Every morning you arrive to work, you say “good morning” to your co-worker, but she doesn’t respond. You try to shrug it off, but her behavior lingers in your mind. When you finally muster the nerve to confront her, she says she doesn’t have a problem with you. But after that, she does the same thing, speaking to you only when it’s work-related. There are many possibilities as to why your co-worker is shunning you.
When It’s You and Not Them:
1. You’re a know-it-all. You’re Einstein incarnate. You think you know more than everyone else, and you take pleasure in pointing out your co-workers’ mistakes. You’re a nightmare to work with, especially in a team setting, where everyone’s voice should be heard. You dismiss others’ opinions and ideas, regarding only your own. No team member likes a tyrant.
2. You’re a liar. You know it was you who forgot to lock the filing cabinet after using it. And you know it was you who gave your co-worker the wrong instructions. But you won’t admit it, not even if your colleagues put a machete to your throat.
3. You’re a braggart. You live in a more prestigious area and drive a nicer car than your co-workers, and you’re not modest about it. You spend a good portion of your days in the office flaunting your pricey smartphone and MacBook Air.
4. You’re a suck-up. Your goal is to be the boss’ pet. As you indulge in flattery and false praises, your co-workers can spot your opportunistic antics a mile away. They don’t trust you, because they know you’ll do anything to get a promotion.
5. You’re offensive, intentionally or unintentionally. You said or did something hurtful, consciously or unconsciously. You might have made a sarcastic comment about your co-worker’s hair or clothing. Even if you viewed it as a harmless attempt at dry humor, they took it personally.
When It’s Them and Not You:
1. They want what you have. They resent you for everything you have and all that you are. Whether it’s your material assets, your winning personality or your happy family, they wish they had it.
2. They think you’ll take their job. You’re getting awards and lots of verbal compliments in the workplace. If they’re above you in rank, you could take their job any day soon. They’re losing sleep over this.
3. They’re mad at the world. The world is an abomination to them. Everything about it and everyone in it pisses them off, including you.
4. They’re oversensitive. They view the simplest, most innocent remark that you utter as an attack. Like that time when Eva brought a homemade cake to work and offered you a slice, which you politely refused. Because she’s hypersensitive, she took your rejection to heart.
5. They have a personal problem. They have a loved one who is chronically ill, they’re getting evicted, they have health problems, they’re unsuccessfully trying to kick a drug habit, or they hate their job. You think their standoffish demeanor means they have a problem with you, but in reality, it has nothing to do with you.
If you’re the problem, try to be more self-aware and sensitive to your co-workers’ feelings. If they’re the problem, you can try to tactfully bring the matter to their attention. But keep in mind that you cannot change their behavior, only how you react to it.