Hate brings out the worst in people. There’s a reason we link hatred with many negative things in life. People often view hatred as a source of darkness and all the worst parts of human existence. It feels unpleasant, uncomfortable, and even painful when you’re the object of somebody’s hatred.
We all experience hate at some point in our lives. It’s never easy to hear somebody doesn’t like you, especially when you cannot avoid them. So, how do you deal with somebody who hates you?
The Difference Between Dislike and Hate
Though it’s often used interchangeably with dislike, the two are very different emotions. Hatred and dislike are similar but distinct human emotions.
Dislike is a feeling of distaste or an aversion to something or someone. You may dislike your brother’s significant other, but over time your feelings could change one way or the other. Dislike suggests a temporary feeling that’s open to change, one way or the other.
Hate is a destructive emotion that often occurs when a feeling of dislike intensifies to the point of no return. It usually develops when jealousy, disgust, or ignorance are also involved. Hatred suggests a long-term situation and can only apply to live beings. You can’t hate broccoli, even if you don’t enjoy eating it.
Signs Somebody Hates You
People don’t usually come right out and admit to hating you, especially in professional settings. Often, adults signal dislike or hatred in less obvious ways.
The Invisible Man Syndrome
Have you ever felt invisible in a social situation? When somebody hates you, they’ll go out of their way to avoid speaking to you even when you’re a part of the group. If you notice that you’re purposely excluded from all conversations, somebody is sending you a clear message.
In the workplace, this may present in different ways. For instance, somebody sits near you and could easily ask you a question but emails you or walks across the office to ask a colleague. There’s a good chance that person doesn’t care much for you.
On the Outside Looking In
It’s never easy being the new face in any situation, but when a group is open to admitting you, they’ll find you a seat and try to make you comfortable. When you notice that there’s never a seat for you and nobody makes a move to get you one, it may be time to move on.
Other signs the crew blacklisted you include whispering and repeatedly cracking inside jokes. These are blatant efforts to exclude you from the larger group and make you feel like an outsider.
They Recreate the High School Hierarchy
Does some of this sound immature to you? When it comes to hate, even adults can revert to their teenage tool kits. From creating office cliques to reactivating the rumor mill, haters have no problems reenacting the high school years to make you feel small.
Truly hateful people will take credit for your ideas, openly disagree with you at inopportune times, and even pretend to have authority they don’t possess. They may even throw you under the bus for a mistake or encourage you to quit.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Several nonverbal cues can alert you to another person’s true feelings, especially a strong emotion like hatred.
- Too much or too little eye contact is a sign of disinterest or dislike.
- Every interaction, especially pleasant behaviors, like smiles, feel forced and awkward.
- They try to avoid you or at least keep plenty of space between you.
- If you notice their arms frequently crossed when addressing you, it’s a sign of closing you off.
- Watch their body language. If you see that their feet and torsos always point away from you, they want out of the interaction.
- Constant time checks are disrespectful and signal a desire to exit the interaction.
Don’t be quick to assume these signals mean somebody hates you. The truth may be the opposite. There really is a thin line between love and hate since they trigger the same neural circuits in the brain. It is possible to love and hate somebody simultaneously.
If you suspect somebody hates you, but they don’t tell you outright, pay attention to their behavior in social situations. Follow your gut and develop a plan to handle those haters!
Tips for Handling Haters
In the adult world, we encounter people who dislike or even hate us. It could be anything, like personality clashes or fundamental differences of opinion, but some people simply don’t mesh. That doesn’t mean it’s always possible to completely avoid those who hate us. There are some approaches you can take in these situations.
Prepare for the Encounter
When you know you’re going to run into somebody who hates you, build yourself up with a pep talk. Accept that they don’t like you and remind yourself that it’s alright because plenty of people in your life like you.
Smile and be civil when you face the individual. By showing that person that you can ignore their feelings for you, they are less likely to act on their emotions. Whatever you do, don’t participate in any hostility or attempts to undermine you.
