Does My Co-worker Dislike Me?

Question:

I have a co-worker that I regularly communicate with, but since she’s been promoted she’s changed. I can’t help but to feel now that she doesn’t like talking to me. I can just sense it. She used to laugh and communicate back but now only talks to me using one or few words. So, does it mean she no longer likes me? If so I would be more than happy to leave her alone. If she didn’t like me, why did she invite me to her bridal shower?

Signed,

If so, so what?


Answer:

Dear If so, so what?:

None of us is happy when we think someone dislikes us, especially when it is someone with whom we shared our thoughts and feelings. You attribute your formerly conversational co-worker’s reticence to the fact that she was promoted. Yet you wonder if now she dislikes you, and if so, why then did she invite you to her bridal shower.

Of course from this distance, I cannot know if she dislikes you and/or if her brief replies to you attempts to converse with her are because she thinks that she should not be more friendly with one co-worker than another. If you have not done something to offend her, her new role is more likely the reason she doesn’t chat freely as she did before than that she dislikes you. After all if she really disliked you, would she have invited you to her bridal shower? So what might you do? What are your options? · You can obsess with this feeling of being disliked. Tell your friends and other co-workers that apparently your former friendly co-worker dislikes you??? Is this a wise option? Definitely No. · Find a time that is private when you might frankly tell her that you miss the friendly communication you had when she was a co-worker and ask how she feels about speaking with you now? Ask if she prefers for you not to start a conversation since she has been promoted? Is this a good option? Possibly this is something you might do. Talking about how to talk since her role and responsibilities have changed is a way to clarify the discomfort you feel. Such a conversation might help you understand the reasons she is brief in her replies to you. When one’s role changes in the work place, sometimes we need to set forth new boundaries and rules about how best to communicate.

· Don’t approach her as you did before, but continue to greet your promoted co-worker as you do others in your work group with a cheery hello and a short comment such as, “Hello Brenda, I hope you have a good day.” Or if you feel like clowning about the weather, “Did you see the reindeer? I almost hit one on the way to work.” Don’t expect for her to respond in a conversation. Other than a greeting, simply go about your work and don’t initiate conversation with her unless you must speak to her about an assignment. This option implies you have “read” and learned from her brief replies that your roles have changed and you will not expect her to chat with you. That you understand that and you can accept that.

Can you think of any other options? If not, don’t pine over the way it was, but focus on being a person who is accepting; one who sees life like water that isn’t yours but can roll off your back, one who knows that when you try to squeeze it you lose it. Water is nourishing to life and something we best appreciate when we do not fight it. Is it possible for you not to worry about being liked? Is it possible for you rather than wanting people to like you to be the kind of person who is excited with life? Is it possible to focus on what you might do to make others look good? Is it possible for you to have a life full of wonder about the mysteries of the universe? Is it possible for you to commit yourself to those unfortunate in here and now than about whether people like you? Is it possible for you to focus on doing your job and to helping make co-workers jobs easier and more effective? Is it possible to be friendly but not too friendly to your promoted co-worker? These possibilities that are yours.

The answer to your feeling disliked is within you, and I’m sure you can find what is sensible, possible and appropriate in new ways of relating to you former co-worker. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden