Do you walk into the kitchen and the chatter turns into complete silence with people scuffling passed you to get out? Does Susan (your cubicle mate) roll her eyes every time you speak up in a meeting? Do your coworkers sneak off for lunch together (hoping you didn’t notice) because they just don’t want to invite you?
If so, it’s pretty obvious that they hate you — or at least dislike you (after all, “hate” is a strong word)! And while you might think you’re the perfect colleague, you could be committing some serious work etiquette crimes without even knowing it.
The best way to turn things around is to identify any behaviors that might be irritating your coworkers. And if you can relate to any of the reasons listed below, you’re in need of a complete personality makeover!
Here are 25 reasons you might be the office outcast.
1. You’re the office slob
If you’re currently sitting in a week’s worth of takeaway boxes and if your two-day-old coffee has grown some kind of fungi, it’s safe to say that you’ve been crowned the Office Slob. And nobody appreciates the guy or girl that hasn’t learned basic cleanliness already. So, clean up your act and make sure you can actually see your workspace from now on.
2. You’re a know-it-all
Do you think of yourself as someone who knows everything (most likely because you’ve been with the company for a while)? Well, it could be that the air of arrogance is grating on your colleagues’ very last nerve. People get that you know what you’re doing, but give others a chance to speak, too!
3. You’re lazy
Every office has the employees that get away with doing the bare minimum (while others keep picking up the slack) just to get a paycheck at the end of the month. Instead of clock-watching and counting down the hours until you can go home and binge-watch Stranger Things, stop being a lazy, start pulling your finger out and look for more tasks you can take on that will keep you motivated and productive.
4. You’re a negative Nancy
You had a terrible commute. The weather sucks. The coffee machine is broken. It’s too cold to work. It’s too hot. Your screen is too bright. Jane from Accounting is too nosy… You get the gist.
If you’re a constant complainer, like a black cloud that hovers over people’s heads, you’re doing a good job of getting on their nerves. So, quit complaining and start looking at the brighter side (or, at the very least, keep it to yourself)!
5. You’re always positive
While being negative is a bad trait, being super upbeat and positive is just as irritating. We get that there’s always a silver lining, but sometimes people just need to be sad or angry, so stop offering words of wisdom and just be a good shoulder to cry on.
6. You’re the office gossip
We get it, office gossip is unavoidable from time to time, and everyone enjoys a little natter here or there, but if you can’t be trusted with people’s secrets (because you’re always spilling them), then you’re doing an excellent job at being the one to avoid in the office. Stop talking behind people’s backs, and don’t get mixed up in business that doesn’t involve you.
7. You’re a suck-up
You seriously can’t like every single thing your boss wears every day to work or find all their jokes absolutely hilarious. You’re not fooling anyone with your constant brown-nosing. Instead of being untruthful, try to be more natural and honest, and let people like you for who you really are.
8. You’re a chatterbox
Everyone loves a good natter from time to time. But if you spend more time visiting your colleagues’ cubicles instead of sitting at your own desk and doing your job, you’re going to earn yourself the title of the Office Chatterbox. And chatterboxes are never in line to get promoted!
9. You’re a control freak
You need to do everything yourself, but then complain that you can’t keep up. You even control the amount of milk your coworker adds to your tea (and then secretly make a fresh one when they’re not looking). And let’s not forget to mention the time that you waste checking up on every single person on the group project! Sounds quite silly now, doesn’t it? Let go of the reins and start allowing others to take some responsibility, too.
10. You’re miserable
Are you always told to turn your frown upside down? If so, it’s likely that you never smile (even faintly) and never show an interest in anyone else’s life. While keeping your head down to work is good (most of the time), it’s also important to try to build a connection with your colleagues.
11. You’re always off sick
Are you really sick or are you just taking time off because you can’t be bothered to drag yourself out of bed? Taking unnecessary sick leave is not only frustrating to your managers but also to your colleagues who have to pick up the slack when you’re away. Next time, think twice before bluffing a sick day!
