How to Deal With Coworkers Who Don’t Like You

Sadly, you can’t always choose the people with whom you work. So sometimes you get stuck working with a coworker who dislikes you.

Here’s how to deal with coworkers who don’t like you, as advised by experts.

Whether a coworker doesn’t like you or it is your perception that you are not liked by the coworker does not change the end result. That is, the work environment will be toxic.

You will view any further comments or actions by the coworker through the lens of hostile intentions as opposed to situational causes even if at times, it may only be your perception that they intended to harm you.

The end result is less well being and more toxicity in the work environment and undoubtedly the home environment as you take your spillover emotions home with you. It affects the bottom line, your productivity, and the productivity of the organization.

Remember not everyone has to like you. The goal is not to be liked. In fact, people who are focused on being liked, oftentimes, put the relationship ahead of solving the problem and getting their own needs met. Over time, they become bitter and unhappy as they lose self- respect, without being effective.

The goal is to ensure you remain productive and happy at home and at work despite the adversities that life throws your way, including hostile co-workers.

With that said, I would recommend the following when dealing with a co-worker who doesn’t like you:

Remind yourself that you are not there to be liked by everyone

If someone doesn’t like you, it is more about them and their unaddressed mental projections than it is about you. Even if it is about you, it does not matter.

Keep your work goals

Keep your eye on the end goal, which is to be both productive at work and happy and fulfilled at work and at home.

Be aware on how you interpret their behavior towards you

Become self-aware of how you may be interpreting all their behaviors through the lens of hostile or intrinsic attributions as opposed to situational causes. Did they hit against you in the hallway because the hallway is too narrow or because they intentionally intended to push you?

When you were met with their cold stare in the lunch room, was it because they had just been told by their boss that they had not performed as well as expected or because they have it in for you and they are not afraid to display it?

How you interpret someone’s motivations affects the conclusions you reach about them and their behavior towards you.

Assess the power dynamic and build leverage

Oftentimes when someone openly displays their dislike of us, it is because they perceive us to be less powerful than they are and they, therefore, think that they can.

Who has more leverage, you or them? If they have more leverage than you do, then you need to build power. For example, find powerful allies within the organization. This will help build leverage as you increase your perception of power in their eyes.

Build power through building your knowledge, level of competence at what you do, and fostering trust.

Knowledge and competence within the organization and gaining both the respect and trust of your boss and other co-workers will also undoubtedly tip the power equation in your favor and provide greater leverage when you ask for what you want. The more power you build, the less likely the coworker will act in a hostile manner towards you.

Be prepared and ready to act on your own power

Power is a potential. The expression of that power is assertive self-expression or advocacy for your own rights, without stepping on someone else’s toes.

Unpack how their behaviour is affecting you and your work

Make a list of each problematic behaviour by the co-worker. Next to each behaviour, write out your “power” behaviours to address them. A power behaviour must result in getting the other side to contract for a behavioural change. How do you do this?

  • Describe the problematic behavior to the unfriendly coworker.
    • Adopt a fact-based approach. Draw on objective facts. Objective facts are not up for debate. Your subjective interpretation of the facts would be.
    • Describe the problematic behavior Just the way it is. That is, don’t let your fear of how it is received affects the content of what you say. Chris Agrigs of the Harvard Business School has coined the term “easing-in” to refer to situations where we try to soften a message by delivering it through subtext. Do not soften the message.
    • Instead, be tactful with the tone and delivery of your message. That is, take out the emotional undertones. Take out the judgment and subjective language. Drop generalizations.
  • Express your feelings and thoughts about the problematic behavior using “I” statements, which are about you and not the other person.
  • Specify the behavioral change you are seeking. What is it that you want the other side to do or to stop doing.
  • Spell out the consequence, which is not intended to punish the other side, but only intended to meet your legitimate needs.
  • If they are not ready to contract for your behavioral change, be ready to execute your Plan B. Your Plan B again is not about punishing them, but standing up for what is right. For instance, as a consequence of last resort, when the coworker continues to behave badly, you will need to report them and their behavior to your boss or to the human resources department of your organization and be prepared to ask that they impose a consequence proportional to the bad behavior.

