Today I’m going to talk about a bit of an unpleasant topic: What to do when your coworkers hate you.
There can be pretty much be only two reasons for this. The first is that you are a jerk and the second is that they are jerks. Fortunately something can be done in both situations.
In a situation where several or all of your coworkers seem to hate you, it’s unfortunately highly likely you are the jerk and deserve the hate. There are situations where this might not apply, especially if it’s a new job, so don’t get insulted just yet. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
No matter who’s at fault and what the reason is, it’s important to do your best to resolve the situation.
Hate is a very string negative feeling that we feel in all our body. It’s saps the energy and joy from both participants, the hater and the hated.
Even though hate is such a negative feeling, some people seem to get addicted to it. It’s a form of power you can use on other people. It gives you a sense of control.
When there’s something wrong in your own life or you have low self-esteem, hate can give an overwhelming sense of power. The unfortunate thing is that being hateful towards others is only going to leave people worse off, it’s never a solution to anything.
I’d like to point out that healthy aggression and defending yourself and your honor are not the same as hate. Feeling aggressive towards someone who is threatening you or your loved ones is only human and usually a healthy thing if you can keep your cool and asses the situation correctly.
But when you start hoping that bad things would happen to someone and feel bitter and envious of their success you are feeling actual hate. Add name-calling and trash talking behind back and you have the stereotypical hateful office place jerk.
The bad thing about hate and hateful people is that it can really kill other peoples work motivation and the general vibe of a work place. It’s contagious in a way.
So many times in a situation where you feel like your coworkers hate you, they are actually feeling like you hate them as well. And if you are honest with your self, you will probably recognize this is true.
This is because being the target of hate will pretty much raise your defenses and make you hate the hater. Most workplace drama is caused by situations like this.
It doesn’t matter which one started it, but everything said and done by the other counterpart will be interpreted with a negative vibe indefinitely or until something is done to resolve the situation.
So it might be you, it might be them, but it’s likely both.
Oh I almost forgot, there’s a third option. It’s all in your head!
How to determine if it’s you
If you feel like anywhere you go in your life you end up being picked on, bullied and trash talked I’m sorry to break it to you, it might be time to take a hard honest look in the mirror.
The unfortunate thing is that the people who go to this category will probably click on the back button of their browser right about now. Or they will skip to the next chapter since they know for absolutely certainty it can’t be them. They’re perfect after all.
On the other hand if you are going in your head right now thinking about everything you might have said or done to upset your coworkers you are likely not the one at fault.
You see the people who act like jerks are usually blind to their own shortcomings. That’s essentially what makes them jerks.
They usually lack the ability reflect on their behavior in different situations. For example, they might not realize someone felt they were being rude and got insulted. Then when the counterpart reacts by retaliation, the jerk (blind to his/hers own rude behavior) will feel bullied and the victim.
It’s essentially a deep lack of empathy that results in antisocial behavior. It usually goes hand in hand with feeling superior to others and always blaming others or the world for your problems.
So you are ready to do some intense self reflection and think about if maybe you have some fault in the fact all your colleagues seem to hate you?
I have a few questions for you. If you answer yes to most of them you should probably work on your social skills.
Do you point out other peoples mistakes when there’s no real need to?
Do you criticize other peoples appearance, behavior and actions?
Do you pass blame instead of owning up to your own mistakes?
Do you make negative assumptions about peoples motives and actions?
Do you gossip?
Do you enjoy it when someone else fails?
Do you feel envious when someone else succeeds?
Do you assume other people know how you feel without telling them?
Do you like having power over other people?
Do you think you are better than others?
Do you think the world revolves around you? (I know nobody thinks like this consciously, but many do subconsciously. It takes quite a bit of honest introspection to realize if you do too.)
Do you take others into consideration when making decisions?
These are clearly just the tip of the iceberg, but if you recognize yourself in most of those questions, it highly likely you are the reason your coworkers hate you.
Then again if any of those questions didn’t ring any bells, you are either a saint or fooling yourself. They are all very human things to do after all.
How to determine if it’s all in your head?
