So a colleague doesn't like you

I am a quality time person, I love people, I love building relationships, and I love growing those relationships. In my high school reference one of the comments was "has easily built a great rapport with staff and students alike" - I like the word rapport, it doesn't just mean being friendly, but it means building a genuine relationship, making people at ease, and trusting of you. Now whilst this sounds great, being a person like this has a harsh downfall, and that is when you meet someone (or multiple someones) who maybe doesn't take to you like others do.

I distinctly remember the first time I learnt this lesson, I was 16 and working in a local café. I had been working there for but a number of months and continually had problems when I was working with one particular staff member. I would come home in tears being able to list the countless errors that I had made under this persons watch, and also being able to list the countless comments they had made, or tasks they had made me do that nobody else ever had to do. And my Dad, in his infinite wisdom, yet perhaps infinite lack of emotional intelligence said "well, not everybody is going to like you" ... and I thought, but why not? I am a lovely person, I try so hard to be friendly and polite and courteous, yet despite all these things, I found myself working with, and for, one of those people that just didn't like me.

So, what do you do about it? Here are the things that I wish I had done at 16 years old behind the coffee machine at that café.

1) Check yourself. I think with more thorough examination of the attitude that I was taking to this particular colleague, I may have found that I was making the problem a lot bigger in my head. She probably actually wasn't plotting ways to get me fired (well, she might have been) but assumption never got a cat any further than curiosity did. Regardless of how hurt, upset, annoyed, concerned you might be, always approach the situation calmly, and remember, you are where you are, because you're supposed to be there, they don't affect that. Be the bigger person, and approach them with the level head that you would want to be approached with.

2) Don't talk sideways. In a previous musing I mentioned this idea, it's rarely constructive to vent frustrations or cause any tension by speaking to anyone except your manager. Really, no-one else can do anything about it, so why does the matter concern them? If your concerns are legitimate, and after analysing the situation objectively you decide that things aren't going to improve, speak to your one up, supervisor, manager, director, whoever it may be. A fresh pair of eyes, who have a birds eye view of everything happening in the workspace may be exactly what you need.

3) Begin the discussion. Now, this bit is to be taken cautiously, but more importantly, calmly. Somebody wise once said, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Sometimes what you may find is that the person is unaware of the behaviour that they are displaying and how it's affecting you. A calm discussion, that begins with something along the lines of, "I'm feeling like _______ because of _________" is usually a good place to start. Don't take the defensive. Don't throw around accusations. Keep your cool. And if this discussion escalates, then it's time to move back to step 2, and maybe bring in the big guns to mediate.

My Dad was right all those years ago, that not everyone is going to like you, but there are ways of approaching those people, and those scenarios that can be constructive. But always take the high road, you will always be thankful for not giving those people even more reasons not to like you!