We’ve all been there. Stuck in a situation where you have to work with someone who openly resents you. At work this can be very difficult. It doesn’t matter how nice you are to the person, they just seem to resent you more.

And it’s true. Sometimes, just your presence will annoy people.

This can be for many reasons. Some are:

  1. You’ve done something to upset them
  2. You have annoying habit patterns
  3. They resent your position
  4. You’re happy and easy to get along with
  5. You’re too positive

These reasons may seem illogical. I mean, if you are happy, then won’t everyone like you? Not necessarily. But we’ll get to the reason in a moment.

Evaluate the Reasons

  • So you may have done something to upset someone. If you are aware of that, you can apologise. If you aren’t, the method of handling this is to ask them. Get them alone, look them in the eyes and ask “You seem to be upset with me. Have I done something to upset you”? Say it sincerely and be concerned. Because you really do want to know the answer if there is one. However, in my experience, nobody answers that question. It does clear the air though and that is the purpose.
  • Do you have annoying habit patterns? What about interrupting people when they are speaking? Do you need to be heard all the time? Are you the type to back stab or climb all over people to get where you want to go? Do you exhibit the traits of a good listener or instead think about what you are going to say when others are speaking? Everybody wants to be respected and valued for their suggestions and ideas. When you interrupt a person’s suggestion, you are devaluing them as a person. If you aren’t sure whether you do this or not, ask a friend or colleague you get along with. Everything is changeable.
  • There are people who are unhappy with their lot in life and and will therefore resent what you have. They think they should have been the one in that position, and they resent you for being there. This is definitely not personal, as they would resent anybody in the same position as you. However, it doesn’t make it easy to gain a positive working relationship. If you understand this as the case, then tackle it head on. Let them know that you understand they would have liked the position and you are sorry they didn’t get it (After all, it wasn’t your decision). That will help them to trust that you are on their side. You are an ally and not the opposition.
  • People resent those who are easy to get along with. Many people will not like you, just because you are happy. This shines a spotlight on their unhappiness. They know what they need to do and yet they don’t want to make the effort to change their lives, so they resent the spotlight you have shone on their inadequacies. You can’t change how another feels about you, but you can change how you feel about them. When you understand that these insecurities are causing the personality imbalance, you can allow yourself to feel good anyway.
  • Similar to the last reason, being positive annoys the heck out of people. Unless you are in a highly positive and uplifting environment (and then you won’t be having problems with your co-workers), people are so bogged down and focused on things that make them feel bad, that your positivity is downright annoying. Rather than seeing your positivity as something that could lift them out of their doldrums and make them more creative, they resent what they see as the magnification of their shortcomings and blame you for that. To change this, feel excited and positive within, rather than trying to express yourself in words. We teach by example and your example of positivity will always win out.

Why are people Difficult?

We either bring out the best or the worst in people. It all depends on whether we are focused on the best or the worst in people. Everybody exhibits both, so it’s your choice what you want to magnify in others. It is natural that when you bring out the worst in somebody that you would then perceive them as difficult.

Some people are difficult all the time and others are difficult occasionally. This can’t be controlled by you as it has more to do with what that person is thinking and feeling. If they could control their mood, then they wouldn’t be difficult.

When you focus on ‘feeling great, no matter what’, you will cocoon yourself in a bubble of your own joy. If others try to penetrate this bubble by their insensitivity or negativity, you reset your intentions to ‘feel great no matter what’ and look for things that are working. They could be the simple things in life or they could be something you imagine.

Choose How To Handle It Better

Don’t ever argue, as it is worthless. You can never win against resentment. Keep your voice even, as they will match you. Keep your body language open. No folded arms, foot tapping or frowning. If difficult people push your buttons, then get rid of the buttons. You don’t need them.

In this way, you will be paving the way for a happy working future as you create your own reality based on your dominant mood. Choose your mood consciously and you will be choosing a better future.

If you would like to read more articles on this try:

20 Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People


A realistic approach to dealing with people who don’t like you.