Sensitive and Lonely

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling left out: How can you get people to like you at work after being there for about one and a half years?

How can you get people to like you at work after being there for about one and a half years? It’s hard to talk in the environment we work in as it’s always heads down working. How can I stop being so sensitive and taking things too much to heart?

Signed, Want To Be Liked

Dear Want To Be Liked:

Good for you. You want to be liked and are not ashamed to admit it. Work is hard and it is especially hard when you don’t feel appreciated and have at least one or more coworkers you know are friends. You don’t say what kind of work you do, only that where you work “it’s always heads down.” Therefore, I assume that you are engaged in work that demands attention to what is before you and every second counts. If you have not been able to talk with coworkers after being there for a year and a half, should you give up?

Also you do disclose what prompts you to ask, “How can I stop being so sensitive and taking things too much to heart?” Perhaps you will have to accept the fact that where you work is not a friendly place and that you had best content yourself with having a job, especially in these tough times. Just for the moment might you admit that you are who you are–a quiet hard working soul determine to do solid work to earn what you are paid?

And no matter whether you have one, two or no friends, you can look in the mirror and say to yourself that you are a good responsible person. Next, decide to find your friends outside of work. Take yoga, join a fitness center, sing in a choir, a photography class, volunteer at a hospital or tutor a young person. You will find that makes the lonely feeling you have at work less important.

Is your question about being sensitive based on one incident in which someone said something unkind? If so, you must know that probably is not so much about you as about them. Or if there have been several times in which someone has behaved coolly to you, you have to review what might have provoked that. If there have been a series of times you have felt hurt, you must choose to either toughen up or confront the problem. How?

By soliciting advice of you boss or speaking privately and frankly to those who have treated you badly, such as: “Sam, I feel you are unhappy with me. Did I do something that has made your job difficult? If so, please know that I didn’t want to do that.” Then wait for what Sam says. Get specific about what you might do to prevent it from happening again if what he says is reasonable. If you could not have prevented what happened that troubled Sam, don’t obsess about it. Simply come to an understanding what you need from him and what he needs from you to do each other’s jobs.

I can’t give you a sure-fire charm formula. But there have been millions of words written to advise you about that. M many moons ago when I was in college, my instructor assigned an hour-long presentation for the final in an oral interpretation class. I chose to present the words of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. That meant memorizing much of the book. I make the maxims of that book come alive, such as “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive,” Become genuinely interested in other people,” “Smile,” “Remember that a man’s name is the sweetest sound in the English language,” and “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.”

I thought I had captured the secret to making friends and when I told my grandmother and loaned her my copy, she read it. A couple of weeks later, she said that the ideas in this book were something she had learned many years before when in Sunday School. She said she had learned the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” At work, that pretty much sums up all I know about making friends. Put your self in other shoes. Be what you want others to be to you. Don’t try to make friends; don’t be pushy or shy. Rather just be friendly and interested in those with whom you work.

Think about the big picture; what can make your little circle in this workplace a bit more pleasant. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. That might mean not taking things too seriously and not thinking too much about your self. Not thinking me, me, me; rather thinking we, we, we.Hopefully a few of these thoughts will let you know that you have at least one person cheering for you.

William Gorden