While some coworkers may have no qualms about letting you know they despise you, others will try to remain diplomatic and professional but hide those hard feelings.
“Most coworkers won't overtly show their disdain for you so as not to cause trouble or jeopardise their own careers,” says 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.” “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, 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 explains.
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.”
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Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “The Humor 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 favors 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 19 subtle signs 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 you're the only victim of these behaviors, it probably means they don't like you.
1. Your gut tells you they don't like you.
If you feel like your coworkers don't like you, it could just be in your head, but it could also be true. If they treat you differently than everyone else, you're probably not their favorite person. Trust your gut and continue looking for other signs if you have a strong feeling about this.
2. They don't smile when you're around.
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, something isn't right.
3. They can't maintain eye contact with you.
It's difficult to look someone straight in the eye when you don't like or respect them, says Taylor. If you notice your colleagues avoid eye contact while speaking with you, 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.
4. They avoid you.
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, those are good signs they're avoiding you.
5. They feed the rumor mill.
This is childish and unprofessional behavior, but it happens in workplaces all the time: Someone doesn't like you, so they spread rumors.
6. 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, says Taylor.
7. 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,” this may be a sign they're not a huge fan of you.
“If they sound like a moody teenager, then that's a pretty big red flag,” says Kerr.
8. They give off negative body language.
Whether it's a subtle eye roll, 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.
9. They never invite you to social events.
If you never make the cut for lunch, happy hour, or project meetings over coffee, your coworkers may be trying to send you a message.
10. They communicate with you primarily via email, even though you sit close by.
If your coworkers 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.
11. 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,” says Kerr.
12. 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 Kerr.
13. They don't ever include you in their office bantering or humour.
“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.
14. They steal credit for your ideas.
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, they may be trying to drive you out.
15. They assume unauthorised power.
Sometimes coworkers who want to muscle in on your position will play boss even when they have no authority, says Taylor.
16. They create cliques that are reminiscent of high school.
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, your colleagues probably don't like you very much.
17. There's a fundamental lack of trust.
If you're questioned excessively about your motives or your coworkers only dole out information on a need-to-know basis, they may be trying to sabotage your career, says Taylor.
18. They get defensive around you.
“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.
19. They never make you or your work a priority.
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 they do your colleagues', Kerr says.