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to ask how I deal with hostile colleague?

(68 Posts)
Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 17:41:17

She is popular in the team, the storyteller. Everyone looks to her and hang onto her every word.

She is irritated when I speak. Makes tea for the team and excludes me. She declines if I ask to make her a drink then puts the kettle on 5 mins later.

She never gives eye contact unless she is speaking about herself. She does not look up when I greet her in the morning/evening - just mumbles whilst looking at her screen.

I know she is isolating me. No idea why as we have no history.

I am intimidated by her but try not to show it. I have spent most of my life being petrified of people: at school, at college at work. I have a horrible fear of rejection which stems back to horrendous bullying at school.

Do I just act professional and pretend not to hear when she speaks?

MooncupGoddess Tue 04-Dec-12 17:43:52

Hmm. Do you work together? What do you actually need from her, in professional terms?

She sounds horrid - if the problem is mainly that you feel quashed by your hostility, can you reframe the situation to yourself as 'well, I don't like her, and she doesn't like me - it's just one of those things'?

HairyGrotter Tue 04-Dec-12 17:46:10

Maybe she's jealous of you. Can you not speak to HR about the situation? You shouldn't have to put up with it.

Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 17:47:46

I am anxious that everyone will turn on me as they do not aee her this way. I will post more later- about to drive home.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 04-Dec-12 17:52:47

youve three ways of dealing with it
1) bring it up with management - obviously depends on the set up
2) Be the nicest person in the world to her, especially in front of people so eventually she looks like a dick
3) front her out on it "ive noticed there seems to be some atmosphere on your part, have i done something to upset you"

ive done 2 and 3. If im honest 3 works much much much better, but it takes some bottle!

It is horrible, im very sorry your going through it

MooncupGoddess Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:17

I'd go for the 'nicest person in the world' strategy, as it is the least risky - but then, I am a coward!

To be honest if she's nasty to you there are probably other people who have doubts about her too. Just because they're all friendly to her in public doesn't mean they would automatically assume she's in the right.

richardsimmonstanktop Tue 04-Dec-12 18:15:34

How are your relationships with your other colleagues? Do you really need this woman on your side?

If it were me I'd try to take a 'who cares' approach and just shrug everything off. But easier said than done, of course.

dancemom Tue 04-Dec-12 18:25:57

Heres the thing

She doesnt like you. For whatever reason, she just doesnt like you.

And thats fine. She may not like prawn cocktail crisps, trainer socks or the colour green. And thats up to her. Her opinion, her business.

If she is rude or if it affects your work then thats something else which of course you should address.

But if she just doesnt like you, then thats her perogative. Carry on with your day and dont let it affect you.

Not everyone in the world has to be friends.

SugaricePlumFairy Tue 04-Dec-12 18:39:59

I'm one who would go for the upfront option as I can't stand this kind of stand off from someone else.

She's a Wendy [a bitch who thinks she can target one individual] do a search with mrsmangel and wendy as your word to see]

How long has this been going on?
Do you get on with your other colleagues?

pingu2209 Tue 04-Dec-12 18:45:42

How long have you worked at the company? If you have been there over 2 years, I would approach her directly when you are alone and ask if you have done anything to upset her.

I would be careful to do anything before you have worked in a company 2 years.

lovebunny Tue 04-Dec-12 18:46:33

take no notice of her at all.
always be pleasant and smile, smile, smile, at her and the others.
whenever she goes to the loo, make everyone a brew and leave her one on her desk. she'll ignore it, perhaps even knock it over, say something nasty about it. but all the time you'll be showing the team how nice you are. and they will, consciously or not, notice how horrid she is.
slowly, slowly, build up your relationships with everyone else. a nod, a smile, a tiny shared joke. passing them a bottle of chilled water when they need it. kindness, really.
this isn't groveling or currying favour. its gentle, humane behaviour.
you can't lose.

QuacksForDoughnuts Tue 04-Dec-12 18:56:30

Do you know for certain that the others do love her that much? I had a similar situation (the difference being I had once been friends with the relevant colleague but we kind of fell out) and when I had a chance to talk to other people - basically after deciding said colleague had no say in what I did and I wasn't going to let her control things - it turned out that a few were highly irritated by her and more were ambivalent. (as in, they'd hang out with her at work but not have any interest in seeing her otherwise) It is often easier to let someone blather on and let it wash over you than to challenge them, especially if your colleagues don't have to deal with actual hostility from her, but don't read this as her being their favourite person. They could just be keeping their heads down.

Lavenderhoney Tue 04-Dec-12 19:07:59

Have you just started there and you have a job she wanted? Or her mate wanted? There could be all sorts of underlying crap you know nothing about. Ensure you do your job properly and be pleasant and professional with everyone. Make sure you go to drinks after work, if you can, even if it's only for an orange juice and you go after 30 mins. Keep a diary of all the incidents, times, people around etc, however small and petty it seems writing it down. Do not leave this at work, keep it in a notebook and take it home. note you tried to chat, asked her for coffee, and she was rude or indifferent. Ie, showed no interest in improving the relationship.