Depression and anxiety can make people think weird stuff. When you are depressed the whole world can seem to be against you. If you also suffer from social anxiety it can be very easy to misunderstand a social situation.
You might, for example, feel someone was being rude or hateful towards you when they didn’t say hi or make eye contact in the cafeteria. When in reality they just might be going through stuff in their head or maybe they have social anxiety as well.
Depression and anxiety puts a negative spin to everything and they make our world and life very self-centered. A depressed person cannot see that other people are not probably trying to bully them, they might even trying to be friendly or just ignoring them. The other person might not even register a situation the depressed person felt was threatening.
I know this might feel harsh if you are depressed, but it’s true.
So if you suspect you might have depression or some form of anxiety disorder, I wouldn’t make too hasty assumptions about colleagues hating you. It might literally be in your head. The only way to find out is to get your head together first.
Depression and anxiety are no jokes and they can really lower the quality of your life, so please act immediately if you think you might be suffering from them. Below are a few links to helpful resources that can help you determine if you might have depression or anxiety and where to get help.
Please talk to your doctor or health care provider before making any diagnoses or assumptions, this is serious stuff. It should go without saying, that I’m not offering any kind of medical advice here, but to make things clear: I’m not.
What to do if it’s you
So you have come to the conclusion your own behavior might be the reason your coworkers do not like you? And you kept reading this far? Congratulations! There is hope for you yet.
If you honestly think it’s not you, skip to the next chapter.
Like I stated before, real jerks never own up to their mistakes or see their own faults. If you are able to recognize bad behavior on your part the good news is you can fix it!
The bad news is it’s probably going to take some time and quite frankly it probably won’t be very enjoyable. But it’s worth it in the end because you will grow as a person and… well, you know… you stop being a jerk!
The first step to growing as a person is recognizing the problem. You have now recognized the main problem: your behavior towards other people needs work.
Next it’s time to zero in on the details. What it is exactly you do to trigger other peoples defenses?
The whole subject of self-improvement and personal growth is too wast to go into detail here but there is one book I would recommend to someone in your situation.
It’s the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Don’t let the name fool you, the book is not about not caring about other people. It’s quite the opposite. It can really help you recognize what’s important in life and what are your core values.
If you are constantly rude and selfish or otherwise difficult in other peoples eyes, your root values are probably rotten and selfish. It’s time to change them. So read the book and thank me later.
And no, the book is not going to fix you. You are going to have to do that. It just points you to the right direction.
What to do if it’s the others
So you gave it a good honest think through and you honestly think you are a decent person that shouldn’t be the cause of all this hate? And you are pretty sure you are not depressed? Great!
That leaves us with the third option that it’s actually the coworkers. There are many reasons this might be the case and in most of them you have nothing to do with it. You are just the collateral damage.
The main variable here is if you are new or have been with the company a longer time. If you are the new guy/gal, any frustrations within the work community are easy to take out on you. It’s not fair, but it happens.
If you’ve been with the company for some time already then the essential question is did things change recently? Were your coworkers hostile towards you before or did something happen, that made you the target. Maybe someone got laid off and some of your coworkers think it should have been you? You can try to find out the reason and get to the root of the cause.
Hostile things like racism are unfortunately still rampant in modern society so it’s also possible you are the target of a hate crime in action.
You have to accept that their behavior might never change and you have to make the decision if the job is worth being hated. In my opinion nothing is worth suffering daily hateful behavior.
If you decide it’s not worth it, it’s time to make an exit plan. No matter how bad the situation is, it’s never wise to leave with the doors banging. I know, they probably deserve it, but you have to realize you are the only one who will suffer if you piss off a former employer.
New employers will ask around and if you’ve been professional about your resignation the former employer would have to be pretty horrible and unprofessional to give a bad word about you. It does happen though, people can be real assholes.
Then again, if you tell your old coworkers and bosses to shove it and trash talk about the company, you can be sure they will give a bad word to your potential new employer. Even if they deserved it.
I hope this helped you solve why your coworkers might hate you. I hope you all the best in your situation. It’s not a good one, no matter who’s at fault.
Please check the resources I pointed out if you read this far. I really think they can help you.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. I promise to answer as fast as possible!