Friday, July 28, 2006

People You Don't Like

One of my pet peeves (I call it "Spot") is when people treat others unfairly because they don't like them.

It's natural that, when you don't like someone, everything they do rubs you a bit the wrong way. A minor annoyance that you'd instantly forgive in a friend is yet another piece of evidence against the unliked person. But I really try to refrain from criticizing someone I don't like for something I would never criticize a friend for. For instance, I don't make fun of people for being fat, or unattractive, or bald, or old, or whatever, so it's not OK to make fun of those things in someone I dislike.

But what I really hate is when this happens at work. One woman that I work with becomes totally suspicious of a person's every move once she takes a dislike to them. The disliked person will visit me with a perfectly reasonable request - something they need for their job - and I'll later be asked, "What did he want?" in a suspicious way, and interrogated about why he needed that thing, and told how he didn't really need it, which will be followed by a reiteration of how & why she doesn't like him.

Even the most disagreeable coworkers often legitimately need things from us in the course of business. It's just dumb to be continually suspicious, intransigent, and difficult towards them. And it sucks.


Tam's momm said...

I do this all the time and I hate it. I don't usually comment out loud though. It's just nasty thoughts. And I would never do it at work. I prefer that people think of me as nice.

sally said...

I know you don't want to name names on this blog, but I find that it makes a difference how I respond to this kind of thing ("treating others unfairly because they don't like them" at work) based on the position of the person doing it. What seems just catty and useless from a peer is esp. annoying and unprofessional when done by a higher-up. I guess I think this in part because when it's a peer doing it, you have the option to say something about it if you choose - to make some kind of objection known - but if it's your boss or another person up the hierarchy, you generally can't really say anything without taking a risk. (Yeah, it's too bad, but that's the Realpolitik of the situation as I see it.) As has no doubt become apparent from my various comments, I do hold people in positions of power in the office to a higher standard than your average Schmo of a co-worker. Managers have a greater responsibility to interact well with others at work in part because that's part of their job description. Bad behavior isn't acceptable in anyone, of course, but having an individual contributor who is kind of a jerk but good at the fundamentals of his job is better than a boss who acts in these ways. And I think it probably isn't a good idea in general for people to talk shit about other people in the office (not that I haven't been guilty of this myself at times).

Tam said...

Yeah, of course the person doing this is a higher-up with some authority. Wouldn't you just figure?