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How To Deal With Co-Workers That Don't Like You

What's the best way to deal with co-workers that dislike you?

To help you best deal with co-workers that dislike you, we asked people managers and business leaders this question for their best advice. From attempting to solve the problem privately to treating them like anyone else, there are several pieces of advice that may help you deal tactfully with co-workers that don’t like you.

Here are 12 ways to deal with co-workers that don’t like you:

  • Attempt To Solve The Problem Privately

  • Ask Them for a Favor

  • Confront The Issue

  • Find Out Where Your Belief is Coming From

  • Seek Support from Allies

  • Put Your Head Down and Focus on Work

  • Try Getting To Know Them Better

  • Build a Rapport With Them

  • Get Closer To Them Through Work

  • Maintain Courtesy and Respect

  • Avoid Taking Things Personally

  • Treat Them Like Anyone Else

Attempt To Solve The Problem Privately

First attempt to solve the problem professionally through a private discussion. The discussion should be limited to how you can put aside personal differences and effectively work together. Put the focus on the company you both work for, and leave personal issues at the door. If the situation escalates to a point where you cannot perform your job, or there is some sort of misconduct, a report to HR may be appropriate.

Robert Reder, Blythe Grace PLLC

Ask Them for a Favor

This seems counterintuitive, but asking for favors from someone (even if they don't like you) creates more positive feelings towards you. Asking favors makes the person being asked feel appreciated and needed, and they will likely think more highly of you afterwards.

Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds

Confront The Issue

The best way to deal with a co-worker that dislikes you is to confront them. There are two reasons why confronting them is the best way to deal with a co-worker that dislikes you. First of all, it is a mature way to settle the issue. It is better to deal with the issue than to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Secondly, confronting your co-worker lets them know that you are not a pushover. Even though you don’t want to disrupt the team, it is still important to put your foot down and make it known that you will not tolerate rudeness.

Saneem Ahearn, Colorescience

Find Out Where Your Belief is Coming From

Take note of all the facts that made you believe that your colleagues don't like you and separate the interpretations from the facts themselves. Once you have a list, seek factual support for the interpretation and cross out the situations that are not supported by facts. After completing this process, analyze the list: how many times did you actually see the indications that your colleagues did not like you? If you can be truthful about yourself, you will see that you were either prejudiced against them or it is high time you talked directly to them.

Magdalena Socha, PhotoAiD

Seek Support From Allies

Having allies at work can make your work experience more fulfilling. However, this does not mean that you and your allies need to gang up on the co-workers that dislike you. It just helps to have a support system to make you feel valued and appreciated despite working with others whose personalities may not be compatible with yours.

Nick Shackelford, Structured Agency

Put Your Head Down and Focus on Your Work

Don't let difficult coworkers be your problem. Focusing on the negative aspects and people of your workplace will not serve you well and will only drag you down. When a coworker dislikes you, putting your head down and getting your work done as best you can is the only path forward. If said coworker doesn't like you because you outperform them, then continue on the same path and don't get bogged down with unnecessary workplace drama.

Trey Ferro, Spot Pet Insurance

Try Getting To Know Them Better

Perhaps these co-workers think you do not like them for whatever reason, and it could all be a misunderstanding. Make conversation with them to show you are a nice person and see what happens. They may appreciate this, which could improve your relationship with them. If this strategy fails, at least you tried.

Drew Sherman, RPM

Build a Rapport With Them

Everyone has had moments where they have opened up to a co-worker and it backfired. Sometimes people just don't like the sound of your voice. Sometimes they may not have time for you. Or maybe you're competing for the same promotion as that person and they don't want you to get ahead. Whatever the reason, sometimes people just don't like you and that's okay!

The best way to deal with this is by being a friend. You can try building a rapport with them or making their work life easier by doing things for them without them asking - like bringing them a cup of coffee, running an errand for them, or offering help to complete an urgent task on their plate.

Alan Wilford, I Peep BXS

Get Closer To Them Through Work

A summary of one of Sun Tzu's most famous quotes is, "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." When you must deal with co-workers that dislike you, get close to them. This will be difficult at first, so start slow. Find ways to align your goals on projects, so that good results are dependent on cooperation. In addition, give them credit in company meetings often.

If your co-worker participated in a project with you, then highlight the parts that they did well. Do it publicly, in front of the entire company. Over time, their attitude will likely soften and they may return the favor. Be authentic about all of this, and be true in your intention to have a healthy relationship with your co-worker. You will need to be patient, as it could take months before you see a noticeable difference in your relationship. If at that point they continue to behave in a way that harms you, then it may be the case that the relationship cannot be repaired.

Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions

Maintain Courtesy and Respect

Maintaining a cordial and respectful relationship is best practice for dealing with co-workers that dislike you. Minimizing interactions is a reasonable idea, but don’t make too big a deal of avoiding this colleague. Part of maintaining respect is not only respecting them, but respecting yourself. Plus, respect in this relationship will require acknowledging that you two will need to work together on occasion so long as you’re working for the same employer. Regardless, minimize your interaction with unfriendly coworkers and keep your conversations simple and courteous.

New Melchizedec S, Expertrec

Avoid Taking Things Personally

Whether it’s due to a misunderstanding or simply a lack of interaction, you may find yourself witnessing bad blood at the workplace. If you notice that you are subject to any dislike at work, make sure to check in with yourself and remind yourself that it’s not personal. Oftentimes, if someone doesn’t like you, it could be due to their own projections or misconceptions. Unless this coworker is someone you care about, there’s nothing you need to do except bring your focus back to your work and remember why you’re there in the first place — to give your best and excel at your job.

Marc Roca, 4WD Life

Treat Them Like Anyone Else

If you suspect a coworker does not like you, simply treat them the same as you would treat any other colleague. It’s not worth your time to worry about who may or may not like you, and you have work to do. Knowing that you are a professional, do your job and behave with the same level of professionalism with which you treat your other colleagues. If your coworker continues to dislike you, it does not need to affect anything professionally. It’s even possible that by your example, your judgmental coworker will learn to be more accepting of others.

Drake Ballew, Practice Health

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