Be mindful of your toxic emotions

Toxic emotions can throw you off your game. Despite the co-worker’s bad behavior, you must remain self-aware.

Observe your negative emotions as they arise and choose constructive responses notwithstanding the way you feel. This requires a tremendous degree of mindful practice.

If you prepare ahead of your confrontation and take the above steps, your toxic emotions are less likely to take control of you as they arise. Don’t take attention away from their bad behavior by behaving badly yourself.

Related: How to Express Your Emotions

Set realistic boundaries

Power behaviours are about setting realistic boundaries for yourself and making sure it is understood where you draw the line and what the consequences are if others try to violate them.

Again, imbue your consequence with positive intentions. You do not mean to harm the other side. However, you protect yourself against harm by them. That is your legitimate right.

Rely on “Confidence Building Measures” or CBMs as appropriate

These are tokens of good faith that you extend based on what research calls “the law of reciprocity.” That is, your gesture of good faith is reciprocated in kind. You offer some help with their next project in the hope that they will equally return the favor.

Over time you build trust and slowly rebuild the relationship. Don’t extend them foolishly. Do so wisely and strategically as appropriate.

Terry B. McDougall, PCC, MBA

terry mcdougall

Executive & Career Coach | Author, “Winning the Game of Work”

It can be difficult and discouraging to work with people who don’t seem to like you, but it’s important to recognize that you are paid to do a job, not to be friends with the people you work with.

Here are a few tips to help when you work with people who don’t like you:

Consider whether it’s really true that the person doesn’t like you

Sometimes people are cranky or unfriendly for reasons other than them disliking you. Their attitude is up to them and the reason for it may stem from being in pain (physical or emotional), dislike of the work they do, difficult home situation, etc.

Try to maintain your equilibrium and respond neutrally back to them

When someone seems to respond negatively to you, try to maintain your equilibrium and respond neutrally back to them. You are in your role to do a job and it’s easiest to do your job if there’s not a lot of drama, so even if someone else is rude, try to ignore it and focus on what you need from them to do your job.

Remember that other people choose their responses and it’s actually not you who is causing them to respond in the way they do. Likewise, just because someone responds negatively to you, it doesn’t mean you need to respond in kind. You can choose your response as well.

It can sometimes be hard to stop the “tit-for-tat” pattern, but once you do you will recognize that there are myriad ways you can choose to respond — everything from “kill ‘em with kindness” to neutrality to silence.

I’ve found that sometimes when people seem not to like someone it’s actually a defense mechanism. Perhaps the person has been hurt by people in the past so they use a surly attitude to keep people far away, but when you “hang in there” and just treat them neutrally that they begin to realize there’s no threat there and will sometimes relax and become more friendly or at least less surly.

Spend some time to get to know them better

One more thing you can do if you aren’t getting along with a co-worker who you really need to work with is to ask them for coffee or lunch. Oftentimes, when we get outside the workplace and look at each other as human beings instead of the obstacles or impediments to getting my job done, we find commonalities that can be the foundation of a productive relationship.

The bottom line, recognize that you can only control yourself. If others choose to be surly, that’s their choice and it’s more about them than it is about you.

Think about what you can reasonably do differently, but don’t feel responsible for someone else’s behavior because that’s ultimately up to them.

Dr. Emily Hu, Ph.D.

Emily Hu

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Thrive Psychology Group, Inc.

It makes sense to start by trying to determine why your coworkers don’t like you

If you’re able to identify a clear and rational cause for their dislike—for instance, the boss is showing you favoritism, you’re consistently late on projects, or there’s untrue gossip going on about you—then you can take back control and take firm steps to clear up misunderstandings or work on areas of improvement.

Taking responsibility in this way will demonstrate to your coworkers that you are someone who is self-aware, committed, and dependable: all qualities that other people like in another person.

If the reason for your coworkers’ dislike is less clear, it’ll likely be a waste of time trying to determine the cause. People dislike others for so many reasons, and many of them don’t make any sense—racism, for instance, or jealousy or just a bad first impression that’s hard to shake.

Set boundaries, both with coworkers and yourself

Know when to stand up for yourself and when to walk away. Know who you can go to if things escalate. And, especially, know when it’s getting to be too much: when you worry over your coworkers’ perception of you is outweighing your ability to do good work.

