At some point in your career, you’ve probably felt disliked—or even hated—by someone at work. Maybe it was your boss, a co-worker, or someone in a different department you interacted with occasionally. Perhaps the person was trying to get you fired, make you look bad, or just cause you frustration and self-doubt. I could be that they don't like the way you look, sound or act? Maybe they think you "stole" their last UP or took the credit for an idea? Does this sound familiar? Is it happening to you now?
Whoever it was and whatever they did, this person made your work-life miserable…and that’s a serious problem for your career, your health, and all your other relationships. Recent medical studies from all over the world show that being around someone who negatively impacts you affects you physiologically as well as psychologically. These studies cite that everything from heart attacks to depression can result from an environment that’s toxic to you. Notice the key phrase "toxic to you." Even though the environment might not be toxic to others, it might be toxic to you.
So what can you do when you’re the target of someone’s dislike? In reality, no matter who hates you or what they’re doing to show it, you have three—and only three—options.
Option 1: Ignore It
You may be able to ignore the situation, especially if the person who hates you doesn’t work with you directly, interacts with you infrequently, and isn’t trying to get you in trouble. If the brunt of the problem consists of a few mean glances ion the sales floor or a cold shoulder in a Saturday morning sales meeting, then ignoring it could be the answer. Sometimes you just need to develop thicker skin.
However, if you have a gnawing feeling in your gut every time you see the person, that means you can’t ignore it. The feelings are taking their toll on you and will affect your health at some point. Remember, we’re social beings, so feeling hated is stressful. Any additional stress will negatively affect you in some way. Therefore, it’s time to look at option number two.
Option 2: Fix it
Yes, you can fix the situation. To do so, first realize your part in it. While most of us wouldn’t lie to a trusted friend, we lie to ourselves every day. Something pivotal happened that caused this person to hate you. Identify it. Perhaps you were hired from the outside over them…maybe you got the nicer office they wanted…perhaps the boss liked your marketing idea better…possibly you reacted to their constructive criticism in a negative way…or maybe you mistakenly took their can of soda from the break room refrigerator thinking it was yours. Look back over the course of your relationship with the person and pinpoint when the negativity started and your role in it.
Next, decide to have a much-needed "difficult conversation" with the person. Realize that if you don’t talk to the person, nothing will change. People are complex and we never know what they’re thinking unless we ask them. Sure, we often think we know what’s going on in someone else’s head, but in reality, we don’t. That’s why having this conversation is so important.
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