How to Know When Someone Doesn’t like You at Work


Office politics are tricky to navigate. Amidst conflict, people try to keep attention away from themselves, and act only in a defensive manner. It may be relatively easy to know when someone doesn’t like you if they don’t mind making that fact known. In a professional environment however, people are more subdued in their expression of negative opinions about others. The danger in that fact for you is that you may not know who exactly does not like you at work. These people can cause damage to your reputation behind your back and stain any good work that you do for your employer.

It is critical to know when people don’t like you early on in the development of negative feelings towards you. Apart from them telling other people and the word traveling to you, you can use the following methods to diagnose just how much someone likes you – on a personal level – at work.

Both of these theories depend on what happens after a trigger which you are responsible in providing. An example of a trigger, is making an innocent mistake at work and seeing the way different people around you react to that mistake. When everything is going well with you doing everything that is asked of you, the people who don’t like you do not have an excuse to express their dislike towards you.

Once you give them a reason to express their dislike towards you, you will begin to know who is on your side and who is against you at work.

Small Mistakes, Big Reactions

People who don’t like you are more likely to overreact to the mistakes that you make. An easy way to test whether or not someone personally likes you is to make an innocent and easily fixable mistake in something that your subject cares about. If the mistake does not warrant the reaction that you receive from them, then you should be careful making other mistakes around them. Overreactions can stem into premature escalation of issues to your direct managers and a lack of forgiveness in the communication going back and forth between the two of you.

If you apologize for your mistakes and fix them quickly, people will recognize your effort and remorse. Should they be kind, they may even allow you to save face. If your effort in fixing your mistakes goes unrecognized and significant effort is made to get you in trouble, then you should be wary of the people who are attempting to maximize the importance of the mistakes you make.

Not Letting You Save Face

This somewhat has to do with the point above. If you make a mistake at work which is only known to you and the person of interest, gauge whether they’re willing to let you save face. If they are understanding and hold you in high regard upon discovery of issues, they will let you know of their existence before spreading the word to anyone else. People who communicate your mistakes to others quicker than needed, aren’t willing to let you safe face, and may be acting with malice as motivation.

People who like you at work will provide you with every opportunity to avoid getting in trouble. The people who strive to do the opposite do not care for the upkeep of your reputation, and communication with them should be handled with care. By analyzing who is motivated to get you in trouble, you’ll know which issues you should prioritize should they arise. You’ll know that should an issue affect those who have a tendency to exaggerate and escalate, it should be quickly mitigated. Take note of people who aim to ruin your reputation by not letting you save face and render them powerless before they use their power to get you in trouble.

These methods are not fool-proof, and sometimes your mistakes will warrant big reactions which need quick action to mitigate. However, if only specific people are reacting in a big way to your mistakes, then you need to further analyze to see if those people are operating with hidden motives. 

Book Recommendation:

Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work



Disclaimer of Opinion:
This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.