If you’re finding that anxiety about your coworkers is taking up the majority of your day, getting in the way of meeting deadlines, and messing with your goals, it is probably time to consider a new job.

Maintaining social equilibrium is also helpful

If you’re not getting along with the people at work, see if you can balance that out by seeking or nurturing warm, supportive relationships at home.

This will help with overall stress and burnout, and your family or friends can also provide a safe space to vent about work or to ask for different perspectives on your interactions with your coworkers.

Kate Tudoreanu, MS

Kate Tudoreanu

Career Counselor, Millennial Career Counseling

Even though it would be very easy to react negatively to coworkers when they show their dislike for you through words and actions, it’s important not to show that. In fact, you can benefit from acting congenially.

Here are three suggestions for how to deal with a coworker who doesn’t like you:

Spend time in their presence

Instead of shying away from them or staying in your office or cubicle when they’re around, actually spend time in their presence. If you never interact with someone who dislikes you, it will reinforce their negative perceptions of you.

Refer to them by name in conversation

This should be done in moderation, so only use their name once or twice in an individual or group conversation. For example, you can simply say “Hi, John, how are you today?” or “I hope you have a nice weekend, Victoria.”

Using a person’s name when referring to them makes you sound more friendly.

If you feel comfortable enough, you can ask their opinion about a work-related matter

Maybe you have an idea for the next team project. Ask their opinion about it one-on-one. Then, at the group brainstorming session, you can highlight their contribution to the idea and say how you appreciated them taking the time to advise and provide valuable insights.

Most people enjoy being recognized for doing something positive. The potential side effect of this is it allows them to see you in a better light.

Lynell Ross

lynell ross

Certified Health and Wellness Coach | Behavior Change Specialist | Founder and Managing Editor, Zivadream

Provided that you are not an annoying or toxic person, there are a few things you can do with coworkers who don’t like you.

Don’t worry if people don’t like you

First, realize that not all people will like you. One common problem is that we all may have people in our lives who remind us of someone who perhaps hurt us, or caused us problems. If you remind your coworker of a toxic relative or someone who hurt them, they will probably see you in a bad light no matter what you do.

In this case, all you can do is be yourself, do your best job and be polite. Hopefully, in time, they will see you for you. If you are a good person focusing on work, then you are doing what you are supposed to do, setting a good example for others.

Leave politics and other divisive subjects alone

Another problem is that you could have opposing views on politics, how to do things at work, or any number of other behaviors that your coworker doesn’t approve of. Again, short of changing everything to please your workmate, all you can do is be cordial, and do your job.

Some people want to blame or find fault in others because it makes them feel better about themselves. If this is the case, spend as little time as possible in the presence of this person, and if you must be around them, do not take it personally. Do not take the bait if they try to hook you into an argument or debate.

Try a little kindness

Sometimes, coworkers are angry for a reason that isn’t work-related or related to you at all. They may be having a difficult time at home, getting a divorce, dealing with an aging parent or sick child, or are totally stressed out and are taking it out on you.

You can try talking with them and being kind. Ask them if there is something you have done to offend them, or simply offer to help.

Very often, people don’t really know you until you have a real conversation, and they may change their mind about how they see you. If not, you have done all you can do, and you will need to realize when it is time to “Let it go.”

Jann E. Freed, Ph.D.

Jann Freed

Professor of Business Management | Leadership Development and Change Management Consultant | Author, “Leading With Wisdom: Sage Advice From 100 Experts

How do you know they don’t like you? Too many times, we make assumptions that are not true. Misunderstandings happen because we think it is about us. In reality, most situations are not about you.

Address your coworker in an assertive way

But if you think there are issues, it is good to address them in an assertive way. The best way to be assertive is to follow these guidelines:

  • Have one-on-one conversations with each coworker.
  • Share your opinions and thoughts beginning with “I” statements. Such as: “I would like our relationship to be better. I feel you as if you don’t like me. What can I do to improve our relationship?”
  • Only have this conversation when you are not emotional—when you can use neutral and nonexplosive language.
  • Be prepared to share examples as to why you feel your coworkers do not like you. Be as specific as possible.
  • Listen carefully to the responses without showing much emotion.

