Five Reasons Why Your Co-Workers Don't Like You

April 24th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

If you're a worker in America, the odds are high that you hate at least one of your colleagues.

The office space provider Regus reported in 2014 that nearly half of workers in large companies "don’t like their co-workers."

But what if the disliked co-worker is you?

You might be the annoying employee without even realizing it. ATTN: reached out to workers in different industries to ask about the common characteristics of the black sheep on their team. We're not using their names, to protect their employment status.

Here are some common reasons your co-workers don't like you:

1. You're a constant complainer about work and life in general.

In theory, the other people around you at work are probably doing the same job or at least trying to reach the same goals. They probably don't want to hear your complaints while they're trying to do their job. Research has shown that negative thinking can rub off on the people around you, and venting frustrations can actually make you feel worse.

“If venting really does get anger 'out of your system,’ then venting should result in a reduction of both anger and aggression," researchers wrote a 2007 article called "The Pseudopsychology of Venting in the Treatment of Anger" that addressed the problems with some anger coping mechanisms. "Unfortunately for catharsis theory, the results showed precisely the opposite effect."

2. You don't respect common spaces at work.

A former state department employee based in Washington, D.C. told ATTN: that an old co-worker would routinely have loud and lewd conversations with her friend on the phone every day in a shared office.

"So she was really unlikable because she doesn't have respect for shared spaces," the former federal employee told ATTN:. "If you have a private office, do what you want, but with more offices [becoming] open spaces, you really should keep your conversations brief or take them outside."

Many of the employees we spoke to expressed frustration with co-workers who are generally inconsiderate with shared work spaces. A human resources professional in Los Angeles said that co-workers who refuse to refill the paper towel dispenser annoy her greatly.

An empty paper towel dispenser in a workplace bathroom.

Another worker said it's frustrating to constantly be forced to refill the empty toilet paper dispenser because other co-workers used the last sheet and walked away.

A toilet paper dispenser in a workplace bathroom.

Other people said they were annoyed by co-workers who leave crumbs on tables or take office supplies like staplers and tape without asking.

3. You name drop.

An events planner who works internationally told ATTN: that it's off-putting to constantly listen to 'name-drops.'

"They're the ones who think they're overly connected to everyone on the planet so they can introduce you to this person or that person," she said. "They pretty much know everything and proceed to tell you about it."

4. You can't admit you made a mistake.

An artist in the San Francisco area said that co-workers who obviously made a mistake should admit it instead of trying to cover it up.

"It's like taking a shit in front of me and then telling me it's not your shit pile," she said. "I think you should just own it and fix the problem. I would trust them more."

5. "Mansplaining."

Most people don't enjoy being condescended to, but this can be a common experience for women in the workplace. Commonly called "mansplaining," women often experience condescending tones and patronizing explanations from their male co-workers, even when they're in positions of power. To make a point, comedian and late night host Jimmy Kimmel hilariously "mansplained" to former Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After asking her to explain the definition, he then jokingly corrected her. "Actually it's when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending way, but you were close," Kimmel said.

However, it's also possible that it's your co-workers' fault they don't like you.

Ben Dattner, an executive coach and organizational development consultant, said that the perception that there is a personality conflict at work is usually false. He said that organization problems at the job can create the illusion that there are personalty problems.

"Sometimes personality conflict is the effect rather than the cause of adversity in the workplace," the author of "Credit and Blame at Work" said. "If our roles aren't correctly specified, if our strategy doesn't make sense, you and I might seem to be in personality conflict."

Dattner said that it's easier for humans to blame a person's personality traits rather than dissect a complex or nuanced situation at work.

He also said that it's possible for co-workers to hold biases against each other.

"In the workplace, if we discriminate against somebody because they're white, black, Hispanic, old, gay or straight, there's legal protections." he said. "But people can discriminate in smaller ways like, 'you're more of a detail oriented person and I like big picture," or 'you're more of a risk taker and I'm more conservative.'"

In an October 2016 Harvard Business Review article, Dattner gave the example of a young woman interrupting co-workers in a meeting.

"You think to yourself, 'Susan should be more deferential. These young people are always so full of themselves!' This might be a conscious bias against Millennials, and perhaps an unconscious bias against women," wrote Dattner. "Of course, this does not imply that Susan’s tendency to talk over other people is OK, but it could still be that she’s bothering you more than others do because of your own assumptions and feelings about her 'type.'"

RELATED: How to Spot a Toxic Coworker