There are times in your life where you will meet someone who does not like you.
Their reasoning may be logical and fair…
Perhaps you did something to harm them or maybe they were hurt by an indirect action you’re not aware of.
Or it might be totally unreasonable…
Sometimes people just think or believe things for no reason, because emotion isn’t often logical. People can have personality clashes where they just can’t see one another eye-to-eye.
You can try to cut those people out of your life, but what if you can’t?
They may be a spouse of a family member or a coworker that you need to work closely with.
In those scenarios, you’ll want to have the skills to navigate the situation without making it worse than it needs to be.
How do you deal with the people that don’t like you?
1. Acknowledge that everyone is a critic.
People like things. People don’t like things.
People love to be critical of anyone that does a particular thing, oftentimes out of envy that they aren’t the one who is able to do it.
Sometimes people hate just to be able to hate on something.
They may be a miserable person who is looking to find fault elsewhere to avoid dealing with their own negative feelings.
They could also be someone who is lashing out as they struggle to find control in their own life.
There are a lot of reasons why a person may dislike you.
The problem may be something that you weren’t responsible for at all…
You and your coworker both apply for the same position, you get the position, and they get angry about it. That’s nothing you did directly. You’re allowed to pursue a better wage, life, and progress for yourself, but they may still be angry with you about it.
It’s much easier to be a hater than a positive contributor. It really doesn’t take much effort for a negative person to be negative or hostile to those around them. On the other hand, it takes a lot of effort to be positive when things aren’t going to so well.
However, not every critic is a hater. Constructive criticism, even if it’s not delivered in the most compassionate of ways, is necessary for improvement. Sometimes you can find pearls of wisdom buried in their feelings and words to you.
Don’t pour too much emotional investment into either positive or negative perceptions of you.
Everyone will have a different point of view and not all of them are valid. Even the positive ones.
2. Make an honest assessment of the situation.
Sometimes a person dislikes another person for no reason. It happens.
But there is a good chance that there is a reason.
Actually, there might be many reasons that a person doesn’t like you.
And some are definitely more valid than others.
Take some time to assess the situation, the other person’s behavior, and why they might not like you.
The reason may be obvious. A coworker might be jealous if you have differing views on an important project and your boss sides with you.
Their feelings might be hurt and they have no way to really channel that in a socially acceptable way in the work place. That can devolve to passive-aggressiveness or even aggressive-aggressiveness.
Can you identify why the person doesn’t like you?
If not, is there an unbiased, honest party that you trust who you can ask about the situation?
You might be doing something insensitive or offensive that damages other peoples’ perceptions of you.
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3. Acknowledge that you don’t have to get along with everyone in the world.
Perhaps you’re not doing anything that others would consider offensive or insensitive.
It may just be that the two of you don’t mix – like oil and water.
Some people you click with, some people you don’t. It’s not your job to convince everyone in the world to like you.
All you really have to do is find a way to peacefully coexist with the people that you don’t get along with if you need to be close to one another.
You may not be able to avoid a coworker that you don’t get along with, but you can keep the work relationship professional by acting with courteousness and respect.
That may be difficult if it’s a matter of clashing personalities. People with strong personalities can end up in conflict if they cannot find a comfortable middle ground to operate from.
4. Minimize contact and don’t engage in petty conflicts.
The person you don’t get along with may try to throw hostility at you. Avoid throwing it back at them, no matter how justified it may be.
This may appear to be contrary to the common advice of always standing up for yourself, but standing up for yourself doesn’t mean you should throw yourself into an unwinnable conflict either.
You may end up fighting with that person, throwing away bits of your emotional energy, peace, and happiness.
And for what? To do it all over again tomorrow.
It’s just not worth it in many cases.
By refusing to engage and respond with your own negativity, you are stripping them of power in the conflict.
That coworker may try to goad you into doing or saying something that can get you disciplined or fired. They may go to management and say that you’re causing a hostile workplace for them.
And then you’ll have to prove yourself. What if you can’t? Do you want to be goaded into losing a job or relationship? Of course not!
If you have to work with this person, stay on target with whatever the job is and get it done as efficiently as possible. Then you can get away from that person and move on to something else.
This might mean yielding some ground on how a joint task is done. They might want to do things their way – a way that is different to yours.
Ask yourself whether you can bend this time in an effort to reduce tension – assuming that their way is not detrimental to the result of the task.
Of course, the only option you might have is to just minimize contact with the person to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
And if you do reach a point where a clash with the person is inevitable, do carefully consider the environment and the potential repercussions if you do.
It might be better to address the issue with a third person. At work, this should be your boss or line manager. They can mediate the disagreement and their presence might make the two of you calmer and less like to display your anger.
5. Release your anger and frustration.
The worst thing you can do with not being liked is dwell on it.
It’s something that needs to be pushed out of mind when you’re not actively engaged in dealing with it, otherwise it will cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety.
You don’t want to live your life dreading interactions with a person that doesn’t like you and that you can’t avoid.
Don’t let them have free room and board in your head.
They don’t deserve it.
Do whatever it takes to get those thoughts out of your head. Ground yourself in the moment and focus on whatever activity needs to be done. It will help pull your mind away from dwelling on the dealings you had with that person.
6. Spend more time with the people that love and care about you.
The easiest way to cancel out a negative person is to surround yourself with positive, loving people who care about you.
That positive energy will help to counteract the stress and frustration that comes from dealing with a negative person.
And if you happen to be in a place where you don’t have those kinds of circles, focus on building some.
Don’t throw away valuable time and emotional energy on those negative interactions. Get through them when you must and move on to things that are more worthwhile.
Life is too short to play pointless games with petty people.