Most of us work on teams in some form or another. We all have coworkers who, ideally, hold us in high regard — even if we're just doing a side gig to earn extra money.
But you can't get along great with everyone. There will invariably be a colleague or colleagues you don't mesh with. And recognizing those signs will help you navigate the workplace much better.
Colleagues don’t stop at your desk to chat
Obviously, this varies from office to office, and it may not really be a factor if you're a remote worker, but the spirit of the situation remains true.
If your coworkers stop by each other’s desks to chat but don't engage with you, that's a bad sign.
Chatter between coworkers is indicative of healthy interpersonal relationships. If you're the one being left out, it speaks volumes.
Colleagues downplay your work needs
We all tend to prioritize our own work, but sometimes it can unfairly handicap what our colleagues are trying to accomplish.
If your coworkers disregard your concerns and ignore or otherwise hamper what you're trying to accomplish, that's a strong sign they don't like you.
Coworkers don’t celebrate your successes
One of the best parts of being on a team is having colleagues share in your wins.
If there's a lack of congratulation or appreciation, a few factors could be at play. People might be jealous or uncertain that you even want to engage. One way to counter this is to invite your colleagues to celebrate with you.
Coworkers exclude you from group chats
This goes a bit further than not making small talk with you. If your colleagues frequently exclude you from group discussions, take it as a negative sign.
Indeed, the people you work with aren't obligated to share their lives with you, but you need to know about work-related matters, like team meetings and projects.
Coworkers steal ideas
Sure, some coworkers may be attention-seekers — they crave glory and praise from management.
However, if colleagues specifically target you to steal the limelight and give you zero credit, it might be because they're trying to undermine you. It also shows an alarming lack of respect.
Coworkers throw you under the bus
Things go wrong sometimes. It happens. A key part of being an adult and a professional is acknowledging when something is your fault, fixing it, and learning.
But if your colleagues are constantly blaming you, and only you, or scampering off to tell the boss about some wrong you may have committed, they might be trying to get you fired, which could put a damper on your plans to retire early.
Coworkers undercut you
Sometimes it is little things, like a coworker pointing out your mistakes in front of other people in the office.
Or maybe they interrupt or dismiss you in meetings. You can try to ignore it, but you might need to confront it directly or speak with a manager.
People avoid working with you
Collaboration plays a vital role in most careers. Even “solo” jobs like writing require teamwork between wordsmiths and editors.
So if your coworkers are bummed out when assigned a project with you, you should tackle the issue head-on. Tell them you want to keep things positive and professional, ask if you did something wrong, and get some clarity.
People are curt when they talk to you
Small talk and idle chatter are a normal part of office culture. And while not every conversation needs to be akin to Homer reciting “The Iliad,” if you only ever get one-word responses from a colleague, that's a red flag.
It can be nonverbal, too, like the lack of even cursory pleasantries in emails or no “Good afternoon” or “Thanks” in writing.
People spread rumors about you
Office gossip is unwelcome in all its forms and is considered childish and unprofessional.
Unfortunately, that does not stop it from rearing its ugly head in the workplace. If your coworkers are spreading rumors about you, that's a clear sign they don't like you.
Their body language is negative
People can tell you they dislike you without saying a word.
Here are some clues: lack of eye contact, no smiling, moving their body away from you in conversations, and so on.
If a coworker doesn't bother looking up from their computer while talking to you, that's a bad sign. As always, your best option is to stay positive and professional.
They don’t ask how you are
This one might seem to skirt the line between professional and personal, but it's worth keeping tabs on.
As normal as small talk and idle chit-chat are, so too is asking a colleague how their day is going or how their weekend was. If nobody shows any interest in your life, even in the most surface-level ways, that's a problem.
They encourage you to leave the job
It's one thing for friends in the office to share open positions at other companies if it's something you might be interested in, but quite another when it feels like they just want to get rid of you.
Pay attention to what their intentions might be.
You don’t get invited to anything
Colleagues who are friendly with one another tend to get together outside of the office. But if you consistently find yourself excluded from group lunches, happy hours, or even grabbing a cup of coffee, that indicates how your officemates feel about you.
Your gut tells you something is off
People are often told to go with their gut, and there's a good reason. Sometimes your gut “knows” things that your brain doesn't.
If your gut tells you that your relationships with coworkers are sour, it might be right.
Self-awareness is a crucial part of surviving office culture. Recognizing red flags from your coworkers can help you navigate the workplace better.
Trust your instincts and address issues directly. Doing so can foster a positive and productive work environment.
Of course, if it seems like there's no winning in your current situation, it might be time to find a new job that can boost your bank account and your feel ing of connection at work.
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