12. You’re inappropriate
If you’re constantly making people feel uncomfortable with your dirty jokes and your inappropriate remarks, it’s probably time to tone it down. Remain respectful at work. You’re already the most hated person in the office; you don’t want a lawsuit flying your way, too!
13. You’re always late
Are you the last one in and the first one out? This sloppy behavior is clearly rubbing your colleagues up the wrong way! If you’re always running behind schedule, whether it’s to work, meetings or the team lunch, your coworkers will start to hold it against you.
14. You come into work sick
What’s worse than taking too many sick days? Coming into work with the lurgies! I know it sounds contradicting, but don’t you just hate it when your desk pal turns up to work sick and infects the rest of the office? Well, don’t be that person, and stay home when you’re feeling under the weather!
15. You’re a glory hog
Do you take credit, even when the credit isn’t due? It’s tough to like somebody who is just concerned about boosting their own name and career. So, stop stealing people’s thunder, and learn to reward those who actually deserve it!
16. You don’t listen
Staring blank-faced at your coworker as they speak to you is a clear giveaway that you just aren’t listening. By actively listening to what others have to say will not only save time but it will also mend relationships (as people will no longer have to repeat themselves 100 times).
17. You’re antisocial
Do you never make it to happy hour? And do you avoid all conversation in the break room? If so, you’re doing a good job at secluding yourself and making everybody hate you. Although you don’t need to be joined at the hip with your colleagues, you should make an effort to socialize from time to time.
18. You’re unhygienic
Is there always a bad smell lingering around you? Ever thought that the smell might actually be you?! Bad hygiene is a sure-fire way to segregate yourself from the rest of your office. A little deodorant, chewing gum and eau de toilette can go a long way.
19. You always eat smelly food
Eating curry at your desk and heating fish in the microwave will guarantee a loss of fans in the office. To fend off the haters at work, make sure your lunchtime cuisine is desk-friendly with little aromas floating around the office.
20. You’re a time-waster
Don’t be the person who always strays away from the point of the meeting to ask inappropriate questions or the one who circles back to points on group projects. Everyone will start avoiding you in the hallways and refuse to work with you on future tasks.
21. You come across rude on internal messaging
In a remote world, most of the interactions with your coworkers are now through typing, which requires some good writing skills. If you’re responding in an abrupt manner, or in a way that your coworkers feel is disrespectful, or just being downright mean via your primary form of communication, you’re sure to solidify that outcast spot.
22. You're the CAPS LOCK person
Rarely, if ever, is there a need for the caps lock button in work dialogue. If you find yourself abusing this button because you think it's a joke to do so, I’ve got news for you; it’s not funny and your coworkers don’t find it amusing. Just stop yelling at everyone, okay?
23. Your personal life is everyone’s business
Do you have a severe case of word vomit? No matter what is going on at work, what deadlines need to be met or deliverables achieved, it still doesn't come close to the fight you had with your partner last night and you make sure everyone knows it. While your colleagues can be your support (at times), try to keep your private life private. Your colleagues are not your therapist, remember that.
24. You're a perfectionist
Everyone appreciates some attention to detail, but don’t take it too far. If you find yourself being the one correcting everyone else's work on a team project because your perfectionism is taking control, that’s not going to go over too well around the office. Eventually, your coworkers will recognize you need to improve your teamwork skills and may just avoid you all together.
25. You’re always MIA
Does the work calendar and chat status say you're available, but you never respond? Being MIA from your colleagues isn’t going to boost your likability rating, especially when they need you. We all get that Friday feeling sometimes, but don’t let it take over every day.
You’ll never be liked by everyone, but don’t purposely turn people off you with your bad habits. Learn how to be more thoughtful of others around you to make sure you are all happy in the workplace. After all, you spend more of your waking life with your colleagues than with family and friends!
Can you relate to any of these points? If so, let us know what you’re doing to make your colleagues hate you in the conversation below!
This is an updated version of an article originally published on January 19, 2019 and contains contributions by staff writer Shalie Reich.