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To think that none of my colleagues ever want to sit near me?

62 replies

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:40

I have worked in my current job for just under a year now. There have been a few things that have made me feel a bit excluded by colleagues, such as not being invited on nights out, but I have always put this down to me being new in the role and them all having known each other longer.

Our office has a hotdesking system. There are 4 separate offices with several desks in each and it is a case of getting to work, finding a desk wherever you can and sitting there.

I have noticed that quite often if I sit near most colleagues, they will be all nice to me but after a while will find an excuse to move elsewhere in the offices. I will then later see them perched on the end of another colleagues desk or sitting somewhere where there is no desk!

Today for example I grabbed a desk in an office where one woman, I'll call her Jane, was already sitting. We said hello to each other and she was fine with me. I sat down and started working and after a while she said "I need to go and sit with Tom as I have to go through some work with him, sorry to leave you alone in this office". I said fine, no problems at all. Only to see later that she wasn't sitting with Tom (not his real name, obviousy), but had gone into another office that was crowded full and was sharing a desk with someone else (their roles are totally different so they would not have needed to work together). It can't have been that she wanted to be in a crowded office rather than a quiet one as she was perfectly happy in the empty one before I got there!

I am baffled about this, and also quite upset about it. All of the female colleagues are like this with me, and some, but not all of, the male colleagues.

I do not know what I have done wrong; I absolutely do not smell or have bad breath. I'm not super loud or painfully quiet, just a normal sort of personality. My boss has said I'm good at my job and he's happy with how I do things.

AIBU to be upset about it?

OP posts:
QuiteLikely5 · 23/06/2015 18:46


Sounds like there is a reason. Only someone from work can tell you what it is though.

SpringBreaker · 23/06/2015 18:46

Do you wear a heavy scented perfume?

Do you talk on the phone a lot (even if part of your job spec)

Do you hum or eat sweets?

Do you chatter a lot?

Those are the sort of things that would make me want to move away from a colleague.

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:47

Nope, none of those.

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grapejuicerocks · 23/06/2015 18:49

Oh dear. That sounds so very sad.

I'm not sure what to advise.

First of all ask someone, away from work whether you do smell at all. How fresh are your clothes? You can't always smell yourself.

Apart from that are you close enough to anyone to ask them their interpretation of things?

RachelRagged · 23/06/2015 18:50


Aww, that really is awful OP

TedAndLola · 23/06/2015 18:50

My first thought was that you either smell or you're too noisy. In either case you could be totally unaware... some people genuinely can't smell their own BO, and they aren't aware of their own sniffing or throat clearing or mumbling under their breath.

You're not going to know unless you ask someone that will be brutally honest with you.

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:51

I don't smell. I have asked several friends and DH. I shower at least once a day and wear clean clothes and deodorant every day.

There is a man at work who is very smelly and nobody minds sitting near him.

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GreenAugustLion · 23/06/2015 18:51

Yanbu to be upset, but if no one is being hostile (and it's not a case of clique behaviour or workplace bullying) then to be brutally honest there must be a reason if people keep moving away, whilst trying to be nice about it.

Things that would make me not want to sit by them: odour problems, someone with a very loud phone voice, someone far too chatty so I find it difficult to get on with things, someone far too quiet/anti social, someone constantly asking for my opinion or help or with some other bad habit like rustling sweets or chewing gum loudly all the time.

Or of course you could just be paranoid.

TedAndLola · 23/06/2015 18:52

Forgot to mention... shame on your colleagues for the way they're handling this, whatever their issue is.

BabCNesbitt · 23/06/2015 18:53

Might you be chewing gum or smacking your mouth or something like that? I had a colleague who used to drive everyone insane by lip and gum smacking all the time, but when it was mentioned to her, she was totally unaware that she was making so much noise.

grapejuicerocks · 23/06/2015 18:53

Do you make friends easily away from work? How do people react when you first meet them?

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:54

I don't think I do any of the irritating things tbh. I work with some real loudmouths who sit and eat all day and no one minds being near them...

Can't help but feel that it's some sort of bitchy thing towards me. Like I said, I have felt excluded in the past in several ways.

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msgrinch · 23/06/2015 18:55

When I worked there was a lady in the office no one wanted to sit near, I asked my employees why and it was due to her deodorant/perfume/washing powder. The smell gave them headaches. They were right it was the washing powder smell, I've smelt it on a few people since, whatever brand it it it's not nice.

NoArmaniNoPunani · 23/06/2015 18:55

Do you have a close friend who you could double check re the smell?

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:55

Yes I make friends easily away from work. I get on well with people when I first meet them, and have made lifelong good friends in many other workplaces I've worked in.

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ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:56

As I said, I have asked several very good friends if I smell and they have been totally shocked and said no way do I smell!

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ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:57

And it can't be my washing powder; I change the brand we use all the time! Even if I did inadvertently pick a rank smelling one I'd soon be onto the next one!!

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HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs · 23/06/2015 18:57

Can you ask your line manager?

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 18:58

I have briefly mentioned it to him and he said they are a funny old lot and not to take it personally.

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msgrinch · 23/06/2015 18:59

Same. I'm changing all the time Grin my ex apprentice used to eat really loudly (mouth open) and I could barely be in the same room as her when she ate or drank. could it be anything like that? I have a clicky jaw and am paranoid about it.

msgrinch · 23/06/2015 19:02

Cross post. Well it seems like it's them not you. Don't let it get to you, people can be cruel Thanks

Moomintroll85 · 23/06/2015 19:03

Sorry to hear this it sounds shitty.

You say you're relatively new, do you know anything about the person you replaced? Could there have been some issue/office politics related to their departure that they're (very unfairly) taking out on you out of loyalty to the person before you?

It's completely unreasonable behaviour but I've worked places where that has happened.

ChillingAndImpressing · 23/06/2015 19:04

The woman who did the job before me was very popular, maybe it's because they didn't want her to leave?

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msgrinch · 23/06/2015 19:06

It could very well be that!

TedAndLola · 23/06/2015 19:08

The more you post, the more it sounds like it's their issue, Chilling, not yours. Your manager's response was very telling - he didn't try and deny it so it's probably not just you being paranoid.

I'm not sure what the answer is. This is the kind of horrible behaviour that's difficult to tackle because it's quite subtle. I feel for you Sad

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