Close the conversation by thanking the person for taking the time to talk about the situation

Based on the coworker’s comments, take the appropriate action. This may involve making changes in how you act or what you say. If you want them to like you, you have to be willing to listen to the feedback and determine if it merits you making changes.

If the coworker is honest, you may realize your assumption was incorrect and the person does like you. Regardless, the situation will not improve without more information. It is best to get information directly from the person.

This is an adult and professional way to handle the situation. If your coworkers don’t respond as adults, then you have done what you can do. Continue to act as a professional and try not to let them affect your productivity and satisfaction. It is their problem and try to not make it yours.

Sue Andrews

Sue Andrews

HR & Business Consultant, KIS Finance

Don’t try too hard

Going over the top to try to make someone like you just doesn’t work. You don’t need to be aloof with your colleague but just keep things on a professional basis and avoid unnecessary small talk or trying to engage them with humour.

The more you try to push a conversation the more likely they are to back off, so give them space and they may come around.

Be a good listener

It’s natural to want to engage a colleague in conversation if you’re trying to win them over but talking too much will probably only make them less likely to want to engage with you. However, if you ask them for their opinion on something and then really listen to their response, they may appreciate the chance to express their thoughts without be interrupted.

By demonstrating a genuine interest in what they have to say, you may find a way to connect with them.

Ask for help

Asking for help is another way to engage with a colleague who is less then friendly towards you. Choose a topic where you know they have some expertise and ask their advice, as most people will be happy to talk about a subject they feel knowledgeable about.

But keep the questions you ask quite simple, as you don’t want them to feel that you are trying to trip them up, you just want to give them the opportunity to show off in a small way and to kick start a dialogue with them.

Don’t be afraid to raise the matter formally if the issue is more serious

Of course, if your colleague is expressing their dislike of you in more obvious ways, that go beyond the odd comment or look, you may need to take some action to clear the air. Particularly if their attitude towards you is affecting your ability to concentrate on your job.

Choose a moment when you’re alone with your colleague and open the conversation with something simple, such as ‘I’m aware that there seems to be some tension between us, and I wondered if there was anything I can do to help us to work together better’.

You need to tread carefully to avoid making the situation worse but opening up the discussion in a non-confrontational way is a good way to start a dialogue and hopefully improve the situation.

However, if things don’t improve, or indeed escalate, then it’s time to call in reinforcements and discuss the situation with your manager. But this should always be the last resort as it can be difficult to repair a relationship with a colleague once you have gone down a more formal route.

Jill M. Sammak, LCSW, CPC

Jill Sammak

Leadership and Career Coach | Owner, Jill Sammak Coaching and Consulting, LLC

It may seem inconceivable that being liked isn’t important to everyone, yet it’s true. What do the people who don’t focus on being liked have figured out? They don’t outsource their value to the tastes and proclivities of others.

Not everyone is going to like us. We can show up the same way with ten different people, and those ten people will have different opinions. What stayed the same? We did. What changed? The audience.

Stay grounded in your own worth and resist the pull to feel threatened

If you work with someone who doesn’t like you, it’s not about how you deal with them. It’s about how you handle yourself. The most important thing you can do is to stay grounded in your own worth and resist the pull to feel threatened.

Humans are tribal in nature, so we can feel threatened if we are not included or accepted. When we hold onto our own value and sense of belonging, then we can resist being reactive. We can show up unflappable and in acceptance that being liked by everyone was never one of the job requirements.

Vikkie J.

Vikkie J

Certified Life Coach | Podcast Host | Personal Organizer

When dealing with coworkers who don’t like you, remember that there is common ground in the relationship. Both have tasks to complete, and the goal is to meet the company’s expectations while providing excellent job performance. These are my recommendations:

Before you start your day, be grateful that you have a job that can provide for yourself and others

Visualize having a productive day with all your coworkers, especially with that individual at work that makes simple things a little tricky than what they need to be. Remember that life is temporary, and no one should steal your peace of mind.

