I just started a new job and the people there have been super rude. They’re not friendly at all and I’ve been going out of my way to try and be nice and helpful but it’s not making any difference. How can I show these people that I’m a good person? I’m a team player I just need a fair chance.
I used the term “Tribesperson” because that’s actually a better way to think of your situation. The collection of co-workers that you’ve joined will already have an established social structure. So, no matter who you are, or how valuable you are, or how nice you are—you’re new, so you’re the one disrupting the social order.
For your co-workers this is a very subtle but powerful force. Those who didn’t like the previous social order, or who see it as more flexible, may be very welcoming. And the negative feelings you’re picking up on relate to the fact that your arrival forced a change that they have to manage. We can’t really call it ‘fair’ or ‘unfair.’ It’s just how groups of primates work.
As the explanation above illustrates, there is no reason for you to take what is happening personally. They would have responded to anyone new. No amount of effort on your part can change the fact that any new person would demand that everyone else reshape the group in a way that accommodates whoever that is, (which in this case is you).
It’s true that some of those people may even outwardly blame you for their revised position on the social totem pole. But that is a personal sense about a bunch of other people’s personal sense’s. That’s a giant guess on that person’s part. There’s nothing you can do about judgments made based on their imaginations.
No matter where we go, some people will gravitate to us more than others. Over time, just by being you, you’ll find out who your friends are. If you are your authentic self, then the people like you can recognize themselves in you, and that’s easily enough to ignite a good friendship.
ISo if you get what I’m saying there, then that pretty much takes care of work. You just need to give it some time. But I want to shift to the more important principle that guides this whole discussion: We can’t live our lives wanting to be liked. Then what do you do if you’re among a bunch of Nazi’s? Do you really want to be liked by Nazis?
We obviously cannot choose our directions based on being liked. Or on any external person’s reaction to us, because that will be based so much on whatever state of mind they are in independent of us. The only real avenue open to us that makes any sense is that we have to live our own lives, as ourselves. I know that can sound ridiculously obvious, but since I’m writing it here, maybe it’s an idea worth you revisiting?
Very few people are ever really being themselves. Most people are providing performances for the people around them. Maybe they’re painfully lonely, and yet when someone asks how they are they answer, “Great!” However people do it, egos are afraid of judgment. And so they try to be all things to all people that are deemed ‘worthwhile.’
Meanwhile, the people we deem ‘not-worthwhile’ are those that ask us to do things we don’t want to get in line with. This means who we’ll make ‘friends’ with, will depend on their personality. And yet ‘their personality’ overwhelmingly depends on our judgment. But our judgment hinges on our own personality!
In the end, no one is seeing anyone clearly—we’re all dependent on each other in a way. But because we have trouble recognizing that, we simply tend to align ourselves with people that push us the way we prefer to be pushed, and pulled us the way we prefer to be pulled. And because we feel “closer” to those people, we call them ‘friends’ and we begin to develop attachments to them. But….
‘Freedom’ isn’t the same thing as having the same friends for a zillion years. Freedom is when we move from authentic interaction to authentic interaction. It’s like being in love with everyone we communicate with. But, to do that, we have to lower all of our barriers to our natural self.
You have to stop believing in your old description of your own personality. You have to stop believing that you are some things and that you are not other things. Drop those beliefs and be no one doing no thing. Only then will be you be able to ‘see’ reality more profoundly. And using that vision, you will find yourself able to connect on a much deeper level, with essentially anyone.
Office politics and all of the thinking that goes with it. I understand the compulsion to do that. We all do it sometimes. But as much as you are able, don’t get caught up in your internal narrative soap operas about who likes who. Just be your authentic self as much as possible. That will appeal to others, who also live authentically, and those are the richest friendships of all.
Relax, be yourself and enjoy life. That will be plenty attractive. Then rest leave up to time and nature. There is a lot of life to enjoy in the meantime.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.