If the other person mutters something under their breath, clearly ask them to repeat it louder, so everybody can hear. Haters may try to show you up by pointing out something they did better than you. Simply smile and congratulate them to avoid falling into their trap. When haters fail to get satisfaction, they tend to move along.
Address the Elephant in the Room
Resolving the issue with your hater may involve an open discussion. Ask them what is wrong, and their answer may give you the solution you seek.
Perhaps you did something to upset the other person without knowing it. Maybe the feelings stem from a misunderstanding. It’s possible that the person’s hatred has nothing at all to do with you and is an unhealthy expression of something else altogether.
The other person may or may not be open to discussing and resolving the root cause. Whatever their response, you will know that you’ve tried everything in your power to rectify the situation.
Let it Go
Unless your hater is threatening your well-being, you have the choice to ignore them. Some people only express hate to score a reaction from their subject. If you don’t engage the behavior, there’s a good chance it will stop altogether.
Not all haters walk away when ignored. If your hater escalates behavior and threatens you, engage an appropriate authority figure to help resolve the situation.
Deal with Yourself
Regardless of the situation, managing your own thoughts and feelings about being hated is the best thing you can do. Understand that not everybody you meet is friendly or compatible with you. Some people simply don’t mesh well. It’s best for everybody to embrace that truth and move on.
Don’t forget to work on your confidence. Learning to love and appreciate yourself is as important as understanding that everybody doesn’t like you. Remember, you could make the best cherry pie in the world, but somebody will dislike cherries and complain your pie is gross.
How to Deal with Coworkers Who Hate You
Working with somebody who hates you presents a unique challenge. While some of the approaches listed above may work, you may need to take an alternate path. You certainly don’t want to turn your workplace into a toxic environment that drags everybody down.
Consult a Trusted Coworker
Before taking action, you may want to get a reality check. If you fear a coworker singled you out in a negative way, consult somebody you trust. A colleague who does like you will be discreet and assess the situation with fresh eyes.
Remember, restrict your confidence to one trusted person to avoid aggravating the situation. The more people involved increases the likelihood that things will blow up. You don’t want a full-blown war because you’ve misread a situation or unwittingly recruited a team.
Address the Issue
If your trusted coworker agrees with your assessment of the situation, you still need to exercise caution. Ask the other individual to meet privately and in a neutral space. You may want to consider inviting a third party to mediate the discussion.
Be Diplomatic and Specific
Start the conversation right with a light, neutral topic. Explain that you hope to improve your relationship since you do work together and ask what you can do. Listen carefully and ask for specifics whenever possible.
Throughout the meeting, avoid accusations. Don’t take anything too personally, but be accountable for any role you have or had in the situation. Apologize if necessary, but don’t go overboard in your attempt to ease the relationship.
Agree to Move Forward
You may agree to disagree on everything. Remember, not everybody meshes well. If you cannot find a way around the hatred, set ground rules for how to interact going forward, so you don’t affect the rest of your workplace. Set boundaries that you can both abide and stick to them.
Show empathy for the other person and avoid spreading rumors unless they are positive. If the other person does something worthy of recognition, share it with those around you. Taking these steps will make the other person less likely to undermine you or break your agreed-upon boundaries for fear of looking bad themselves.
The Last Resort
You don’t want to let a poor relationship with one person derail your entire job or career. However, if you’ve tried everything and the coworker is still harassing, undermining, or stealing your work, it’s time to take more drastic steps.
Consult your supervisor about the situation. Let them know the steps you’ve taken to fix it. Your coworker’s actions may warrant intervention by management. There may also be other options for you, like moving to another department or telecommuting.
If the situation remains unresolved or escalates, it is probably time to look for a new job. Be certain to give at least two weeks’ notice and include your coworker’s behavior as your reason for resigning.
Handling Difficult Family Members
When it comes to family, nothing is simple or straightforward. Complicated emotions, feelings of obligation, and confusion make negative or toxic family situations difficult to navigate.