While at work, you must seek ways to enhance commonality and focus on the work

You can find many commonalities by listening to what this individual speaks about daily. Ask them for a recommendation for a new restaurant. Or ask them for advice for a place to explore and maybe ask them to learn more about their favorite hobby.

To minimize the focus of the unnecessary drama, maintain your attention on excellence instead of likability but always remain cordial, fair, and approachable. Keep all your communication with this coworker in writing to eliminate confusion and misunderstandings.

If this person brings the worst in you and enjoys the chaos, when having a face-to-face conversation, stay quiet for 20 seconds before responding to avoid playing into their schemes.

Finally, when responding to an email conversation that is getting heated, take a 5-minute walk before replying. Again, stay calm and collected.

After work, regardless of how your day was, be thankful

Congratulate yourself for doing your best, even if it was a crappy day and you have didn’t follow my suggestions.

Life is a precious gift, and you can only control how you feel and how you react; therefore, focus your energy on seeing the beauty in everything, including the ugly because tomorrow is a gift and having internal peace is more important.

Melissa Cadwallader, MBA, PHR

Melissa Cadwallader

HR Lead, Zen Business

It’s essential that you maintain a professional and respectful attitude

If you’re aware that you’ve done something to cause the offense of your co-workers, then you should attempt to set it right. Even if you aren’t sure what you’ve done, it would be best to maintain some emotional distance and not get drawn into the conflict.

It’s likely that your positive response will be noticed and that the co-worker’s perceptions will improve.

Related: What Does It Mean to Be Professional at Work?

It might well help to have a one-on-one chat with the co-worker

Such a conversation should provide the opportunity to find out why they haven’t taken a shine to you. You should try and remain calm and not let any negative emotions get the better of you, no matter how unfair you think your colleague is being.

Record your interactions

If the behaviour of the co-worker has a seriously negative effect on your mindset or performance then you should take a written record of any interaction.

You should also take the opportunity to speak with a manager or other company representative if you feel that you’re being mistreated.

Don’t give in to the temptation of spreading gossip or responding to abuse in kind, this will only weaken your case in the future if you need to create one.

Related: How to Deal with Coworkers Who Talk About You Behind Your Back

If necessary, attempt to make new working arrangements

A manager or senior HR representative may well be able to share tips that can be used for the improvement of your relationship. As a last-ditch resort, it might be necessary to make new working arrangements and minimize the amount of contact with your workplace nemesis.

It’s an unfortunate truth that not everybody will like you or value the contributions that you make. However, there’s a good chance that the issue doesn’t lie with you and that changes can be made to improve your workplace experience.

Daisy Jing

Daisy Jing

CEO and Founder, Banish

Coworkers who don’t like you are not your problem or your main agenda at work! You work to do the expected and required task daily, not to have relationships and have happy camaraderie as soon as you start working. That is just a bonus!

Expect less, focus on working hard more. It is when you have high expectations of people that you get frustrated when they do not please you or reach your expectations.

Never take things personally

You have to understand that there’s nothing wrong about you (unless you do something on purpose then you have to correct it and take action immediately).

Every “negative” comment is needed for you to grow and be a better person – be accountable for your own actions and mistakes. Then you’ll realize that you are actually learning new things and even building your own character instead of focusing on feelings and emotions that will just imprison you as you hold any grudge to a person.

Have a good perspective on things

Even when you feel like coworkers are ganging up on you and you feel alone at times, focus on the good things and stop overthinking.

See things as it is and ignore hearsays that do not concern your job. Understand your coworkers’ perspective and think about how they think.

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but you definitely need to work in harmony and peace – and that’s what you only need to focus on. Work as one and don’t take everything things personally.

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall

Civility and Etiquette Expert | Author, Media Source

Surprise, but not everyone is going to find you charming and likable. Do you find everyone you meet to be likable?

Assess your level of interaction with the concerned coworker

When a coworker whom you have minimal day-to-day interaction dislikes you, it’s manageable. Sticking to work-related topics for those few minutes is easy.

But what if you are paired with a coworker to work on a project, or you work side by side with them every day? If not managed or dealt with, you are both in for a very unpleasant and stressful work environment.

