What to Do if Your Coworkers Don't Like You

If your coworkers don't like you and you don't know what to do, keep reading. In this article, we'll give you some useful guidelines.
What to Do if Your Coworkers Don't Like You
José Padilla

Written and verified by the psychologist José Padilla.

Last update: 12 January, 2023

Relationships are an important part of the development and progress of any company. However, as often happens in other areas of life, these can become tense. Moreover, the situation can affect the employee’s job performance and their sense of well-being and satisfaction.

You might be in this situation yourself, working in a place where no one seems to want you, and you have to tolerate contemptuous looks and whispers behind your back. Knowing that nobody likes you in your workplace is stressful. In this article, we’re going to give you some useful tips to help deal with this situation.

Why don’t your coworkers like you?

There could be many reasons why your coworkers don’t like you. One of them could be that you like to receive all the recognition for good teamwork. Perhaps you seek recognition from your superiors at the expense of others. In fact, if you act arrogantly and take credit for your peers’ work, it’ll be hard for them to like you.

Another reason why you may not be liked is if you maintain a negative attitude, and are constantly complaining. Indeed, if you turn your complaints into a constant pattern of negativity, you might completely ruin the work environment. This kind of atmosphere of pessimism and negativity will mean your co-workers will distance themselves from you so as not to be infected by your emotional state.

Another possible reason that they may not like you is that you might be passive-aggressive, aloof, or suspicious. Or perhaps irritable, quick-tempered, and moody. Maybe you constantly resist what you’re meant to do and adopt a passive attitude toward your work obligations. If you behave like this, it’ll be really difficult for your colleagues to like you.

On the other hand, they might not like you because you’re a gossip. Talking badly about your co-workers and divulging details of their private lives won’t endear them to you. You could also be disliked due to envy. Maybe they don’t like you because you have a privileged place in the company and they’re envious of your position and what you’ve achieved, deservedly or not.

Peers talking about self-disclosure

What to do if your coworkers don’t like you

Not feeling loved is an experience that can make you feel bad about yourself and affect your self-esteem. Next, we’ll give you several useful tips to deal with this situation. However, first, you need to identify if you’re promoting a negative attitude in your colleagues or if it’s only due to envy that you’re being rejected.

If your coworkers don’t like you for the way you behave, then you should take some time to think about what you’re doing wrong. If there’s someone who doesn’t reject you, you could ask them for their opinion. You can also keep the following recommendations in mind if you want to promote a better work environment.

  • Avoid gossiping about your co-workers’ lives.
  • Don’t speak ill of anyone.
  • Be respectful.
  • Collaborate without expecting any recognition.
  • Seek to improve the shortcomings that you notice in your workplace so that others benefit from your actions and notice your interest in them.
  • Be fair and give credit where credit is due.
  • Try to be willing to help. But be careful, it’s important that you don’t overstep any boundaries, or you could end up being taken advantage of.
  • Integrate with your co-workers.

You treat them well, but they still don’t like you

If you discover that you’re not doing anything to feed their rejection, you need to learn how to manage your emotions in the face of this situation, so they don’t affect you. Here are some useful tips.

1. Think about your peace of mind 

Now you know that you’re not doing anything to be disliked at work, it’s important that you learn to maintain your peace of mind and don’t let yourself be affected by the rejection of your colleagues. Try using this exercise proposed by Massimo Pigliucci and Gregory López.

  • Step 1 – Visualize a task that you probably have to deal with at work today that could be manipulated by your coworkers.
  • Step 2: Practice mentally. Tell yourself “I want to do this activity, but I also want to stay calm by accepting what’s happening.”
  • Step 3 – Imagine yourself being calm in the situation.

2. Ignore them

If you’ve tried to improve your relationships with your coworkers with no results, you should learn to ignore what’s happening. Accept that there are some things that you can’t change as they’re beyond your control.

The most sensible thing you can do is change the way you perceive, feel, and act. Paraphrasing Epictetus, keep in mind that it’s not the things or situations that are affecting you emotionally, it’s the way you interpret them.

3. Expect to meet difficult people

There’s a meditation exercise that Marcus Aurelius proposed in his Meditations that’ll help you deal with your coworkers. Pigliucci and Gregory (2019) propose carrying out his exercise in the following way:

  • Every morning, before you start your day, write down how you feel about meeting difficult co-workers. This will help you take the shock out of the situation should it happen.
  • Remind yourself that you’re trying to improve by focusing only on what’s up to you. So long as you’re doing your work to the best of your ability, it doesn’t matter that they don’t like you. It’s not your responsibility.
Woman writing in the office

4. Use difficult situations to help you grow

If you can’t change the situation or do anything to make your co-workers like you, learn to use that adversity to grow. When you’re in a bad situation, use it as an opportunity to cultivate virtue. For example, if they’re not nice to you, show them how they should behave. If they’re mean to you, teach them, with your behavior, how to be nice.

At the end of the day, think about how you could’ve behaved when your colleagues’ behavior was beginning to affect you emotionally. Reflect on how you reacted and what you felt and thought. Formulate new options to respond to these situations.

5. Focus on your work and go your own way

Feeling disliked at work can leave you feeling stuck and looking for reasons (“Why don’t they want me?”) or explanations (“They don’t want me because I’m incapable”). Make sure, when you want to make decisions, you refer to your own set of values.

Life goes on and you must do the same. Therefore, once you’ve accepted the situation and how you feel about it, focus on your own path. Learn from your experience and feelings so you can improve and grow.

Finally, remember that your own well-being always comes first. If your work situation becomes extremely complicated and it’s affecting you a great deal, both professionally and personally, you must consider other options to deal with the problem. If you can’t leave your job, asking for professional help will be an excellent option to help you deal with the situation.

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  • Herrando, C., & Constantinides, E. (2021). Emotional Contagion: A Brief Overview and Future Directions. Frontiers in psychology, 2881.
  • Pigliucci, M. y López, G. (2019). Mi cuaderno estoico. Ariel Editorial.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.