Who is the team leader? If its her, you might want to sort your cv and start to network for another job in the company or outside. If its not, it's still a good idea.

Next 1:1 With boss- say you notice x is being like this. Ask if he knows why. Say you have tried to make it more pleasant. Suggest a consultant in team dynamics comes in and coaches you all to work better. Say you will have a 1:1 with her to ask nicely if you have upset her and will report back. tell her in the 1:1 and document it after in nice email that even if as individuals you do not get on, you are at work and must try as it will affect team performance. Suggest a coffee alone with her once every two weeks.

What is your role in the team? Are you used to being the storyteller and she is?

Next time she makes tea after you, go up and ask quietly without an audience " don't you like my tea?" I like you, I feel you dont like me, am I imagining things? smile

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:30

Don't do as I did, and tell her exactly what you think of her and what hard work she is while being completely and utterly drunk! blush We had all been made redundant and on the last day that our office was open we all got stupidly pissed. Later at the pub I told her what I thought of her. I still cringe thinking about it.

Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 19:34:23

can'tbelieveit I would not go for number 1, number 2 sounds good, too cowardly to go for number 3. How

DoingItOntheRoofTopWithSanta Tue 04-Dec-12 19:45:39

Don't do anything. You can't say anything without looking crazy as she hasn't done anything wrong. All you can do is continue to be totally normal and occasionally friendly with her so she looks like an asshole and worse feels shit that you don't even know she doesn't like you

kerala Tue 04-Dec-12 19:51:13

Agree with dancemom spot on. Approaching her would be cringeworthy and am sure you would regret it. Just shrug and move on (mentally anyway). She doesnt have to like you saying anything makes you look needy and pathetic which Im sure you aren't

carlywurly Tue 04-Dec-12 19:52:27

Doingit is totally right imo - just coolly and pleasantly ignore her. Don't rise to any of it. Sometimes school bullies just grow up and turn into workplace ones, she sounds like she has a touch of queen bee syndrome, and might get off on isolating someone - sadly, it looks like it's you at the moment.

She's being actively mean by not including you in drinks runs, but just make your own. Respond to her if she speaks to you, but don't attempt to draw her into conversation or engage her in any way. I'd be wary of her suddenly being nice to you too.

Others will notice but let them come to their own conclusions about her. I'd maybe try and befriend a couple of them outside work so you don't feel isolated.

Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 19:54:14

Richard I get on fine with the others but she is very close with them as in they go to lunch together daily, bring in food to share, talk about their families. I am the outsider. She likes to monopolise things and take control.

dancemom I have always known she was not overkeen on me. She goes out of her way to be as sweet as pie to the others, bending over backwards, calling them honey, babe, being overly concerned about them.

Pingu22 If I have a 'quiet' word she will only relay it to her friends in the team giving her own version of course. She- rarely keeps anything to herself including personal info about others.

lovebunnu This is a good idea although it will not deter her.

quacksfordoughnuts No they do like her. They all hug each other hello and goodbye every day followed by "hunny" "babes".

lavenderhoney we are on the same grade. No I am not and have never been the story teller. I would rather not inform my manager at the moment as I have nothing concrete. I will start a diary. She blows hot and cold on me and I hate it.

BillyBollyBrandy Tue 04-Dec-12 19:56:48

i have this with a junior colleague. He hates me and thinks I am shit at my job. He started to refuse to speak to me so now I make him grin

I make a point of saying good morning to him by name so it is much harder to ignore me. I ask his opinion on things he knows about workwise. I ask him his opinion if we are all chatting to include him.

He still hates me but he has to be polite otherwise he would look ridiculous.

And strangely I don't hate him, jut think he is a bit of a knob.

DoingItOntheRoofTopWithSanta Tue 04-Dec-12 20:00:18

Oh and when she is doing drinks, I would shout out my order as though it is assumed she will get me a drink/or has forgotten.

But hugging each other hello and goodbye is very schoolgirly behaviour, certainly not something I'd expect to see on a daily basis in a professional environment( unless you are all luvvies?).

Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 20:05:27

Carlywurly- yes definitely queen bee vying for an audience to laugh at her jokes and listen to stories. Always relaying how much people like her, value her, respect her. She constantly speaks of all the Christmas lunches she has been invited to.

Ican imagine how she must have been at school. Doing anything to remain top dog.

Sadly some appear nice today and cold tomorrow and expect you to go along with it. I back off completely

sneezecakesmum Tue 04-Dec-12 20:12:14

i would try a couple of weeks being really nice to her and everyone around then a couple of weeks being nice to everyone else and blanking her. See what reaction you get from her. I've often found this type hates being ignored so will thaw towards you. Its all superficial though, as she is. Both ways are non confrontational. Confronting her would imo be the worse thing to do.

Bumblequeen Tue 04-Dec-12 20:14:38

billybolly I may take this on - can picture how awkward your colleague must feel at having to converse with you.

doingitontherpof I am not bold enough to do this. She is very vocal and would throw something back at me and I would have mo comeback.

maggie yes it is and an easy way to make others feel they are not part of the clique. Girls did this right in front of me at school - just stood there feeling invisible as they forced a quick hello.

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