Ask for a feedback from a trusted peer

Obviously, if you have learned about why your coworker finds you unlikable, run it by a trusted peer or manager for feedback on how to, or whether to address this coworker. Take it in and decide for yourself. If it is something you did or said, great; this is tangible, something concrete that you can clarify and apologize for.

However, if after you’ve racked your brain and come up empty, there are options that you can take to try to mend this disagreeable situation.

  • Greet them as you do everyone else. Whether they respond or not. This could take time.
  • Include them in the group conversation. You may be ignored (childish, but…). Don’t react.
  • Privately, invite them for coffee or for a walk outside during a break. Tell them in advance that you’d like to talk—no surprises. Start with something like, “I feel that there’s something disagreeable between us. Is it something that I said or did?” Never point fingers.
  • If all fails, choose to be civil and professional when you interact with them. And chalk it up to “that’s life.”

Shradha Kumari

Shradha Kumari

HR Manager, Survey Sensum

There are certain steps which an individual should follow to deal with co-workers who don’t like to work with them.

Be available

We cannot expect the disrespectful behaviour of an employee to get change overnight. Let your co-workers know that they can come and speak to you in future about any issues they face.

The feeling of getting heard can help an individual employee to earn some respect and trust of their co-workers.

Be firm and accept it

The best thing an individual can do to deal with their co-workers is by respecting their decisions and being polite to them. This would find ways to collaborate together on work projects without heated arguments.

Showing support to co-workers helps employers to avoid uncomfortable tensions in the work environment.

Take a step back

Employees don’t like someone else to interfere in their professional or personal life. They look for flexibility in work and hate interference every time.

Employers should not springer immediately into action. They should step back and give them some time to analyze and realize the situation on their own. Giving proper space and a gap for some time can help co-workers to like their colleagues present in the office.

Avoiding unbiased reviews

Try to be vigilant when you are dealing with the person who doesn’t like you. Biasness should be avoided during the evaluation and compensation process.

Employers should ask for frank feedback from their co-workers. Listen carefully to what they suggest and what complaints they are having. Implement the possible suggestions provided by co-workers. This would build trust between teams. And the organizations will also gain respect in terms of employee care.

Petra Odak

Petra Odak

Chief Marketing Officer, Better Proposals

Realize that not everyone has to like you

It’s actually pretty easy – I realized that not everyone has to like you. It will never happen that everyone likes you or even respects you, so there’s no need to think about it.

I took a good look at the people I know disliked me and asked myself: does it matter if these people like me or not? Will this help me do my job better? Will I be happier at work if I know that they like me or not?

In the end, I realized that being liked does not impact my work at all and does not make me any happier on a personal level, so I stopped thinking about it.

I decided to follow something called “5 by 5 rule”. It goes like this: if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes thinking about it. That way, I saved myself a ton of time on conflicts at work and I realized that not everyone has to like me.

In the end, it doesn’t matter at all for my personal development and it definitely won’t make me do a better job. Perhaps most importantly, the people that dislike me were never people who were higher in the chain of command – so no worries.

Andrea Paul, M.D.

Andrea Paul

Founder, Health Media Experts

Ask them for a small favor

It is a weird trick but asking them for a favor works. By doing so, you both interact, and their negative feelings of dislike can start to fade away.

Remember not ask something too big otherwise; they may consider it an insult. You can ask for some books they read, etc.. In return, show your thankful attitude, after, during, and before possessing that book.

By doing so, you will be able to create a relationship of mutual trust and respect with them.

Gift them something relevant to their interests

If you want to fade away from negative feelings, you have to take the opposite move. You could give them something relevant to their interest. Keep your body language, tone, and words too kind while giving them.

This approach would trigger the positive feelings in them toward you, and the power of negative emotions would get lower or even eliminated gradually.

Shannon Walker


President, Whistleblower Security

If a co-worker doesn’t like you, it can make things rather uncomfortable, whether you’re in the office or working remotely. Employees need to understand that there are always multiple options for dealing with such a precarious situation.

Employees shouldn’t be afraid to confront them in a one on one setting

Send them an email explaining your concerns and arrange a time where you can get together, either in person or over the phone, to discuss the problem.. Even going for a walk, and talking about the situation is sometimes a great way to air grievances or have uncomfortable discussions.

