign.
They never ask about your personal life
If you notice that your colleagues speak with each other about their kids or hobbies, but never bring up these topics with you, they’re probably just not interested in hearing about your life, says Mr Kerr.
They never invite you to social events
If you never make the cut for lunch, happy hour or project meetings over coffee, your co-workers may be trying to send you a message.
They’re short with you
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,” said Mr Kerr.
Your gut tells you they don’t like you
If you feel like your co-workers 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.
They feed the rumour mill
This is childish and unprofessional behaviour, but it happens in workplaces all the time: someone doesn’t like you, so they spread rumours.
They constantly disagree with you
Continuously gunning down your ideas is a sign 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,” said Mr Kerr.