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A Realistic Approach to Dealing With People Who Don’t Like You

A couple of years ago, I worked with a co-worker who hated me. She talked negatively about me to other team members and challenged me openly on several occasions. The cherry on top? She told my boss she was better suited to be manager than I was.

Just because it stemmed from her frustrations with her own career, it didn’t make my experience any easier. I felt like I had to constantly defend myself, and my work had to compete with all of the negative attention.

Looking back now, though, I can see a silver lining. Her disdain toward me taught me five things about dealing with people who have it in for you:

1. Start With Yourself

It’s too easy to conclude that people don’t like you just because—without taking a look at yourself. Before deciding it has nothing to do with you, take a moment and consider if you’re doing things that could potentially be offensive or insensitive.

It could be something you’re aware of—like if you’re hyper-competitive and willing to step on others to get ahead. But it could also be habits you’re not attuned to, like finishing people’s sentences.

So, ask for feedback from someone you trust. Your boss or co-worker can provide perspective on how you’re coming across to others, and why you may not be received so well. This’ll give you an opportunity to adjust some of those behaviors, and then, revisit the relationships that may’ve gotten off to a rocky start. (I know it’s a tricky conversation to start, so here’s a template that’ll help you ask for honest feedback.

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