A Likely Story

By Robert Goldman

October 24, 2019 5 min read

Need more paranoia in your life?

Happy to oblige.

Do you think that your co-workers like you? Or are they just pretending to like you when they're really hating on you behind your back?

If you have doubts, you're probably not as well-liked as you think you are. That's sad, but you're not alone.

According to "Do People Like You at Work?" an article in The Washington Post by Arden Davidson, people often believe they are more popular than they are.

Want to put your likeability to the test? Davidson provides five "telltale signs that will help you figure it out."

Let's give it a try! (And don't worry if doesn't work out. I'll still like you.)

No. 1: The invitation barometer.

At lunchtime, when your co-workers head out to their favorite food truck, are you invited to join in? Or are you left alone in the office with a tuna sandwich and the IT staff? (No mystery here. Nobody likes the IT staff.)

If you only get an invitation when the gang thinks you'll pick up the tab, which is never, you probably do not rate high on the likeability scale.

Still, there is hope. "If you find you're not getting a lot of invitations," Davidson writes, "there are ways to fix this."

All you have to do is demonstrate "you have a fun side too."

There are many ways to show you're a fun person. If the groups drive to their off-campus hijinks, flat all their tires. Or, when they're out having fun and you're home alone, fill their desk drawers with rice pudding and pour chocolate syrup on their keyboards.


No. 2: The temperature gauge.

"When you walk into a room, do those around you smile and greet you with enthusiasm?"

Or do they smile and walk out of the room with enthusiasm?

If you don't get a warm reception, "it may be because you give off an icy vibe yourself."

To raise the temperature, explain to your co-workers that the reason you may seem cold has nothing to do with them. It's simply because you are so much smarter than they are, and so much better looking, too.

They may not like you for it, but it will definitely stop them from smiling.

No. 3: The joke meter.

Do your co-workers laugh with you or laugh at you?

Sometimes, it's difficult to tell. That's why you must be proactive.

Any time you see a bunch of your fellow employees in a conference room, walk right in and demand to know if they are laughing at you. If they look uncomfortable and pretend to be having a meeting, tell them about that incident in 3rd grade when the class bully gave you an atomic wedgie. Explain that ever since that day, you have never been comfortable in groups. Also, you have never worn underwear.

Then, prove it to them.

If the jokesters run to report you to HR, you know they truly like you.

No. 4: The water cooler indicator.

"If people are whispering behind your back," Davidson writes, "you are not part of the inner circle."

You can certainly try to join the whisperers at the water cooler by sinking to their level, but "you should never go against your principles just to fit in."

Fortunately, you have no principles, so you can feel free to go as low as you like. One completely unprincipled response is to make up some really juicy gossip about someone in the office who actually does like you. The uglier the gossip, the more everyone will like you — except, of course, the poor boob who made the mistake of liking you in the first place.

After that kind of mistake, they deserve it.

No. 5: The body language benchmark.

This will come as a surprise, but it is not a sign of being likeable if your "coworkers roll their eyes, give each other knowing looks, or elbow each other when you speak."

Fortunately, this is easily fixed. Just don't speak. Ever. The chance that you won't say anything stupid increases significantly if you never speak at all.

Even better, you will wrap your new, supercharged paranoid personality in a miasma of mystery.

As a mystery employee, you have the perfect answer when co-workers ask you difficult questions, like, "What do you do here, anyway?"

Just smile and wink and start scribbling furiously in the little black book you keep locked in your desk drawer.

Now, that's the kind of person everyone likes.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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