If no solution is found, or you would simply prefer to take another route, go to your team’s leader. An office leader is one who can drive values and culture as a whole within the organization. If they’re aware of such ongoing problems, there’s a good chance they will be able to figure out an optimal outcome for both parties.

Ultimately, you can’t make someone like you. However, continuing to conduct yourself professionally towards the person, in an ethical manner that doesn’t challenge the organization’s culture and values will help facilitate a more positive working environment.

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey

President, WikiLawn

Make sure they really don’t like you

This is always a difficult thing to navigate. In my experience, the first thing you need to do is make sure these coworkers genuinely don’t like you.

Sometimes we can be paranoid, focusing on ourselves and our insecurities and projecting our feelings onto others. I’ve seen this happen before and have done it myself in the past.

Examine your behavior

If your coworkers truly don’t like you, it’s time to examine your behavior. Do this critically, even if it’s hard to be honest with yourself. Some people are hard to work with. They aren’t team players, and as a result, coworkers find it difficult to work with them. If you’re one of these people, it can help to look into improving this aspect of yourself.

If they don’t like you for a reason beyond your control, and their dislike is affecting your work, it’s likely time to speak to HR, or at least to your manager.

Shari Smith

Shari Smith

Business Coach | Founder, Shari-Sells

Before I became a business owner myself, I have experienced working in a traditional office environment and dealt with a number of colleagues.

As they say, you cannot please everyone whether you are being nice or not. I had some who became my friends instantly while there are those who really cannot find any reason to jive with me.

Fortunately, I learned these two effective ways on how to deal with these coworkers who do not like me:

Do not try to win him or her over

Instead of trying to create a conversation to make things clear with these coworkers, it might be more peaceful if you just take a step back.

I believe that when a person does not like you, they will always be inclined to see the fault in you. However, never take actions that would complicate your daily tasks and have the same level of respect that you would want to receive from them in a civil way.

But if they are making your tasks and career more difficult, then it is the right time to make an appropriate approach.

If it is not damaging your mental health, just ignore the negative situation

When you let everything that your hateful coworker affects you then you are letting them be the bigger person and defeat you. Instead of fighting back with the same bad actions, always show them good and be nice to them.

Maintain your professionalism and let it make them feel awkward about their own way of treating you.

Jus Chall

Jus Chall

Brand Strategist, Skein

When you work at an office, what is your main goal? Getting things done and getting paid, right? We have the same answer, however, we cannot be working without getting along with everybody in the office.

Being a team player at all costs is the best trait you can offer in the workplace. However, if one of your coworkers doesn’t like you what do you do? Here’s what I did when I was faced with the same dilemma:

You cannot please everybody

This is very true. You and everyone around you have different personalities that can jive but there are also people who may turn against you because of who you are.

Be positive and go on with your day, because at the end of the day, it all boils down to the saying: “You cannot please everybody.”

Be smart and positive

One or two people in the office may have something against you that you really can’t pinpoint. Observe and be mindful of your actions around them. Be positive and avoid any negativity in the workplace. Surround yourself with the people who like to be with you.

Behave like an adult

If you come across negative people, behave like an adult. If the person who does not like you cannot be talked to in a one on one setting and you feel like you are deprived of respect, talk to someone who can help you with that coworker. Ask your immediate supervisor for advice. You cannot fix it yourself.

Bury the hatchet

If everything is okay and going well with your coworker, you might as well bury the hatchet and move on. Do not linger on past issues and begin to work hand in hand to avoid stress in the workplace.

Stefan Smulders

Stefan Smulders

Founder, Expandi

If you have coworkers that don’t like you, use it to your advantage. It means that you don’t have to pretend to be friendly or chit chat in the office just to pass the time.

Treat them as colleagues only and focus just on your work relationship with them

That way, you will think about work only and getting things done efficiently and quickly so that your interactions with them can be reduced to a minimum.

In other words, do your job so that you don’t have to communicate with them at all. Even though it may seem tough, it’s a blessing in disguise that can make you much more productive.

For example, in one of my first jobs, I always wanted my boss to like me so I went out of my way to be careful how I communicate, how well I do the tasks that he assigned me personally and what kind of an impression I would leave on his friends and business partners.

