Social Question

Blueroses's avatar

How do you deal with the person "nobody likes"?

Asked by Blueroses (18232points) July 18th, 2012

You’d think we’d grow out of this “cool kids” thing, but I’m talking about a work/professional environment. (It applies to other situations too so go ahead and answer, whatever your age/experience.)

I’m new in my workplace and I get on well with everybody. There’s one person who is disliked universally. The complaint is; she acts superior and her tone is condescending.

She is older and has a job duty nobody else would want, but she’s relatively new to the department and not in a position of authority over anybody. She is in charge of the technology.

It’s the universal thing to mock her behind her back. All of the cool kids are doing it. If you want to be cool, join in.

My take on her is that I think she’s very approachable and friendly, especially if approached with questions about her field of expertise. She’s in a difficult middle position and she compensates for her discomfort by using management-speak (“We could optimize our workflow…”) to prove that she belongs in her position, but that alienates others.

Yeah, that can be obnoxious but it doesn’t mean she isn’t good at her job and it certainly doesn’t mean she’s a worthless human being.

How do you deal with these situations?

Do you try to bring the outcast’s good points to other’s attention?

Do you play two-faced and accommodate everyone?

Are you silent and uncomfortable?

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23 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

I see if it’s founded, first of all. Sometimes the person that no one likes has earned that title by being unlikable. If that isn’t the case, then screw the “cool kids.” I didn’t play that game in school, and I don’t play it now.
I do disagree when someone makes fun of another person. I don’t pretend to laugh along. I do have a tendency to go out of my way to befriend people who seem to be alienated or are clearly “outcasts.” I have just always been that way.

creative1's avatar

I really don’t pay attention to what others think of someone. I wait and see who that are for myself and go accordingly. But one thing I really dislike and don’t do is make fun at someone elses expense. If you like her then hang with her… Who cares what everyone else thinks!

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Complain to moderators.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I consciously decide “I” am the person who decides who is cool in social situations, and I try and hang out with the person. Usually they are fine after a few conversations, and they make loyal friends.

People may sometimes say “why do you hang out with that person” and you just say, “you are crazy, she’s fine. ” and change the conversation.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

You just ignore me, gosh. :D

I actually made friends with “that person” years and years ago. We are still friends. In situations like that, I just try to get to know that person and decide for myself whether or not I’d like to associate/be friends with them.

wundayatta's avatar

I tend to make my own opinions about people. If they are useful to me or I like them, then I’ll spend time with them. If they are hard to deal with, then I’ll spend as little time as I can with them. What the other people think has nothing to do with it for me. Most other people are idiots, anyway. No. Not really. I just felt like being snarky. But I do think that people who do things purely because everyone else is doing them have given up their own thinking ability, so I guess that qualifies them for idiocy. It is, however, perfectly understandable, since it is a very good strategy for staying tight with a group.

Paradox25's avatar

When it comes to other people I just let it go through one ear and out of the other, because I prefer to make my own decisions. There were times when this dislike was justified, at least in my opinion. However, there were also times when it was the majority who were the aholes, and all it took was just that one person to treat them like a respected human being, and I’d discovered that they were really decent individuals. I also know what it is like to be on the receiving end of this as well. Things aren’t always what they seem, and facades, like looks, can be very deceiving.

Blueroses's avatar

I agree with all of the above, entirely. I strive to be one who makes up my own mind.

As @wundayatta suggested, it can be vital to survival to fit in with a group, but I do think you have to break out of group-think and, at the same time, prove yourself as worthy within the major group before you can be respected for your different thoughts about somebody. Tricky stuff.

Personally, in the situation, I make non-committal responses when people give negative comments about the person.
“She’s such a bitch!”
Really? She totally helped me out today.”

I sort of feel badly about not defending her more, but if I did, I’d lose cred and be accused of ass-kissing.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would make my own decision about whether the person is a problem or not. She may just be inept in terms of social skills. Reading your description, that’s the impression I’m getting. If people are talking behind her back, depending on what is being said and how often and bad it is I would either defend her (if I feel she deserves it) or leave the room or change the subject. I wouldn’t join in. I would rather not be part of the ‘in crowd’ than join in with that sort of thing.

CWOTUS's avatar

I lose a lot of false friends by refusing to go along with that kind of bullshit. That’s partly what makes me often “the one nobody likes”, for exactly the kinds of reasons you mentioned. Fuck it. If that’s what it takes to be an honorable and decent human being, then that’s what I’ll pay.

The friends I have I know are friends. I wouldn’t have that any other way.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Like everyone else, I make my own decision about the person and go from there. If I like the person, so be it and I don’t care if that means others wouldn’t like me. In fact, if others wouldn’t like me just because I liked this other person, it says quite a bit about them in my opinion.

augustlan's avatar

I always give my counter-opinion, pretty much just like you did, @Blueroses. “Really? He seems nice enough to me.”

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have found over the years that getting to know a person like this is a good thing. They often have savant skills and a humour and kindness underneath just waiting to be discovered. They can be a treasure trove of help, friendship, and just plain old fun. They also often have experiences and points of view that are frankly amazing. I never write anybody off. I have made friends out of the most forbidding people,usually it’s because they have been excluded or laughed at most of their lives.

ucme's avatar

In my own way & in my own time, for I am an individual, not a sheep.

Shippy's avatar

I personally wouldnt join in, on the behind her back banter. I just feel that if they can do it to her, one day they can do it to me too.

I make my own mind up about people, I think that comes with old age and wisdom.

wundayatta's avatar

Unlike @ucme, I am a sheep, not an individual. Hear me Baaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

[Edit] What? I got it the wrong way around? Damn! I was never good with platitudes!

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’d probably say something like this back to the peeps making fun:
“I know I’d be a raging bitch if I had to do that job all day long and answer back to Mr. so & so.” “So glad she’s doing it and not me.”

choreplay's avatar

I tend to pair up with the under dog just to fly in the face of convention, unless they give me a good reason why not to. Everyone starts with a clean slate with me.

ucme's avatar

@wundayatta I had a feeling there was something baaaaaaaad about ewe.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

I am the person ’‘nobody likes’’. Ha.

Blueroses's avatar

Revisiting my own question nearly a year later… I’m going to agree with @DigitalBlue

There are some people whose efforts at trying too hard only invoke disdain and dislike.
A year of experience with the person I tried to defend has enforced the fact that “everyone else” was correct in their assessment.

This is someone who complains about the long hours she puts in, but then she’ll take a very simple and obvious issue, write a word document with colored diagrams about it, email it to everyone, print the email and personally hand it to everyone, then read it aloud to them and ask if there are any questions.

Yeah. I stand corrected.

Bellatrix's avatar

Oh dear. :-)

I’m having to deal with a similar situation right now. I hope this person at least doesn’t affect your work environment too heavily @Blueroses.

I love my job, the politics I can do without.

Blueroses's avatar

@Bellatrix hee hee and AMEN!

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