I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Like You!

Posted on April 7, 2014 by Katherine Razzi

workplace-bullyingI am tired of admitting it, but yes, I’m sensitive. After thinking about it some more, I think I’m pretty normal though. I’m kinesthetic and that’s a good thing in my opinion. Sometimes, I’m surprised I let slide by a lot of what people say and do. However, sometimes I reach a plateau and say, “Hey, I’m not taking that ___ anymore.” So what’s going on?

Invariably working with human beings in the workplace, we have to take into consideration personality types. In behavioral science we study personality traits or at least we learn to how to assess them. One of the books I like to refer to is the Keirsey-Bates’ book, Please Understand Me. There’s a website http://www.keirsey.com/.

A few years ago at TNS, we took a personality test as part of a training session for the whole office in order to understand how to deal with each other. It was very interesting to see who was who – kind of like discovering each other’s horoscope. Knowing a person’s personality trait helped a little to understand how they tick and how they view certain situations. Too bad the exercise was short-lived.

There are some folks that no matter how hard I try to make them like me as the extroverted, animated, A-type personality I am, they just can’t warm up to me. Just when I’m vain enough to think they are jealous, I realize it’s probably nothing of the kind. They truly just don’t like me or it’s the notorious “personality clash.”

As my mother would say, “You’re not at work to win a popularity contest.” Sadly, I realize that’s all too true. You can’t make everyone like you. So, I do my best to be cordial to those I sense dislike me and shy away from getting personal. You may ask, “How do you know for sure someone doesn’t like you?”

Someone who doesn’t like you, might say or show these signs:

  • They roll their eyes when you say something – sometimes anything.
  • Without knowing it, they narrow their eyes when you approach or ask them questions.
  • They dismiss your opinions often.
  • They do not include you in group activities they know you would excel at.
  • They make fun of or embarrass you in front of other group members.
  • When you ask them questions, they seem put out, or make you feel nervous for asking.
  • They find subtle ways to insult you.
  • You discover they talk behind your back – often.

The word “often” is the key here because I feel we all take turns saying the wrong thing or misspeak once in a while. Sometimes we can be mad at someone for 24 hours, but certainly not longer than 3 months. When these feelings linger, and you’re uncomfortable when dealing with this person – even if you are just talking about the weather, you can feel the tension, and want to run away from them.

In their defense, they may not really realize they are upsetting you by the things they say… or don’t say. It really could just be “bad chemistry,” thus the personality clash.

Outside the workplace, it’s easy just to tell someone adios if they rub you the wrong way. But at the workplace, you have to deal with them. What are your options?

  1. Talk to them one on one and air out your feelings. You might be surprised to discover it’s not you, it’s them.
  2. Talk to your immediate and ask to discuss the matter in person, all 3 of you together.
  3. If the personality clash is really bad, ask for a transfer to a different department – Do you really want to quit a company due to someone disliking you? Sure, you’re fed up, but these are unpleasant times economically everywhere. Don’t let “small” people get the best of you.
  4. I am not a sage, just another human in the workforce, but I believe sometimes you can fight back in very subtle ways. You can give someone a taste of his/her own medicine, but I caution there could be repercussions if you do not use psychology wisely. This is really a delicate play because you don’t want to stoop to immature levels if you’re dealing with ignorance.

I know there is a lot of talk lately about bullying. Bullying is a crime that infringes a human’s basic rights, or if you will, a person’s psyche as well as physical being. Some of the worst bullying is psychological. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” isn’t true. Sticks and stones may my break my bones, but names will last forever.

Not all bullies are the loud, raucous type. Some are in fact, soft-spoken, quite subtle and sneaky about it. In my bullet points of knowing when someone doesn’t like you, which I listed earlier, are all bullying tactics whether the person is conscious of them or not.

How do you handle personality clashes and bullying in the workplace?

 

 

About Katherine Razzi

Katherine Razzi hails from the Midwest and holds a B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from National-Louis University, Evanston Campus. Coursework in cultural diversity, management, organizational dynamics, morals and ethics, group interaction, and psychology.

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