It may surprise you to find out that --most likely -- not everyone likes you. Even the nicest of people usually have someone who dislikes them, and some of us have more than a few.
At work, it's surprisingly easy to fall on your co-workers' bad sides. You may not mean to, but there are some behaviors that many of us engage in that can make people not like you.
You don't have to steal someone's parking space or eat their lunch out of the fridge to become disliked. Instead, how you act in a variety of work situations can determine if most co-workers are going to like or dislike you. Avoid doing these things and you're much more likely to be well-liked.
1. Don't gossip
It may seem like fun to share dirt on your co-workers. Maybe someone is having trouble at home, or someone has done something outside the office that others might find entertaining . Whatever it is, no matter how juicy the tidbit, avoid the temptation to be a gossip.
Certainly, you should share in good news with your co-workers, but leave anything overly personal, negative, or even silly alone. Always consider that if you spread gossip about people behind their back, it could come back to bite you with co-workers doing it to you.
Being a gossip can also hurt your own reputation and make people less likely to trust you. The person laughing at whatever tidbits you're sharing may decide that it's a bad idea to share any secrets with -- professional or personal -- in the future.
2. Don't avoid work
Most people have worked with someone who disappears whenever the boss is looking for volunteers to work extra hours or take on an unpleasant project. You don't have to take on every job, but you should make sure you do at least your fair share.
Of course, if you take on a little more than your fair share, your co-workers will appreciate that. Don't be a martyr, but consider the needs of others. Maybe one of your co-workers has a young child at home and you do not. Consider not just your own happiness, but that of everyone on the team.
3. Don't take too much credit
If you're a superstar, it's still best to deflect credit. People know who did the real work, but they also tend to inflate their own role in any job.
Let your work stand for itself. If you truly deserve credit, let it come from other people. If you have to toot your own horn, do it professionally during a performance review or in a meeting with your boss.
Don't be shy about sharing credit with co-workers. it's always better to be more inclusive than it is to freeze people out or minimize their efforts.
4. Don't be a malcontent
At my first job, I worked for a small magazine publisher. There was a person there who worked in another department who never missed an opportunity to complain. Whether we were at lunch, on a business trip, or walking out for coffee, this person had nothing but bad things to say about the boss or the company.
After a while, it all really became background noise. If the person was this unhappy, why did she stay?
It's OK to have an occasional complaint, but it should be rare. Focus on the positive, and if you really have a lot to complain about, save it for your family or friends outside the office. In the office, be solutions oriented. If something is wrong, work on ways to fix the problem while staying upbeat.
Do unto others...
When at work, think about the things that make you feel bad and not like a co-worker -- and avoid doing them. In general, try to be a good partner or teammate and a supportive person. Having a positive attitude and trying to lift up those around you will serve you well and endear you to the people you work with.