That being said, experts say employees can look out for the following telltale signs they are on the outs:
- Fleeting eye contact: Wall admits that while it’s true many people just aren’t good at making eye contact with others, they should at least be able to maintain it with someone they work with on a day-to-day basis, if even for a few moments.
- Long pauses in response to your questions: According to Kerry Patterson, co-author of the Crucial Conversations series published by consulting firm Vital Signs, this is generally an indication people feel they have to choose their words when you are around. Additionally, don’t be wary of people disagreeing with you, Patterson said. It’s more telling when someone doesn’t respond to your questions or suggestions at all.
- Closed body language: Boothman says that when people are genuinely fond of you, they approach you with an open heart, meaning their arms aren’t folded, their chest is turned out toward you and there is a genuine smile on their face. When someone is turned away from you or has his or her arms crossed, it indicates mistrust. Patterson says it’s also telling if co-workers consistently move their chairs so they face away from you during meetings.
Other more obvious signs include social exclusion, gossip or rumors surfacing about you or, of course, formal complaints being made to your boss.
The Next Steps
Wall says you should keep a written record of the behaviors you observe in your co-workers to make sure the perceived animosity is consistently directed toward you and was not caused by a bad day or surly colleague.
Additionally, Patterson suggests consulting with a confidant in the office as a way to check how you are rubbing people the wrong way. The confidant may be able to clue you into the things you aren’t seeing.
“Instruct that confidant to be behaviorally specific, rather than conclusionary,” he says. For instance, you don’t want to know that people think you are arrogant; you want to know what you did that preceded someone’s observation that you were arrogant.
The honest feedback might help you make some minor adjustments in your day-to-day work life that will improve your relationships with others.
Boothman says another way to change a person’s perception of you is to synchronize your body movements with theirs.