Most of us take our jobs pretty seriously—we devote our time, energy, and skills to making sure that we handle all of our responsibilities to the very best of our abilities and we work hard to aim for success. After all, the average person spends a huge chunk of their life at work, so it stands to reason that we’d want to make it time well spent.
That said, is doing your job well the only metric of professional success and happiness? Not for most of us. The truth is, we’re social creatures and our workplaces are full of countless social interactions—some work-related and others less so—throughout each day. Therefore, it stands to reason that how we’re perceived by our colleagues and whether or not we think we’re liked (or disliked) by those around us factors in heavily when we form our overall sense of professional contentment.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to any of us—we tend to be happier in environments where we think we’re well-liked by those around us and vice versa. It’s also a significant factor in terms of job performance and career growth. Those of us who are well-liked at work typically have more opportunities to take on new challenges and responsibilities, work collaboratively on new projects, and be considered for expanded job roles and promotions.
So, not only does being liked at work make us happier, but it also has an effect on our career growth. Hopefully, by now you’re convinced of its importance. But are you sure that you know what your coworkers really think of you? After all, the workplace typically puts us on our best and most polite behavior, so if your coworkers don’t like you it may not be as readily apparent as it would be in other social situations. Thankfully, there are signs that you can look for to help you figure out if your coworkers dislike you. Consider the following red flags—if you find your coworkers exhibiting these signs, then you may want to think about making some changes.
This red flag gets at the heart of human behavior and psychology—we tend to gravitate towards and interact more with people we like and do our best to avoid and dismiss those we don’t like. Do you find your coworkers avoiding you whenever possible at work? Are interactions, when they do occur, typically kept as brief as possible? Do people ignore your thoughts and ideas, even when they’re helpful and would lead to great results? If so, then you may have a problem on your hands, and some work to do in order to turn things around.
Little to no eye contact
Sure, sometimes avoiding eye contact is just a sign of nervousness or anxiety, which is not atypical at work, but sometimes it means something else entirely. It’s common for people to minimize eye contact with people they don’t like—after all, interacting with people whose presence we don’t enjoy kicks up a lot of negative feelings, so minimizing points of contact is an effective way to reduce this as much as possible. It’s also a good way to try and keep interactions short and quick.
The next time you’re at work take note of the level and quality of eye contact you’re making with your colleagues. If it seems as if they’re looking at everything and everyone except you, then that may be a sign that you have a likeability issue to deal with.
Most of us have had experiences in the office that have resulted in heated exchanges—especially when the stakes are high and people who are serious and passionate about their work are involved. That said, do you find yourself in more heated confrontations with coworkers than normal, particularly in situations that don’t really warrant it? Do interactions with coworkers often go down a negative path? Do you find your coworkers more patient, flexible, and agreeable with others than with you? These may all be signs that you’re coworkers may dislike you, and it’s in your best interest to try and improve the situation.
How do your coworkers feel about you? The real answer may or may not be as obvious as you think. Use the 3 red flags presented here to help you get at the truth.