Evaluate the Situation
Does your family really hate you? Often, it’s not the case. Sometimes, trying the approaches listed above is the surest way to resolve the situation. Other times, toxic family dynamics only resolve when one person moves on.
Find at least one person you trust to discuss your concerns with and assess the facts. Why do you feel your family member hates you? Has this always been the case? When it comes to family, you want to take extra time and care to assess the situation.
If you’re having a lot of trouble determining the truth of your situation, you may want to consider contacting a therapist. Counselors can also help family members find common ground and resolve some issues if both parties are willing to participate openly.
Stepping Away from Family
Some toxic family situations only resolve when one party steps away. Family estrangement is more common than you realize. It’s not always a permanent situation, but time away may be necessary.
Whether you’re a child cutting off an abusive parent or a sibling stepping away from a destructive brother or sister, you need to set boundaries. Physical boundaries, like moving to a new home, often enhance psychological boundaries.
Take the time to focus on yourself. Live your life according to your values and beliefs. Seek counseling if you find the changes especially difficult. You need to make the healthiest possible decision for you.
How to Deal with Internet Trolls
You may not be able to confront all of your haters. The internet, especially social media, is a playground for haters because it provides some anonymity. It’s easy to tear another person down online because there is little opportunity for recourse.
Reframe the Hate
Don’t take it personally when haters crop up on your social media. It usually means you’re doing something correctly to gain the interest and attention of an internet troll. In most cases, it has nothing to do with you on a personal level.
Learn the difference between a troll and a critic. Trolls try to bait others into conflict and behave badly. Critics express differing opinions but lack malevolence.
Weed through the feedback and sift out the valuable critiques, but let the haters go. Any comments that you can’t reframe into something positive to learn from don’t matter.
Don’t Engage with Hate
Above all, don’t retaliate against internet trolls, ignore them. You can also mute or block trolls on most platforms. If you choose to respond to a critic, write a classy response that shows your humanity and point of view without attempting to convert the other person.
How to Use Haters to Your Advantage
The parent at your kid’s school who vetoes every idea you have and the coworker who always ignores your input may actually hate you. Even if you follow the steps discussed above, you may not have the resolution you’d hope with either person. More than that, you will meet other people who hate you.
Thankfully, you don’t have to pretend it doesn’t bother you when people don’t like you. You don’t even have to go through a lengthy process in search of resolution with your haters. There is another way. Use the haters to your advantage.
Keep on Keeping On
Some haters are driven by jealousy. Think about it. Have you ever met a hater who’s in a better place than you are? Not likely.
If you achieve goals they share, their hatred is a sign of your success. In these situations, view the haters as validation and keep on your path. Haters are excellent motivation, and they remind us to appreciate even the smallest victories.
Take the Good from the Bad
People who hate you often offer harsh criticism. While they may be driven by jealousy, some of the feedback could be valid. Don’t let their hate drag you down but pull anything useful aside and use it to grow.
Fuel Personal Growth
Hatred is a powerful emotion closely linked with hostility and violence. It’s easy to respond to hate with anger and hostility, but the better response is to learn how to control your emotions. Develop strong emotional intelligence and learn how to regulate your reactions.
Use these lessons to react better in future stressful situations, manage conflict, and handle negative experiences. Your haters provide you the perfect opportunities to develop strong emotional and psychological skills.
Set a New Example
When you see people act out of hate, what do you notice? Take the actions of hatred as lessons in empathy and learn to be more accepting of others. Learning how to deal with haters builds the foundation to handle people you dislike.
How to Handle People You Dislike (or Hate)
You’re armed with the skills to handle people who hate you, but what happens when you hate somebody? Depending on the situation, it may not be feasible to avoid the other person. You can learn how to deal with your feelings and the other person.
Navigating Social Situations
Whether it’s an annoying parent at your kid’s school or an outlier friend who just won’t leave your group, you are bound to face a social situation with somebody you hate. When it is inevitable that you will spend time with somebody you hate in a social setting, it’s necessary to avoid a negative encounter.
