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Make the effort to get along with your “work family”

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in Your Office Coach

Question: No one at work seems to like me. I usually keep to myself, because my co-workers never act very interested. When I do try to communicate with them, I get a lot of odd reactions that seem fake.  I’m sick of all these people who apparently feel they have no faults. Management talks about employees being “family,” but that’s a complete crock.  My co-workers never act as though they care about me, so why should I care about them?  After being stuck here for four years, sometimes I just want to give up.  And I’m tired.  Discouraged

Answer: The fact that you’re tired is no surprise.  Feeling hurt, resentful and angry for eight hours a day can be exhausting.  It’s also a complete waste of emotional energy.

If this is the first time you’ve felt isolated at work, you may have wandered into a toxic organization.  But if the pattern seems familiar, then the problem may originate with you.

Your aloofness and pessimistic assumptions could easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Because you anticipate rejection, you act wary and mistrustful, thereby causing colleagues to view you with some suspicion.  

To break this vicious cycle, you need to recognize that any change must begin with you.  Remember that these people are co-workers, not friends.  You don’t have to like them; you just have to work with them.  Since you can’t force them to change their behavior, your only hope is to modify your own.  

If you can stop dwelling on negative feelings and start being a pleasant and helpful colleague, you may find that your co-workers will reciprocate.  But if breaking this pattern proves to be too difficult, consider talking with a professional counselor.  

Think you might be in a toxic workplace?  Here are the clues: 13 Signs of a Toxic Workplace.

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