Once I realized that he didn’t really like me, I just focused on finding shortcuts for myself. I wanted to get the job done well and on time and spend very little time racking my brains how to be nice in every situation.

As a result, I was more efficient, he had less to complain about and everyone else was impressed by my work.

Karl Armstrong

Karl Armstrong

Founder, EpicWin App

  • Ignore the antics. Their goal is to see you fail, so don’t allow that to happen. Be tougher. Stay grounded, and don’t let them ruin you.
  • Kill them with kindness. Offer help. Let them know that you are just a few steps away if they need help. Always be the bigger person.
  • Speak less and do more. Focus on developing your career. Strive and achieve goals that will contribute to your career growth. Save all your energy in improving yourself instead of comparing yourself to those people who don’t even like you.

Vickie Pierre

Vickie Pierre

Writer and Researcher,

When I first graduated from college and was looking to join the workforce, a friend of the family shared an interesting piece of advice: “Keep a long fuse and a short memory.”

I didn’t really understand what he meant back then, but after spending more than 15 years in the workforce encountering many different personalities, it makes complete sense.

Do your best to remain focused on your job

When it comes to working with people who don’t like you, I believe the most important thing you can do is to avoid being overcome by anger or frustration. Rather, do your best to remain focused on the task at hand — your job.

It will always be tempting to invest your emotional energy in being annoyed with or feeling slighted by this coworker. It will also be tempting to share your frustrations with others (which can, at times, lead to more harm than good).

But I have found that the more you can set aside your differences and encourage working collaboratively with those who may not like you, therefore fostering a sense of teamwork within the business, you will have far less time to worry about opposing personalities and more time to achieve your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I build rapport with coworkers who have different backgrounds or cultures?

Building rapport with coworkers from different backgrounds or cultures requires an open-minded and empathetic approach. One of the most effective strategies is to take the time to learn about their cultures, traditions, and perspectives.

Ask questions, show interest, and be respectful of their beliefs and practices. This helps build trust and understanding and creates an inclusive and welcoming work environment.

Also, try to find common ground with your coworkers by focusing on shared interests and experiences. This can help break down cultural barriers and create a sense of camaraderie and connection.

Participating in team-building activities or social events can be a great way to bond with coworkers from different backgrounds and cultures.

Another strategy is to be mindful of your communication style and adapt it to the needs of your coworkers. For example, if you’re working with someone whose native language isn’t English, you should try to speak more slowly and clearly and avoid idioms or complex language. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments to your behavior or communication style. Recognize that cultural differences can lead to different communication styles or norms in the workplace, and be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of your coworkers.

You can build strong and meaningful relationships with coworkers from different backgrounds and cultures by approaching the situation with empathy and open-mindedness.

How can I communicate effectively with coworkers with different communication styles?

Communicating with coworkers who have different communication styles can be challenging, but there are some strategies you can use to make the process more manageable.

One of the most effective strategies is to be flexible and adaptable. This means being willing to adjust your communication style to meet the needs of the person you’re working with.

For example, if you’re working with someone who prefers detailed explanations, take the time to provide them with the necessary information.

Active listening is also essential in communicating effectively with coworkers who have different communication styles. Take the time to listen to what they have to say, ask clarifying questions, and repeat back what you heard to ensure that you understood them correctly.

Also, be mindful of your nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice, as these can convey a different meaning and emotion than your words.

Finally, setting clear expectations when communicating with your coworkers is important. This means you need to set expectations around the frequency of communication, preferred methods of communication, and response time. Setting these expectations early can avoid misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.

How can I handle gossip and rumors spread by coworkers who don’t like me?

Gossip and rumors can be hurtful and damaging to your reputation, especially when spread by coworkers who don’t like you.

The first step is to try to ignore the rumors and not let them get to you. It’s important that you don’t engage in drama or fuel the fire by responding or retaliating. However, if the rumors are affecting your work or causing you emotional distress, it’s important to address them.

Consider speaking to the person or people spreading the rumors and calmly explaining how their behavior is affecting you. If that doesn’t work, talk to a manager or HR representative and let them know what is happening. They can take appropriate action to resolve the situation and prevent further harm.

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