Connect with Your Feelings
Maybe you already accepted that the person just rubs you the wrong way and there’s no getting over it. Embrace your emotions about the other person, and determine what drives them to give you better control. You don’t want to be the one who loses control of the situation in front of your team.
Prepare and Practice
Unless the encounter is spontaneous, you have the opportunity to prepare in advance. For example, you’re attending a party with the person you hate. Plan for potential encounters and practice socially acceptable reactions. While you can’t prepare for every situation, some practice serves as mental preparation.
Don’t forget to mentally and emotionally prepare for how the other person makes you feel. In the example of the party, imagine how you will react, including your physical responses – practice building up a tolerance to the other person.
Know When to Walk Away
Nearly any social situation allows an opportunity to walk away. If you feel stressed by the other person, excuse yourself to get a drink or use the restroom. Take a deep breath and regroup. If you can, try to join another group or situation for a while.
Phone a Friend
Do you have a trusted friend who understands your situation? Recruit them to help you. Either ask your friend to stay close or create a signal for when you need rescuing.
Don’t try to convince your friend to join the hate, simply ask for help handling your feelings. You don’t want to make a tough situation worse by creating an “us versus him” scenario.
Navigating the Workplace
When it comes to the workplace, developing skills for handling people you hate is critical to the health of your career. You will inevitably work with people you dislike.
Cooperating with Coworkers
Learning to work alongside different types of people, especially those we don’t like, is a valuable skill. You never know when you’ll face a partner that rubs you the wrong way, and you may not be able to decline.
The first step in working with a coworker you hate is to determine the root of your feelings. Some of the most common triggers are jealousy, insecurity, anger, distrust, and lack of common ground.
If the answer is something within your control to resolve, like jealousy, work through the emotion. Feelings of distrust or anger may be more complicated if there is a legitimate external reason, like a history of lying on the job. You may need to engage the help of a neutral third party or supervisor to resolve the issue.
Unless the source of your hatred is a serious issue, you’ll need to find a way to work with the other individual. Remain civil and take breaks when possible so that you can regroup.
Working with Your Boss
Handling a coworker you hate is a challenge, but nothing like reporting to a boss you can’t stand. When the object of your hatred holds your job in their hands, it’s tough to confront them. In some cases, speaking directly to your boss may not be an option.
When your hatred is rooted in a personality clash, you may want to pursue a physical outlet to offset your emotions. Exercise after work to release pent up emotions from practicing patience and civility all day. Remember to stay positive, be respectful, and maybe look for new jobs on the side.
If the root of your emotions is justified by inappropriate behavior on your supervisor’s part, build a paper trail to support your claims. You may have to involve somebody higher up in the company hierarchy.
Before you do anything rash, like quit your job, try to explore all options. Can you transfer to another department or branch? Do you love your job enough to tolerate your supervisor? You may want to make a list of pros and cons to assess whether your job is worth working for somebody you can’t stand.
Coping with Clients
What do you do when it’s the client you hate? In many cases, you don’t have an opportunity to pass off a customer to somebody else. You don’t want to lose the business either. There are three things to keep in mind when working with a customer you hate.
- Keep the relationship professional. You can be civil and accomplish the job without being friends with your client.
- Take detailed notes. Write everything down and review your notes with your client to ensure you’re on the same page and prevent problems down the line.
- Pass tasks to your teammates whenever possible. Delegating some of the responsibility to other members of your team can offload some client interactions.
If the situation with a particular client turns toxic for your company, it may be time to cut ties. Don’t make this decision unilaterally (unless you are the only member of your team and company). Discuss the situation with all your teammates and your boss to explore all other solutions before ending the partnership.
Don’t Let Hate Disrupt Your Life
Hate is a complicated human emotion, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Though you will inevitably hate somebody and be hated by somebody else, you don’t have to be a victim of either scenario.
Don’t focus on the people who hate you or compare yourself to others because you’ll miss out on the important things in your life.